Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes

Altern Med Rev. 2005 Jun;10(2):123-7.


Context: L-lysine, an essential amino acid, inhibits normal replication of Herpes simplex virus (HSV), shortening the normal course and duration of the disease. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of a combination of L-lysine with botanicals and other nutrients in relieving the symptoms of facial and circumoral herpes.

Methods: This small pilot study was conducted using an outcome (open-label) model. Thirty male and female participants (15 in each group) meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria were admitted to the study. The 10 outcome measures used to monitor the sores were tingling, itching, burning, tenderness, prickling, soreness, bump/swelling, small blister(s), oozing blister(s), and crusting, as well as before-and-after photographs of the lesion, and a daily diary.

Results: At the end of treatment the ointment produced full resolution in 40 percent of the participants by the third day and in 87 percent by the end of the sixth day. A cold sore episode may last up to 21 days without treatment.

Conclusions: Overall data indicated significant improvement in participants by the sixth day of treatment for all but two participants. There were no adverse effects reported during this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Combinations
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Herpes Labialis / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Lysine / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Zinc / therapeutic use*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Plant Preparations
  • Zinc
  • Lysine