Vitamin C to prevent cold sores

¦ I suffer regularly from cold sores, particularly when I am under a lot of stress at work. Is there anything natural that works to get rid of or prevent cold sores?

>>> Cold sores occur as result of exposure to the herpes simplex virus, which lies dormant in the system until it is triggered.

Stress is a very common trigger, along with compromised immunity, certain foods, or even too much sunlight.

You can strengthen your system and reduce your chances of breaking out in cold sore blisters by taking a therapeutic dose of vitamin C. Camu camu is an excellent food source. It’s absorbed and utilised more effectively by the body, plus it has an impressive 8-10% vitamin C content (30 times that of oranges).

As an immune booster, Camucamu has been shown to get rid of cold sore outbreaks faster than the a leading pharmaceutical drug or even the common natural recommendation for cold sores — lysine.

If you are taking camu-camu preventatively, then all you need is a very small daily dose — one capsule daily with food.

If you are taking it to treat a current outbreak, then you will need to take one capsule three times daily with food for up to three days.

Camu-camu is available from the Rainforest herb specialists, Rio Health (www.riohealth.co.uk; 00-44-01273-570987), where 60 vegicaps cost £10.99).

Certain foods may trigger a herpes outbreak. Foods high in arginine are on the best avoid list, because the herpes virus needs this amino acid in order to replicate.

Arginine-rich foods include chocolate, nuts, oats, carob, coconut and soybeans. It does help to include lysine-rich foods in your diet, since this amino acid has the opposite action, working against the herpes virus. Lysine-rich foods include vegetables, legumes, fish, sprouts and dairy products.

Topically, you can apply propolis ointment to the sores. Results from a randomised, single-blind comparative study using propolis and a pharmaceutical alternative, showed that not only did propolis heal lesions significantly faster than pharmaceutical drugs, but it also reduced the likelihood of additional infection. A Vogel’s propolis ointment is available from health stores (or www.hereshealth.ie) for €8.45.

Note: Camu-camu is also effective in treating other forms of herpes, such as shingles, genital herpes, and the Epstein-Barr virus.

¦ I need to improve my liver health, and have heard that herbs can help to repair a damaged liver. Is this true? Which herbs should I take?

>> The liver needs to be in good shape so that it can act as a filter to remove toxins such as bacteria, viruses, and environmental pollutants from your blood.

One of the impressive things about the liver is that it can regenerate itself — in fact, if a section is removed during surgery, the organ usually regrows itself.

However, this is not an excuse for people to treat their livers badly, because it certainly won’t heal if the conditions aren’t suitable.

Milk thistle and dandelion are the two most popular liver healing herbs. You can often find these together in specific liver formulations from any good health store.

For a comprehensive and effective plan to improve your liver health, I would suggest you also read Patrick Holford’s book, called The Holford 9-day Liver Detox. It is available from health stores for €12.95.

Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to feelgood@examiner.ie or send a letter to: Feelgood, Irish Examiner, City Quarter, Lapps Quay, Cork.

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