BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) is a lab-made chemical that is added to foods as a preservative. People also use it as medicine.
BHT is used to treat genital herpes and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Some people apply BHT directly to the skin for cold sores.
How does it work?
BHT is an antioxidant. It may damage the protective outer layer of viral cells. This may keep the viruses from multiplying and/or doing more damage.
- Cold sores caused by a type of virus called herpes. Developing evidence suggests that putting BHT on cold sores may help them heal faster.
- Genital herpes.
- Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & Safety
BHT is safe in the amounts found in processed foods. But there isn’t enough information to know if it is safe to take BHT in medicinal doses, which are typically higher. There also isn’t enough information to know whether BHT can be safely used on the skin.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: BHT is safe when eaten as food, but there's not enough information to know if it's safe in the larger amounts that are used as medicine. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, stick with food amounts until more is known.
The appropriate dose of BHT depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for BHT. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.