Question: I get cold sores so bad that they go all the way up my cheek. My face swells and really hurts. What can I do and is there a reason I get them so much worse than other people?
Answer: Your immune system is what keeps all pathogenic organisms in check, and it seems your nervous system is particularly vulnerable.
First, it is good to become aware of your triggers such as during or after a stressful time, too much sun exposure, during a cold and/or overindulgence of arginine rich foods such as chocolate, nuts and beer.
So rather than wait until you have blisters or a whole cluster on your lip, in your nose or even on your face, you can be proactive with the following options. I would get your B12 levels checked and aim to be above 400. Sublingual methyl B12 is a highly bioavailable form of B12 and would be useful to help you recover from an outbreak as well or prevent it in the first place. B12 measured in your blood is not methyl B12 that is “more ready to go” in your body and help heal the trauma to your nerves that causes the numbness and tingling. The stress nutrients B compound, vitamin C and zinc help you keep up with the energy demands of the body and are also needed for proper immune function. Vitamin A and D found in a capsule of halibut liver oil are also important. Foods rich in the amino acid lysine such legumes, fish and dairy (if you tolerate it) or lysine supplements inhibit the herpes simplex virus both I and II (genital herpes). Licorice root solid extract (not the candy), oil of oregano, Melissa balm, tea tree and St. Johns wort are effective against the herpes virus. Oregano oil, which comes in a small applicator, can suppress a cold sore even at the early stages of blistering.
Once you get to the crusty stage, if you have missed your window of opportunity to try some of these options, then calendula salve with vitamin E can speed the healing process dramatically.
Question: My teenage son was just diagnosed with mono and strep throat and would like to know if anything can help him recover faster?
Answer: Mononucleosis or mono is caused by the Epstein Barr virus, a herpes virus, and causes extreme fatigue for months as well as lymph node swelling and strep throat.
The single most important thing I could recommend is licorice root 5:1 extract. It looks like molasses and is extremely concentrated. A half teaspoon is like taking 20 capsules of powdered licorice root. Licorice in this form is very effective at killing any of the herpes viruses in my experience and in the research done on it. Licorice is also effective against strep bacteria so you can potentially get a two-for-one deal.
A good multivitamin mineral formula contains Bs, in the 50- 100-mg range. Just use B6 mg as a guide, zinc at 25-30 mg and vitamin C 2-3000 mg per day range to support the immune system.
He should avoid sugar and get protein at every meal if his throat hurts and appetite is poor. Whey protein smoothies pack a lot of punch, but avoid milk and yogurt if they produce mucous for him as they do for most.
Kali Simmonds, ND is a doctor of naturopathic medicine who practices in Charlottetown. The information provided is not intended to diagnose or substitute the advice of a health-care professional. Please consult with a health-care provider before making any changes. She welcomes questions for this column, which is published every second Tuesday in The Guardian. She can be reached by mail at 34 Queen St., Charlottetown, C1A 4A3 or by email at email@example.com.