Herpes Tea Tree Oil

Note
Alternative treatments/therapies should not replace your healthcare provider-led therapy/treatments. Patients should consult their healthcare providers before taking any herbs or supplements because they may interact with treatment.

Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil, from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, has been proposed as a potential topical therapy for genital herpes simplex virus infections based on in vitro findings of antiviral activity. However, at this time there is insufficient human evidence to recommend either for or against this use of tea tree oil for recurrent herpes labialis infection.

Tea tree oil should not be taken internally, although vaginal and rectal use is recommended by some healthcare providers.

Apply tea tree oil with a cotton ball. If sensitivity develops, such as rash or irritation, diluting the oil with water may
help. If the rash or irritation continues, discontinue use. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), any of its constituents, balsam of Peru, benzoin, colophony (rosin) tinctures, eucalyptol, or other members of the Myrtle (Myrtaceae) family. Avoid if taking antineoplastic agents. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

Selected References
American Academy of Family Physicians. http://search.aafp.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.
American Social Health Association. www.ashastd.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Femiano F, Gombos F, Scully C. Recurrent herpes labialis: a pilot study of the efficacy of zinc therapy. J Oral Pathol Med. 2005;34(7):423-5.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. www3.niaid.nih.gov. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. www.naturalstandard.com. Copyright © 2009. Accessed April 4, 2009.
Singh BB, Udani J, Vinjamury SP, et al. Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(2):123-7.
Sun Y, Yang J. Experimental study of the effect of Astragalus membranaceus against herpes simplex virus type 1. Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2004;24(1):57-8.
Thomas SL, Wheeler JG, Hall AJ. Micronutrient intake and the risk of herpes zoster: a case-control study. Int J Epidemiol. 2006;35(2):307-14.
World Health Organization. www.who.int. Accessed April 4, 2009.
VZV Research Foundation. www.vzvfoundation.org. Accessed April 4, 2009.