According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), genital herpes is referred to as yin chuang (genital carbuncle) or re chuang (hot sores). As sexual contact is the main way for being infected with genital herpes, you are more at risk to acquire it if you or your partner indulges in sexual activity with casual or multiple partners. TCM has no such theory that explains germs causing a disease but it perceives pathogens as environmental factors such as dryness, dampness, heat, cold, etc. The body’s internal organs are considered as either Yin organs or Yang organs. Each of these organs may be more or less prone to certain emotional disturbances and to the different pathogenic environmental factors.

For a condition such as genital herpes, anger emotions can be the cause as well as heat and dampness as the most common pathogenic factors. The organ systems that are usually affected are the Kidneys (Yin) and the Urinary Bladder (Yang) and the Gallbladder and Liver (Yang and Yin partners). Active toxic damp heat is the usual TCM diagnosis for genital herpes. There are three differentiated patterns that can be found in this diagnosis: Kidney and Liver deficiency; accumulation of toxic heat and damp heat pouring down.

The erosion and blistering as well as the itching and burning of genital tissue are the classical symptoms of the heat pouring down pattern. Flare ups of genital herpes are seen to be triggered by too much consumption of sugar and candy. These foods help produce active damp heat in the body. Recurrent outbreaks can be the result of poor eating choices, including the consumption of alcohol, greasy foods, heavy foods, and spicy and hot foods. The most popular Chinese herbal remedy for this pattern is Long Dan Hsie Gan Wan or Damp Heat Clearing.

Fever and the eroding of genital blisters are likely symptoms for accumulation of toxic heat pattern. This pattern is often caused by emotional upset and anger that are unexpressed and also due to too much eating of hot, spicy foods. For this pattern Wu Wei Hsiao Du Yin or Toxin Clearing Chinese herbal remedy is prescribed by the TCM practitioner. Toxin Clearing is a powerful proven herbal formula for genital herpes in its acute stage.

The deficiency pattern of the Kidney and Liver manifest as less fluid-filled blisters, but joint soreness, back pain and frequent outbreaks may be also experienced by the patient. The flare ups that recur may be due to seasonal changes, menstrual changes, bouts of flu or colds, fatigue, stress and the patient’s constitutional weakness. Hsi Bai Di Wang or Water Fire Balance can be a good remedy to prescribe for this pattern. It can also help prevent the repeated flare ups of genital herpes.

Other Beneficial Herbs for Genital Herpes

This article will mention a number of Chinese herbs that have been proven effective in treating damp heat problems such as skin conditions, urinary bladder infections genital herpes, etc. Many of these remedies posses scientifically recorded anti-microbial benefits. When they are utilized externally, the herbs need to be boiled, their liquid strained off and used to wash to the affected region of the body. When they are internally taken, these herbs are mixed with other herbs and taken raw but boiled first in water or taken in capsule form. These remedies should only be prescribed by a licensed herbalist or a licensed Chinese medicine practitioner to treat a condition.

Smilax – this herb is widely known to remove dampness and relieve toxicity. Similax is also used to treat recurrent skin lesions and ulcers caused by damp-heat.

Wild Chrysanthemum Flower – This flower blooms in the autumn and has the ability to relieve toxicity and clear heat. Wild Chrysanthemum Flower has demonstrated an inhibitory effect in vitro against pathogens such as Shigella spp, Staphylococcus and certain types of ECHO viruses.

Sophora – this herb has the ability to clear heat, dry up dampness, relieve itch and kill “worms” based on ancient Chinese herbal medicine documents. Sophora is often used for external purposes. It has a cold property and bitter taste and is commonly used to treat genital itch, carbuncles and furuncles in women.

Dittany Bark – (Bai Hsian Pi) – This herb is for external use. It comes from the bark of the dittany tree and works magnificently for a wide range skin conditions like inflammation, eczema and itching.

Philodendron (Wang Bai) – this Chinese herbal remedy is a commonly used herb to relieve genital itching. Wang Bai is effective in containing and inhibiting yeast, viral and bacterial infections.

Woad Root – this herb has powerful antiviral attributes. Woad root possesses a broad spectrum of antimicrobial quality. In studies done, the woad root has the ability to inhibit pathogens such as hemolytic Streptococcus, Salmonella enteritidi, Salmonella typhi, Shigella flexneri, Shigella Flexner, and Shigella dysenteriae.

Cindy Chamberlain is a licensed acupuncturist of Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC in Overland Park, KS.