HPV is a virus that can lead to conditions as harmless as a wart and as deadly as cervical cancer. While there is no cure for HPV, there are both preventative measures and herbs with antiviral properties that may be able to lessen the harmful effects and the spread of the condition. It is important to understand as much as you can about the various forms of HPV and how you can prevent contracting it.
What is HPV?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can infect the mucous membranes and epidermis of humans, which may lead to cancers of the vagina, anus, cervix, vulva and penis. There are more than 100 different types that are generally divided into those that cause warts, those that cause cancer, and those with no symptoms at all (which are essentially harmless). Some types of the virus can be contracted sexually (like the strain that causes genital warts) and some have a 90 percent chance of clearing up on their own within two years. The cervical Pap smear is meant to detect cells that may develop into cervix caner as a result of HPV.
There are few traditional treatments for HPV itself, but there are many different treatments for the conditions caused by HPV. The warts of HPV can be treated like any warts with freezing, acid, surgical removal or a combination of treatments. Treatments for HPV-related cancers include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, though radiation is often avoided in young women with cervical cancer as it may damage the ovaries and induce menopause. The lack of a traditional remedy for HPV has led to the mass availability of HPV vaccines to prevent contracting the virus in the first place.
Garlic, Pau d'Arco, Thuja
Garlic, the common kitchen herb, has strong antiviral properties induced by the compound allicin that can be found in crushed raw garlic. It has been used as a wart cure when directly applied to the area and it can be taken in raw or pill form orally to begin attacking the virus. Pau d'arco (also known as lapacho) is an herb well-known in South America that has a host of curative properties from its active compound lapachol. The compound is antiviral and it may be able to shrink tumor size, giving it a dual purpose in attacking both HPV and cervical cancer. Thuja is an herb often used in ayurvedic (Indian) medicine that also has anti-viral abilities. It has been used to treat warts directly and can be taken as an infusion or a tincture.
Astragalus may be one of the strongest herbal remedies against HPV. It has been studied often for its potent anti-cancer abilities as it activates the gene p53, one of the walls of defense against HPV-related cancers. It also builds up the production of the immune system chemical IL-2, which can directly fight HPV. In general, astragalus builds up the immune system, which can help to suppress outbreaks of certain HPV strains such as warts. The herb can be taken in capsule form, with 500 mg three times a day being an appropriate dose.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of HPV-related cancers, including abnormal vaginal bleeding, lower back or pelvic pain, painful menstrual periods or a foul-smelling discharge, consult your doctor immediately. Certain strains of HPV can be spread through sexual contact, so make sure to wear a condom, including during anal sex. Certain herbal remedies can cause allergic reactions or can interact with medications that you may be taking. Talk to your doctor or an integrated medical practitioner before adding herbs to your diet.