Given that the virus which causes herpes will stay with you as long as we live, (at least this is what research says so far) what you can hope for, is to reduce the frequency and intensity of your outbursts. The use of DMSO (Dimethyl Sulfoxide) in treating herpes, while recommended by some, is shunned by some others, and here, you will get to read both sides of the story.
What is DMSO?
Dimethyl sulfoxide (C2H6OS), is also referred to as dimethylis sulfoxidum, dimethyl sulphoxide, sulphinybismethane, and methyl sulphoxide; and is an organic compound which contains sulphur. It is known to occur naturally in various fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat products; although much of what is commonly used comes as a by-product from the paper industry. Its use in the medical field is seen in treating different conditions, herpes included, although there is no conclusive evidence to back its supposed beneficial properties.
How it Works:
A majority of the antiviral medications prove to be ineffective against the herpes virus, and this is because a coating of protein protects the cells. DMSO’s ability to enter these cells is looked upon as crucial in combating herpes, and it is believed that this is because DMSO comes with oxygen, an element which is not conducive to the growth of the herpes virus.
Studies surrounding the use of DMSO for treating herpes have been carried out in the past. One found that that the use of topical DMSO could help in relieving inflammation and pain caused by herpes; and another showed that it could have a positive effect in addressing the lesions commonly associated with this condition.
One school of thought opines that DMSO, when used in conjunction with idoxuridine, could have an even better effect; and research has also pointed to the benefits of using topical Alpha-Interferon ointments with DMSO in treating recurrent genital herpes.
What’s to be noted though is that none of these findings are conclusive, with more studies either being carried out or required. What’s also important to note is that those who propose using DMSO to treat herpes also suggest that it should only be used as a solvent, and in its purest form.
Commonly available in the form of gels, liquids, creams, and powders, the use of these with a 5% – 40% idoxuridine solution is generally suggested. The solution should be applied within 48 hours of the rashes first appearing, and one can continue using this solution for up to four days, at an interval of four hours. Proponents suggest dabbing the affected region with a cotton ball dabbed in DMSO twice a day, and this can help prevent the virus’ growth.
The Holistic View:
The holistic view to the use of DMSO in treating herpes starts with it primarily being used as an industrial solvent (used to clean heavy machinery). Its use in the medicinal realm, as per the American FDA, have been approved only for treating interstitial cystitis; and other than that it has known to help race horses in coping with the heavy strain they have to deal with. Not looked upon as a vitamin or an herbal medicine, the holistic view in treating herpes steers clear of DMSO use, and relies more on making lifestyle changes.
Side Effects of DMSO:
If used incorrectly, the use of DMSO can be unsafe. Topical application can lead to skin irritation, although diluting purified DMSO with distilled water can help with the same. If taken internally, it can lead to nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, and/or constipation. Taking DMSO internally is definitely not recommended without seeking your doctor’s advice.
A Word of Caution:
Although there is no conclusive evidence which backs the use of DMSO in treating herpes, there is no dearth of DMSO based products which claim to work as cures for herpes, and these are quite easily available (especially online). The US FDA has previously warned consumers not to be misled by such claims, at least not until more relevant research has been carried out.
While medical grade DMSO is generally available only for treating interstitial cystitis, and that too not without a prescription; industrial grade DMSO is easier to get. However, the use of the latter to treat medical conditions like herpes is not suggested, and lead to a variety of complications.
If you’ve been thinking about using DMSO to get relief from your herpes outbreaks, know that you might get some relief, but it is best not to tread on this path without medical supervision.