Solved! Go to Solution.
If you only want to search for whole words, you can separate the strings (using the /s as the delimiter). This makes the process faster. The attached vi is an example.
You are experiencing the joy of Property Nodes, each time you access one, LV feels the urge to update the control that it references. You can speed things up considerably (factor of 4 on my machine) by Defering Panel Updates on the VI while running the subVI. I could probably tweak another factor of two with the code, but this simple fix goes a long ways.