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Scientists from Germany presented their finding regarding the benefits of different oils against The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) at the American Society for Microbiology's 46th Annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

HSV-1 causes cold sores and it may even cause genital herpes and it is spread by close personal contact, skin to skin contact and through bodily fluids like saliva, semen and fluid in the female genital tract.

The German scientists tested chamomile oil, anise oil, dwarf-pine oil, manuka oil, and lemon oil against HSV-1 in test tubes. All of the oils tested showed to be effective against HSV-1, even against those strains that didn’t respond to the antiviral drug acyclovir.

The best anti-viral activity had chamomile oil. It is also thought that this oil wouldn’t cause any skin irritation but the oils haven’t been actually applied to the skin and the sores.

Scientists believe that these essential oils would be suitable as topical application in recurrent HSV-1 infection.

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Herpes is transmitted via skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. The virus can be transmitted even when there are no signs of a herpes outbreak. This is known as asymptomatic shedding. 

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