This is almost a duplicate of a message that I posted on another forum. I apologize if I'm boring some of you, but there's been enough talk about this over here that I think it's relevant. I've been seeing a lot of discussion of alternative treatments for herpes recently, and I'd like to put my two cents in on that subject in general.
First, let me say that I'm not opposed to alternative health care. I had an experimental procedure when I injured my back a few years ago and I today I am much more physically capable that people who had the standard surgery. My daughter's initial treatment for genital herpes was a bit non-standard as well, and her results were good. Straying from the beaten path can be a good thing.
There are many folk therapies and treatment options that may help *you* but will never be approved by the AMA or the FDA for one reason or another - No profit in it so it gets no push, doesn't work for everyone, too hard to do trials on, and so on and so on. There is also a lot of snake oil out there, some of which will just drain your wallet and some of which can actually hurt you.
If you plan to pursue alternate treatments, you are essentially becoming your own primary care provider. This makes sense in a way - who cares more about your health than you do? But it does mean you need to gain the knowledge to do a good job of it. You need to learn about the disorder you want to treat, what causes it, what makes symptoms appear, how the body reacts to it over time. You need to understand how current standard treatments work and what the side effects are. You also need to research the operation and potential side effects of the alternatives you are considering. Do this *independently* - don't rely on literature or explanations provided by whoever is recommending the treatment.
If you can, find a physician who will work with you. I've found that D.O.'s (osteopaths), sports physicians, doctors with small family practices and those who emphasize holistic care are your best bets for finding an open mind.
A couple of things in particular to beware of: some of the substances used in alternative treatments are not manufactured for human use. This means they are not subject to the same standards of purity that your everyday food and drugs are. Contaminants in these substances can be very dangerous - even fatal.
If a product claims that it is "FDA registered" or something of that nature, be sure you understand what that means. Items that the FDA classifies as nutritional supplements are not closely regulated - essentially the FDA will allow them to be sold as long as they follow labeling rules and the substance does not appear to be immediately toxic when consumed. Sometimes, this is not much help - remember fen-Phen?
Also, be sure you understand the natural process of your condition over time. A really great way to generate long term sales is to take credit for what nature way going to do anyway. For example, hsv symptoms tend to be most severe in the first 24 months or so post-infection, so if I claim that a product will control herpes but takes two years, people can get the impression that the product is helping, when in reality the symptoms would have decreased on their own.
Another thing: remember that change in general can provide temporary improvement. For example, have you noticed that a new shampoo works better the first time to two you use it, even if you don't like it in the long run? Same thing can apply to treatments - changing your vitamins or whatever sometimes makes you feel better for a bit just because of the change.
Anyway, pursue alternate treatments if you like, but do it with your eyes open, and not in blind desperate hope of a cure.
Oh, and one more thing: if you try an alternative treatment, a supplement or a diet, and it works for you, by all means, tell us about your experience. But please, don't be so arrogant as to start pushing that treatment down other people's throats or set yourself up as an "on-line physician", making official-sounding recommendations and dispensing advice. Doctors, chiropractors and other health care providers are *extremely cautious* about dispensing blanket advice to people that they haven't met and examined, and there is a good reason for this. A program that worked perfectly *for you* could be damaging to another person due to allergies, immune system response, age, other health conditions or any number of variables. Remember that the essence of alternative treatment is self care, and that means allowing people to make up their own minds.
My opinions, still free.