Echinacea and herpes

by Paul Bergner

Medical Herbalism 4(4):7

Case Report:

Will echinacea prevents herpes outbreak?A patient from London submitted the following case report to the British Journal of Phytotherapy in 1990. The man read a report that echinacea might be an effective treatment for herpes outbreaks, and tried self-medication.

Patient: Married male, with genital herpes.

History: Herpes infection for twelve years. Has regular periodic herpes outbreaks. These may be triggered by staying up too late, drinking excessive alcohol, catching a cold, or excessive sexual activity. If the triggering stress appears at least three or four weeks after the previous bout has healed, an onset of neuralgia is followed by the appearance of herpetic lesions within twenty-four hours.

Treatment 1: Powdered Echinacea purpurea in capsules (Arkopharma “Phytokold”) in dosage listed on the bottle.

Results: Initial treatment came after an outbreak was underway. Patient thought the infection cleared faster than usual, and had been less severe. No recurrence for seven or eight weeks. A second infection was treated in the same way, and was less severe than normal bouts.

Treatment 2: On subsequent occasions, patient took the echinacea within an hour or two of the onset of the prodromal neuralgia.

Results: On every occasion, pains have subsided within six hours, and the outbreak has been aborted. Recurrences do not come for several months. Patient feels the disease “is weaker each time.” In the previous twelve years, the patient had never been able to prevent an outbreak once the prodromal symptoms began. Since taking echinacea, he has not had a single outbreak of lesions.

From British Journal of Phytotherapy, Vol.2 No.2, 1991.
  Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner

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