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Genital Herpes

What is are Genital Herpes?

There are few things that can cause as much embarrassment and frustration as a sexually transmitted disease, and genital herpes is considered one of the most commonly occurring sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. Genital herpes is the result of an infection of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), which is a virus that can be passed from one person to another, lies dormant in the body, and has been reported as being impossible to cure.

HSV exists in two basic forms known as type 1 and type 2, and each of these cause an infection in the body. Typically, HSV-1 is associated with oral herpes that occur in and around the mouth, known more commonly as cold sores. HSV-2 is associated with genital herpes. However, a sufferer can experience an HSV-1 infection in the genital area and an HSV-2 infection in and around the mouth, usually as the result of oral sex.

Shingles and chicken pox are also considered a version of the herpes virus, and may stay dormant until the body is older or when the immune system becomes very weak; after either of these developments, symptoms of the virus may re-emerge.

When a person is infected with genital herpes, they experience an outbreak of small, red blisters or open sores on the genitals, the inner thighs, and the anus. These outbreaks are accompanied by feelings of pain, itching, burning and tingling sensations, and enlarged lymph nodes in the groin. For most people, the initial outbreak is the most severe, and usually happens within a couple of weeks of becoming infected.

Genital herpes is most likely to be transmitted during sexual contact with a person that is experiencing an outbreak, though the disease has been known to be contracted when the infected person isn’t experiencing symptoms at the time of intercourse. The number of times that a sufferer experiences outbreaks varies greatly from person to person, and the range of experiences includes never having an outbreak, never having follow-up outbreaks after the initial one, having outbreaks so often that they live with symptoms throughout most of the year, and everything in between. The average rate of outbreaks is reported as being four or five per year. It is estimated that one out of every four American women and one out of every five American men is infected with genital herpes.

Western medicine makes no claim of a cure for genital herpes. Along with citing stress, illness, fatigue, and dysfunction of the immune system as instigators of more frequent outbreaks among those infected, the Western response to genital herpes is to administer antiviral medications such as Valtrex or Zovirax to lessen the severity and frequency of its symptoms. This medication is sometimes taken in tandem with the onset of symptoms, and other times is taken daily as a preventative measure.

How Does Ayurveda View Genital Herpes?

Like its Western counterpart, Ayurveda makes no claim to being able to rid the body of genital herpes, and instead advises sufferers to live a dosha-balancing lifestyle as a means of decreasing the likelihood of outbreaks. Similar to how Western medicine advises sufferers to avoid stressful and fatiguing activities as well as keeping the immune system strong, so too does Ayurveda emphasize the importance of avoiding negative, dosha-aggravating stimuli.

Additionally, Ayurveda cites genital herpes and other venereal diseases as being indicative of excessive amounts of heat in the liver as defined by aggravated Pitta energy, though Vata and Kapha imbalances may trigger outbreaks as well. With this in mind, those with excessive amounts of Pitta energy in general may be susceptible to more frequent outbreaks when infected.

 

Vata-based outbreaks of genital herpes are accompanied by constipation, insomnia, dry skin, pain in the genital area, and blackish pimples. This type of herpes may be triggered by excessive amounts of anxiety or worry.


Pitta-based outbreaks of genital herpes are accompanied by burning sensations in the genital area, fever, and pimples that are red and discharge yellow fluid or blood. This type of herpes may be triggered by excessive amounts of anger and irritability.


Kapha-based outbreaks of genital herpes are accompanied by itching sensations, swelling, accumulation of phlegm and mucus in the body, and pimples that discharge white fluid. This type of herpes may be triggered by excessive amounts of lethargy and heaviness in the body.

 

How Does Ayurveda Treat Genital Herpes?

The general intention of an Ayurvedic practitioner is to help the genital herpes sufferer to live a dosha-balancing lifestyle.
 
If the patient suffers from Vata-related herpes, they must eat a Vata-balancing diet, consume oils and ghee so as to keep the body moist and nourished, eliminate anxiety through calming yoga and breathing practices, and practice other Vata balancing methods.


If the patient suffers from Pitta-related herpes, they must eat a Pitta-balancing diet, administer cooling therapies, eliminate anger and irritability through calming yoga practices, and practice other Pitta-balancing methods.

If the patient suffers from Kapha-related herpes, they must eat a Kapha-balancing diet, administer therapies that create heat and movement in the body, eliminate lethargy and excess moisture, and practice other Kapha-balancing methods.


Each doshic imbalance can be treated with herbal and other therapies that alleviate the symptoms of genital herpes specifically. Additionally, the fluid in herpes pimples is a contagious liquid and the area needs to be protected from scratching or rubbing and spreadingto other areas of the body. Cover the area once a day with a waterproof band-aid of the appropriate size for as many days as necessary until the spots are dry.

Lifestyle Changes for Genital Herpes

 
When we neglect to establish the root cause of one illness, it can turn into another, stronger illness in the future. The first step in resolving a specific ailment or disease in the body is to assess the nature of our lifestyle and make general modifications. Living our day-to-day life with a deliberate intention to improve our health will help us to both resolve the disease we are suffering from and prevent further incidence of it and other diseases in the future. Regardless of the medical system used, it is ideal to minimize the number of stimuli that may create stress and then enhance well-being through an Ayurvedic lifestyle. The following list of tasks can help to reduce the likelihood of herpes outbreaks and balance each of the three doshas as based on the nature of the infection’s symptoms:

General

  • Women: Mix two tablespoons of aloe vera gel with two pinches of turmeric, and apply to the affected area during an outbreak.
  • Sex should be avoided during the outbreak, as the infection can spread and infect other parts of the body and skin.
      

Vata

  • Favor nourishing foods such as white basmati rice, barley, and cooked vegetables.
  • Apply ghee to foods and mix the ghee with a pinch of ginger, licorice, black salt, and/or triphala.
  • Take a tablespoon of ghee or sesame oil with half a cup of warm water.
  • Obey all urges to move bowels as soon as possible.
  • Avoid dry foods such as chips, cold cereals, cookies, crackers, granola, and nutrition bars.
  • If possible try to get into a squat when defecating so as to emulate a more natural position for passing stool. This would mean the feet would need to be lifted onto the rim of the toilet.
  • Enlist the help of an Ayurvedic practitioner to administer oil enemas and other treatments so as to stimulate the functionality of the colon.
  • Create more stillness through the practicing of calming yoga postures.
  • Avoid being in the wind.
  • Avoid excessive movements through strenuous exercises.
  • Avoid over thinking or talking.
  • Favor sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
  • Favor calm and peaceful television or reading material, which brings harmonious thoughts to the mind.
  • Avoid excessive travel.
  • Avoid continuous hours of computer or cell phone use.
  • Take frequent breaks from these machines.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of sex.
  • Favor showers over taking baths.


Pitta

  •  Avoid eating spicy, hot, sour, and greasy foods.
  • Avoid using too many hot spices such as garlic, hot peppers, and onions.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and other stimulants.
  • Avoid frequent, continuous, and excessive amounts of eating.
  • Avoid eating fewer than three or four hours before going to bed.
  • If the body is strong, take 1 teaspoon of castor oil in a cup of warm water, or adjust the amount to be more or less as needed. This is a good purgation to relieve excess heat from the system. (This is best to do before bedtime or in the early morning, but not if you have to leave the house within 3 hours.)
  • Avoid laborious movements, lifting large objects, and aggressive exercise.
  • Avoid speaking too much and emotionally investing in too many conflicts.
  • Avoid the hot sun and letting it shine directly on the head and body.
  • Avoid too many selfish and self-indulgent thoughts.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of sex.
  • Use the cell phone and computer sparingly.

Kapha

  • Wake at the time of Vata, which is before 6am. This early activity will help dry up the mucus.
  • Eat light foods and soups to help purge congestion in the body.
  • Follow eating with a half cup of hot water.
  • Keep meals to once or twice a day, without snacking. This will quickly relieve the body of excess food to digest and bring it back into balance.     
  • Take light walks and stretch the body daily so that it can release the excess, stagnant Kapha energy.
  • Avoid eating dinner as it will create more mucus in the system as food remains undigested until the early morning.
  • Avoid heavy foods and drinks at night, which will create more stress on the digestive fire.
  • Avoid food until later in the morning, after 10am. This will help digestion become stronger.
  • Avoid sitting around too much, which will make the body stiff.
  • Avoid being out in heavy, rainy weather.
  • Avoid sleeping in excess.
  • Avoid too many emotional moments and thoughts that bring on attachments.
  • Favor creative and inspirational reading or television, as it will bring a sense of movement to the mind.
     

Better Foods For Genital Herpes

Ayurveda teaches us that disease and sickness are derived from poor digestion and inappropriate food choices. We then have the opportunity to make deliberate and more conscious decisions as to what foods we do and do not put in our body which increases the chance of resolving the body’s imbalance.

Food needs to be in season, in moderate combinations of one or two food groups, not too hot or cold, in a modest enough quantity to allow for room in the stomach later, consumed without too much liquid which hinders digestive power, and should be fresh and not left over for more than a few hours. The general intention of responding to genital herpes with food is to eat items that help to reduce the aggravation of whatever dosha is manifesting in associated symptoms (constipation for Vata, etc.).

 

 Ghee
Berries
Figs(Fresh)
Apricots
Peaches
Plums
Carrots
Beets
Zucchini
Sweet potatoes
Asparagus
Whole wheat (unbleached)
Rice (white basmati)
Mung beans

 Ghee
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Brussels Sprouts
Asparagus
Barley
Oats (cooked)
Rice (white basmati)
Coconut oil
Olive oil


Prunes
Raisins
Cherries
Pomegranates
Figs(Dry)
Radishes
Onions
Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts
Vegetable soup
Barley
Millet
Mustard oil
Ghee

 

Foods To AVOID In Response To Genital Herpes

 
While some foods can help to balance an aggravated dosha, other foods can cause further imbalance. Dry and cold foods as well as pungent, bitter and astringent tastes will dry out the body and aggravate the Vata dosha.Sour, salty and pungent tastes as well as spicy foods will add more heat to the body and aggravate the Pitta dosha.Sweet, sour and salty tasting foods will add heaviness to the body and aggravate the Kapha dosha. The following foods are organized generally and by dosha and should be avoided in response to whichever type of symptoms manifest along with the genital herpes:

 

 Apples
Pears
Watermelon
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Tomatoes
Celery
Eggplant
Corn
Oats (dry)
Barley
Most legumes including green lentils and garbanzo beans
Cold foods

 Grapefruit
Bananas
Cherries
Pineapple
Tomatoes
Garlic
Carrots
Spinach
Rice (brown)
Corn
Nuts
Lentils
Corn oil
Almond oil
Spicy foods
Sour foods (like yogurt, sour cream, and pickles)
Salt
Meat

Bananas
Melons
Papayas
Avocado
Plums
Sweet potatoes
Zucchini
Cucumbers
Tomatoes
Wheat
Rice
Nuts
Seeds
Sweets and candies
Allergy-causing foods
Cold foods

Beverages For Genital Herpes

Generally, Ayurveda discourages the consumption of too many cold beverages, as doing so hinders the strength of the body’s digestive fire. Instead, favor room temperature or hot beverages to encourage the strength of the digestive fire.

General

• Hot water, especially during meals and first thing in the morning.
• Herbal tea of sarsaparilla and gotu kola.
• Fresh coconut water.
• Avoid cold and frozen drinks.
• Avoid sugary or fizzy drinks that blend with the digestive juice and make it weak.
• Avoid alcohol, coffee, and black tea.
• Avoid fruit juice from concentrate.

 

Herbal tea of sandalwood (white), turmeric, barberry, and gotu kola.

Herbal tea of coriander, parsley, and sandalwood (white).

Herbal tea of ginger, turmeric, and cloves.

Herbs For Genital Herpes

Herbs are used in the Ayurvedic system much like Western medicine utilizes drugs and vitamins and can be taken like tea 2 to 3 times a day. Herbs aid in the digestion of food, the breakdown and elimination of toxins, and help to strengthen the cellular structure of our system for greater vitality. Herbs become more potent once mixed with other herbs of similar properties. Mix together 2 to 4 different herbs from the below list by adding a quarter to a half teaspoon full of each, for a total of 1 teaspoon. Drink these in half cup of hot water.

 Turmeric
Sandalwood (white)
Gotu kola
Ashwagandha
Aloe vera gel
Barberry
Shatavari
Bala

 Coriander
Parsley
Turmeric
Musta
Aloe vera gel
Sandalwood (white)
Gokshura
Shatavari
Gentian
Manjishta

 Ginger
Turmeric
Cloves
Trikatu
Aloe vera gel
Chitrak
Pippali
Gentian
Manjishta

 

Yoga Postures For Genital Herpes

 

When applied therapeutically to specific ailments, yoga postures provide an opportunity to strengthen the body, rid it of toxic matter, and restore balance. The postures included in this section can be practiced as part of a more general sequence or can be focused on in short sessions. When first exploring yoga postures, it is best to only practice them for twenty minutes or so per day and buildup from there once the body becomes more flexible.

Camel
Bridge
Plough
Shoulder stand
Knee to chest
Corpse
Easy seat

Cobra
Bridge
Shoulder stand
Knee to chest
Fish
Corpse
Hero

Boat
Bridge
Plough
Shoulder stand
Forward bend
Fish
Easy seat

Vata

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Pitta

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Kapha

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Aromatherapy For Genital Herpes

Aromatherapy utilizes the fragrances of essential oils when applied to the skin. Essential oils can burn the skin and therefore must be diluted with a base oil such as sesame, coconut, sunflower, canola, or mustard oil. Mix 1 fluid ounce of base oil with about 12 drops of essential oil before applying to skin. You can also just mix 5 drops of base oil to one drop of essential oil if using on one spot.

 
Vata-related genital herpes can be treated with basil, camphor, cedar, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, lavender, lily, lotus, musk, myrrh, patchouli, sandalwood, or cinnamon oil.

  • Use a sesame oil base.
  • Apply oil on the forehead or on the back of the neck.

 
Pitta-related genital herpes can be treated with sandalwood, tea tree, rose, honeysuckle, gardenia, lily, iris, mint, or lavender oil.

  • Use a coconut or sunflower oil base.
  • Apply oil in the chest center in front of the heart.


Kapha-related genital herpes can be treated with cinnamon, eucalyptus, sage, basil, musk, cedar, frankincense, or myrrh oil.

  • Use a canola or mustard oil base.
  • Apply oil on the skin between the navel and pubic bone.

Mantra Therapy For Genital Herpes

 
Ayurvedic tradition suggests that repeating certain words or sounds can help a person suffering from an ailment to restore subtle balance to nerve tissue and enhance one’s mental clarity. Different sounds are prescribed to either repeat mentally or chant outwardly. These sounds are also used and repeated in the mind for the purpose of spiritual growth.


For Vata-related genital herpes, repeat the syllable “Ram” (pronounced rahm) for several minutes a few times a day and build more practice over time.

As a Vata-related disorder, it is helpful to inwardly repeat this syllable for the duration of time it is practiced.

For Pitta-related genital herpes, repeat the syllable “Aum” (pronounced ohm) for several minutes a few times a day and build more practice over time.

As a Pitta-related disorder, it is helpful to both outwardly chant and inwardly repeat this syllable for the duration of time it is practiced.


For Kapha-related genital herpes, repeat the syllable “Ham” (pronounced hahm) for several minutes a few times a day and build more practice over time.

As a Kapha-related disorder, it is helpful to outwardly chant this syllable for the duration of time it is practiced.

 

Breathing Practices For Genital Herpes

 

Controlling the breath is a central practice toward developing peace and stillness in the mind and body. When the breath is under our control, we are no longer at the mercy of the senses that are stimulated by everything and lead to greater fluctuations of the mind. When applied to the context of resolving specific ailments, the breath is used as a tool for developing lung capacity, heating and cooling the body and resolving mental afflictions like anxiety and stress. Like with the yoga postures above, breathing exercises are likely to be of significant benefit to those who suffer from considerable amounts of stress.

All Doshas

 

Vata

 

Pitta

 

Kapha

 
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