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Pine Cone Lignin and Ascorbic Acid Treatment for Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1

By Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG)

Huntington College of Health Sciences

Infection with herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) is lifelong and can have serious consequences. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent data for nationwide prevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2 (obtained in the 2005-2010 cycle of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), 54 percent of persons aged 14 to 49 had HSV-1 infection, and 16 percent had HSV-2 infection, overall.1 Antiviral drugs as well as natural remedies have been used to reduce symptoms and the rate of recurrences of HSV-1 and HSV-2. One of the lesser known, but promising natural treatments is pine cone lignin and ascorbic acid.

To evaluate anti-HSV-1 activity of a pine cone lignin and ascorbic acid treatment, a clinical pilot study2 was carried out. Forty-eight healthy patients of both genders between 4 and 61 years old (mean: 31+/-16 years), with active lesions of HSV-1, took part in the study. According to the HSV-1 stage at the presentation, the patients were classified into the prodromic (16 patients), erythema (11 patients), papule edema (1 patient), vesicle/pustule (13 patients) and ulcer stages (7 patients). 50 mg each of lignin-ascorbic acid tablet or solution was orally administered three times daily for a month. Clinical evaluations were made daily the first week and at least three times a week during the second week after the onset and every six months during the subsequent year to identify recurrence episodes.

Results showed that the patients who began the lignin-ascorbic acid treatment within the first 48 hours of symptom onset did not develop HSV-1 characteristic lesions, whereas those patients who began the treatment later experienced a shorter duration of cold sore lesions and a decrease in the symptoms compared with previous episodes (P=0.001). The majority of the patients reported the reduction in the severity of symptoms and the reduction in the recurrence episodes after the lignin-ascorbic acid treatment compared with previous episodes, suggesting its possible applicability for the prevention and treatment of HSV-1 infection.


  1. Bradley H et al. Seroprevalence of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 — United States, 1999-2010. J Infect Dis. 2014; 209(3):325-33.
  2. Lopez BS, Yamamoto M, Utsumi K, Aratsu C, Sakagami H. A clinical pilot study of lignin–ascorbic acid combination treatment of herpes simplex virus. In Vivo. 2009 Nov-Dec;23(6):1011-6.

Professor Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, the Provost for Huntington College of Health Sciences, is a nutritionist, herbalist, writer and educator. For more than 37 years he has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines and peer-reviewed publications. He can be reached at gbruno@hchs.edu.