Genital warts are a common symptom of low-risk strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Genital warts are typically harmless, however, they can cause discomfort, irritation, and distress.
A lot of people are interested in natural herbs and nutrients to support their bodies against low-risk strains and warts from HPV. Herbal therapies offer attractive treatments for HPV given their strong safety profile and wide therapeutic index. Here we share some of the best ingredients and evidence to support the use of topical herbal therapies on viral infections.
It should be noted that many of the studies included in the review do not specifically review HPV but other viral infections like the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) and influenza. The antiviral actions work similarly on the HPV, but more research is needed on topical herbal products to fully understand their use.
Turkey tail is a medicinal mushroom know to have immune-modulating and energizing effects. The mushroom grows in a multicolored array on fallen trees in wooded areas of North America. The compound has been taken orally for centuries to treat respiratory conditions and has been used as an adjunctive in cancer treatment.
The mushroom was found to have antiviral activities against influenza and HSV viruses in cell studies. The active compounds in turkey tail include polysaccharides called PSP and PSK. These compounds appear to act on the immune system and can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Most people tolerate turkey tail well. The compound is considered safe, though it may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects like heartburn, constipation, and nausea when taken orally.
Also known as Melissa officinalis, this herb comes from the mint family and has a lemon scent to it. Commonly used to improve mood, calm anxiety, and improve cognitive function, lemon balm also has antiherpetic and antiviral effects on the HSV family.
Studies have found topical application of lemon balm to provide therapeutic action against recurrent herpes infections and cold sores. In one study, participants applied either lemon balm or a placebo to affected areas four times a day for five days. At the end of the five days, the participants that used the lemon balm had fewer symptoms of itching, burning, and redness. The lemon balm group also had faster healing than the placebo group.
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Echinacea is a commonly used herb for treating colds, flu, and other viral infections. The plant has anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant properties that have been used for centuries to treat various ailments.
Studies find echinacea to benefit the immune system to combat viruses. Specifically, echinacea has been found to have antiviral activities against the HSV. Topically, echinacea has been found to help improve skin hydration, reduce acne and improve eczema symptoms and skin repair.
Green tea extract
Commonly known for its energy-boosting properties, green tea also has powerful antioxidant activity that protects against free radical damage.
Green tea has been studied for its antiviral activity against Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Topical application was found to have an anti-herpetic effect when applied hours after the virus inoculated. We also love to supplement green tea extract orally, for high-risk HPV.
Licorice has been used for many centuries for a wide variety of conditions. Today the herb is used to help with conditions like acid reflux, hot flashes, and viral infections.
Licorice has also been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties for skin conditions. One study showed improvements in eczema with topical use of licorice root extract. The Licorice was also found to have antiviral activities against HSV-1 in vitro.
Red algae are one of the oldest groups of eukaryotic algae. This mineral-rich marine plant contains a therapeutic compound called carrageenan, which has been studied for its use on HPV. Another compound in red algae called griffithsin has been found to interfere with HPV entry into cells. Together griffithsin and carrageenan have powerful antiviral activities and may help clear warts caused by HPV.
Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant. The oil has been used as an aide in several conditions. Peppermint is a commonly used antiseptic and anti-inflammatory that can be applied topically to help alleviate pain.
The oil may also help alleviate skin itching. Research evaluating the use of peppermint oil on viruses has found it to have strong antiherpetic activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2. Further studies have confirmed an inhibitory effect on HSV infections.
Most of us are familiar with the powerful immune and antioxidant properties of vitamin C. Vitamin C is also a skin supportive vitamin, helping stimulate collagen production. Topical use of vitamin C on recurrent herpes infections was found to shorten the persistence of scabs in 2.5 days. The active compounds in vitamin C work by stimulating mucolytic and antimicrobial activities.
Aloe vera is commonly known for its wound-healing effects, applied topically to relieve sunburns and help heal wounds. Aloe vera’s therapeutic activity comes from its concentration of glycerin extract which forms a protective mucilage over damaged tissues. Aloe when applied topically has also been found to have antiviral activity on the herpes simplex virus.
Our new topical formula combines all these and more into a plant-powered solution to genital warts. Together these ingredients can help promote skin healing and target viral activity.
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