Since Ecobaby was born, my immune system just hasn’t been the same. I appear to be plagued by a variety of autoimmune disorders that manifest with a variety of symptoms that are entirely new to me.
I hate to say that cold sore outbreaks are among the list of unpleasantries.
Throughout my life, I had occasionally gotten what I referred to as an “itchy bump” on my lip, but it never turned into anything more. I’d chew on it a bit to relieve the itch, it would get all big and puffy that day, and then it would shrink down and disappear overnight.
After a horrible case of strep throat last year that left my weak immune system even weaker, now when I get an itchy bump on my lip, it is the precursor to something much worse.
It starts as a burning, raw, chapped feeling, and is usually preceded by a lot of time in the sun without protecting my lips, more stress than usual, and not drinking enough water.
Then, the itchy bump appears, grows, and slowly turns into a blister. The blister grows and ultimately erupts, oozing contagion and forcing me to wash my hands like a hospital employee, and endlessly dab, dab, dab with tissues.
Worse still, it forces me to avoid kissing my precious Ecofamily til it clears up.
Sniff, sniff … *sob*
Anyway, it gets worse.
A misguided attempt last year to treat a cold sore topically with tea tree oil (combined with the lack of knowledge that the oozing sore is VERY contagious) resulted in my entire upper lip reinfecting itself and crusting over for nearly two weeks. Ecobaby was just a few months old, and it was absolute torture not to be able to kiss her.
I consulted my holistic parenting group for natural remedies, and I kept getting the same answer over and over again.
L-lysine. L-lysine. L-lysine.
Before we talk about the amino acid L-lysine, which is naturally present in the body, let’s briefly touch on another amino acid, L-arginine.
An abundance of L-arginine in the body creates a hospitable environment for the herpes simplex virus (ie, cold sores) to run rampant. Foods that are naturally high in L-arginine include chocolate (guilty) and nuts (guilty again).
L-lysine on the other hand represses the metabolism of L-arginine. Dairy products are very high in L-lysine, and I didn’t eat any for a year, and still don’t eat much of it now. In high enough doses, L-lysine reverses the visible symptom of cold sores.
How high? Opinions differed, but I went with the suggestion of one mama friend I trust who said, “Pop ’em like candy.”
I began my attack with 1000 milligrams of L-lysine every few hours that night, and all day the next day. By the second night, it had already started drying up and shrinking.
When I woke up the next morning, the top layer had dried up and fallen off, and I was on my way to a normal looking lip once again.
Now when I get an itchy bump on my lip, and recognize those other signs like tingly lips, too much sun, not enough water, etc., I immediately start taking loads of L-lysine. Bump never materializes into anything more, and is usually entirely gone the next day.
L-lysine. Stops cold sores in their tracks.