The herpes virus causes two distinct illnesses in humans. Known as herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2, these ailments are usually not life-threatening and are typically more of an inconvenience than a threat to sufferers. Both types of herpes are extremely contagious and can be readily passed by physical contact, making them a significant health problem in most populated areas. The primary symptoms of the disease in both forms are the characteristic blisters and subsequent scabs that erupt on the skin, either around the mouth and nose or in the genital areas. The location of these watery, painful blisters is generally used to determine which type of herpes the patient has. Herpes simplex virus 1 is associated with cold sores that form around the mouth, while herpes simplex virus 2 is generally known as genital herpes. In rare cases, the virus responsible for one type of herpes can present in the area most usually associated with the other variety.
Because the two types of herpes simplex virus are so genetically similar, blood tests can only detect the presence of the virus in the bloodstream. Blood tests cannot detect the specific variety responsible for the symptoms. Generally, patients become aware of the infection due to the blisters and scabs caused by the herpes virus and seek medical treatment based on these symptoms. Most pregnant women are tested for herpes at an early stage of the pregnancy. Active cases of herpes simplex 2 can be transmitted to babies during the delivery process unless significant measures are taken to prevent this. While herpes is typically not dangerous or life-threatening for adults, it can cause a wide range of medical problems when it is transmitted to babies. Some of the medical problems herpes inflicts on babies include encephalitis, delayed development and damage to the internal organs of the infant.
While no vaccine for either type of herpes simplex virus has yet been released, a number of different formulas are currently undergoing trials. If proven effective, these formulas may offer some relief for current sufferers, as well as provide protection against infection in those vaccinated against the disease. Formulations currently under review are the result of genetic design and, as a result, may not be available to the public until the consequences of this genetic manipulation are well understood and documented.
Since there is no cure for either form of herpes at present, most treatment plans focus on controlling the symptoms of the disease. Anti-viral drugs have proven effective in many cases in reducing the number of outbreaks and providing relief from the worst effects of the herpes virus in affected individuals. Some natural products have also been used with good results, including soothing aloe vera treatments and other topical creams. One of the most effective natural remedies for herpes simplex 1 symptoms, however, is the versatile Moringa oleifera plant. In clinical studies published in Antiviral Research in November 2003, tests showed that a moderate dosage of Moringa extract produced significant effects in delaying the characteristic lesions associated with herpes. The studies also showed doses of Moringa extract prolonging the lives of mice infected with herpes simplex virus 1. Another study published in the Indian Journal of Comparative Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases in 2005 showed similar results in equine test subjects, indicating improved results when the Moringa extract was dissolved in alcohol rather than other liquids. The overall antimicrobial effects Moringa has against the herpes simplex virus 1 appear to show great promise in combating the disease. By supplementing other treatment regimens with Moringa extracts, it is likely that herpes sufferers can enjoy longer remission times and less severe outbreaks, allowing them to manage the disease more effectively and gain more enjoyment in daily life.