Thursday, September 9, 2010

Treating Cold Sores

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) a cold sore is considered to be an expression of excess Heat -generally of the “Liver Channel”. An easy way to understand this classification is to observe the “hot” quality of the sore itself: it has an inflamed, raised, and red appearance and is very painful. Usually these types of sores are located on the lips although they can appear anywhere in and around the mouth. 

Photo by Jef Poskanzer
Prevention of cold sores is simply a matter of keeping a balance of Yin and Yang energies in the body, especially for the Liver channel. Moderation is the key: a diet that includes whole foods and plenty of green vegetables is a good start. Too much sugar, alcohol, fried, spicy, and highly refined foods, greasy or rich and heavy meals on a regular basis creates heat in the body and a lot of work for the Liver and Gall Bladder. Similarly, drugs and pharmaceuticals are processed by the liver, so be conscious of the amount of work that your liver needs to do for you on a daily basis and limit the amount of toxins that it must manage. 

photo by Maxwell GS
TCM also attributes our emotional state to the health of the Liver as well. Too much stress, frustration or anger is a helpful warning that the Liver is overworked, while a genuinely calm and relaxed demeanor indicates the smooth flow of Qi and a relatively balanced Liver. A regular practice such as Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi or Chi Gong helps to ease stress and promotes emotional equilibrium. Frequently taking silent walks in nature provide inner calm and a sense of well being so that we may align with our core self and personal integrity.

I also recommend Black Cumin Seed oil taken internally on a regular basis for clients who are prone to viral outbreaks. It has an overall healing effect on the body, strengthening immune functions, improving digestion and reducing inflammation. The prophet Mohammed once said that Black Cumin cures all illnesses except death.

Treating cold sores once they erupt is simply a matter of balancing the repletion Heat with Cold herbs applied topically as a powder, or herbs to Cool Liver Heat, taken internally. The herb Coptis root (Goldthread), is very helpful for clearing this type of Heat, and is usually combined with other herbs that drain Heat and share its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Huang Lian Jie Du Tang (Coptis Formula to Relieve Toxicity) is the most famous classic Chinese formula suited to this purpose.

Genital sores have the same characteristics and are treated in much the same way, the only difference in the addition of herbs specific for that location. Gentiana is frequently used in TCM for painful sores located in the Lower Burner. The formula Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (Gentiana Drain Fire) is most often the remedy of choice.

Because energetically Cold herbs are difficult to digest, they can cause weakness of the Spleen and an overall deficiency for the body when taken for extended periods of time. These extremely cooling herbs are only taken when there are clear and outward signs of Heat and discontinued as soon as harmony is restored-often within a week.

“HerbaLisl” is Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG), a nationally board certified Chinese Herbalist, and a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild. Lisl is also a certified Medicinal Aromatherapist, a Reiki Master an Acupressurist, an Auriculotherapist, a photographer, a renowned diagnostician, a teacher and a published writer who has enjoyed a successful private practice for fifteen years.
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment or are interested in participating in classes or retreats.

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