The information below is shared for educational purposes and to promote research.
Integrative Interventions with Antiviral Properties from Life Extension
Given the suspected role of herpes virus reactivation in some cases of Bell’s palsy (Kennedy 2010), natural agents shown to combat viral infection may be of some benefit for those affected by Bell’s palsy, although clinical trials have yet to evaluate this hypothesis.
Licorice is a member of the Glycyrrhiza species, which has been used traditionally to combat viral infections. It contains a compound called glycyrrhizin that has been shown in several studies to exert antiviral activity against a number of viruses, including herpes virus (Fiore 2008; Pompei 1979). In fact, the broad antiviral activity of licorice has given rise to interest in its clinical application as a broad-spectrum antiviral (Pu 2013). Animal studies show that licorice compounds mitigate the impact of HSV-1 infection and reduce HSV-1 viral replication (Sekizawa 2001).
Zinc may be able to combat Bell’s palsy on a number of fronts. Zinc inhibits the replication of the herpes virus and has been used in multiple trials to reduce the duration of herpes outbreaks (Gaby 2006). Zinc is also important for nerve function, as zinc deficiency can impair the ability of nerves to transmit signals (O’Dell 1990; NINDS 2012).
Lysine is an amino acid sometimes used to treat recurrent herpes simplex infections (Flodin 1997). It has not been formally evaluated in the context of Bell’s palsy, but studies have found it to be useful in combatting herpes virus-related illnesses. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study that included participants with oral-facial or genital herpes found that consumption of one gram of L-lysine three times daily for 6 months reduced the frequency, duration, and severity of herpes outbreaks (Griffith 1987). Other studies have also found that lysine supplementation can reduce the frequency of cold sores that occur during HSV-1 infection (Ozden 2011). Overall, lysine appears to be able to reduce the intensity and frequency of HSV flare-ups when used regularly (EBSCO CAM Review Board 2011).
The reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, is a fungus that has been used medicinally for centuries in China, Japan, and Korea. Some of the components of reishi appear to have antiviral properties (Paterson 2006). Researchers have identified two different compounds in the reishi mushroom, known as GLPG (Ganoderma lucidum proteoglycan) and APBP (acidic protein bound polysaccharide), which showed strong antiviral activities against both HSV-1 and HSV-2 in vitro (Liu 2004; Li 2005; Kim 2000).
Preparations of the reishi mushroom have also shown promising results in human trials. Reishi was very effective in reducing pain caused by herpes and shingles infections that did not respond to standard treatment. Also, an herbal mixture containing reishi reduced shingles pain. In addition, another reishi-containing herbal mixture shortened the duration of symptoms in patients with oral and genital herpes infections (Hijikata 1998; Hijikata 2005; Hijikata 2007).
Much of reishi’s benefit may be due to its ability to combat immunosenescence – the normal decline of the immune system that accompanies aging. Reishi mushrooms attack and reverse immunosenescence through the combined effects of three compounds: first, a group of long-chain carbohydrates called polysaccharides; second, a unique protein named LZ-8; and third, a small group of steroid-like molecules called triterpenes (Bao 2001; Xu 2011; Yeh 2010).
Together, these three reishi components achieve the dual goals of promoting healthy immune responses against viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, while suppressing excessive or chronic inflammation that threatens long-term health.
Among its broad-spectrum immune-boosting effects are the following:
- Reishi promotes specialization of dendritic cells and macrophages. These cells are essential in allowing individuals to react to new threats, vaccines, and cancer cells (Cao 2002; Lai 2010; Jan 2011; Ji 2011; Chan 2005).
- Reishi’s effects on dendritic cells have been proven to boost the response to tetanus vaccine. The mushroom’s proteins are also under investigation as “adjuvants” to emerging cancer DNA vaccines and other immune-based cancer treatments (Lai 2010; Chu 2011; Lin 2011; Zhu 2012).
- Reishi polysaccharide triggers growth and development of bone marrow, where most immune cells are born. Following bone marrow eradication by chemotherapy, reishi increased production of both red and white blood cells (Zhu 2007).
- Reishi increases numbers and functions of many cell lines in the immune system, such as natural killer cells, antibody-producing B cells, and the T cells responsible for rapid response to a new or “remembered” antigen (Jan 2011; Wang 2012; Jeurink 2008).
On the other side of the immunosenescence coin, reishi’s various components work to suppress inflammatory cytokines produced during chronic inflammation, as seen for example in rheumatoid arthritis, while maintaining normal acute inflammatory responses (Ji 2011; Kohda 1985; Ho 2007; Ko 2008; Xi Bao 2006). Under conditions of chronic inflammation, reishi reduces inflammatory promoters (Dudhgaonkar 2009).
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a form of mint used traditionally to treat numerous ailments, including herpes outbreaks (Yarnell 2009). Several laboratory experiments have shown lemon balm extracts possess a variety of antiviral activities against both HSV-1 and HSV-2 (Mazzanti 2008; Astani 2012; Schnitzler 2008; Geuenich 2008; Nolkemper 2006; Allahverdiyev 2004; Dimitrova 1993). Clinical trials have evaluated the efficacy of topical lemon balm preparations and shown positive results. In one trial, a lemon balm ointment improved symptoms of oral herpes compared to placebo when applied 4 times daily for 5 days; the lemon balm treatment also prevented the spread of the outbreak, and the authors suggested that lemon balm may increase the time between outbreaks (Koytchev 1999). Two additional trials involving 115 and 116 patients also found that local therapy with lemon balm extract effectively eases oral herpes symptoms (Wolbling 1994).
Propolis is a resin-like substance obtained from beehives and has a long history of medicinal use (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database 2012). It contains a mixture of several compounds, including flavonoids and polyphenols, many of which have anti-HSV-1 activity (Schnitzler 2010). The variety of effects that it has on the immune system, together with its anti-inflammatory properties, may allow it to help the body more effectively fight infections (Storcin 2007).
In one study, a constituent of propolis was found to significantly inhibit the synthesis of HSV in cell cultures (Amoros 1994). Another study showed that a propolis extract has potent antiviral activity against HSV-2 in cell cultures (Nolkemper 2010). Notably, an ointment containing flavonoids from propolis was more effective in aiding the healing of genital herpes lesions and reducing local symptoms than the antiviral medication acyclovir (Vynograd 2000). Propolis, as a 3% ointment, was also shown to reduce the duration of cold sores caused by oral herpes and decreased pain associated with the lesions (Ehrlic 2011).
A number of other integrative interventions shown to possess antiviral properties are presented in the Herpes and Shingles protocol.
Source of the text above: https://www.lifeextension.com/Protocols/Neurological/Bells-Palsy/Page-03?p=1
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