There is never a good time for a cold sore to pop up. They are painful, itchy, and unsightly. They usually develop when you’re sick or have been very stressed or tired, effectively kicking you when you’re already down. They can also develop due to hormonal changes too. They usually occur around your mouth but can occur in other places too.
Cold sores or fever blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 which most people contract when they are children. Sharing towels, cups, cutlery, lip balm, lipstick, toothbrushes, and physical contact with the sores or hands that have touched the sore spreads the virus from person to person.
It’s most contagious during the oozing phase. The virus then lies dormant and is then triggered when your immune system is low (1). Although you can’t cure the herpes virus, you can treat and prevent cold sores. Using coconut oil for cold sores is better than store-bought ointments or creams and has none of the side effects.
Does Coconut Oil Get Rid of Cold Sores?
Despite all the hype surrounding coconut oil, the one thing that it isn’t really well known for is treating fever blisters, but there are actually some very good reasons to try it. So how does coconut oil help cold sores?
Coconut oil is antibacterial and antiviral. It hasn’t been specifically tested on the herpes simplex virus yet, but there is good reason to believe that it may be effective against the herpes virus due to the way it attacks viruses by cracking their cells open and spilling the contents which kills the virus.
Coconut oil relieves pain due to its analgesic properties as well as the anti-inflammatory properties.
Although you do want the cold sore to dry out, if it and the surrounding skin become too dry, the skin can crack leaving you with a split lip and even more pain. Coconut oil is an effective moisturizer.
The first symptom of a cold sore is that tingle, burning sensation, or a throbbing sensation. You can start applying the coconut oil the moment this happens. If the sore does appear, it will form a blister or a few small blisters. They then eventually start oozing before the cold sore then dries out, it takes about 2-4 weeks. Use coconut oil right through to shorten the duration.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Cold Sores
Apply these remedies a few times a day for the best results. Try to avoid touching your cold sore with your hands as this can increase the chances of it spreading. You can use a cotton swab or a cotton ball. Always wash your hands before and after you’ve applied the remedy to your cold sore. Melt the coconut oil first so that it’s easy to apply and mix with other remedies.
Use these remedies at least twice a day. You can also use them every few hours if you prefer to rinse them off.
1. Plain Coconut Oil
Putting coconut oil on a cold sore is one of the easiest ways to treat a cold sore and it’s less noticeable than other remedies like toothpaste.
Apply some coconut oil to the cold sore.
Keep it on for around 20-30 minutes.
You can then rinse it off.
You can also put coconut oil on the cold sore overnight.
2. Coconut Oil and Honey
Honey is another antiviral compound from nature and studies show that it inhibits herpes simplex (2). Only use raw honey as processed honey is often mixed with corn syrup and the heat and filtering gets rid of the beneficial properties.
Mix equal parts of honey and coconut oil together.
Apply it as you would the plain coconut oil.
You can also leave this remedy on overnight, but you may need to use a band-aid or use cotton wool to apply it and just tape the cotton wool in place so that it doesn’t rub off.
3. Coconut Oil and Essential Oils
The best essential oils to use:
4. Coconut Oil and Turmeric
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and it combats the herpes virus too (6). Just be careful with this remedy since it can stain your clothing or bedding.
Combine a tablespoon of turmeric and a tablespoon of coconut oil to form a paste.
Use as you would the above remedies.
5. Coconut Oil and Aloe Vera
Another natural cold sore remedy that has been through medical studies is aloe vera which was proven to be highly effective (7).
Cut an aloe leaf and squeeze the gel out or use some store-bought aloe vera gel (make sure that it doesn’t have harsh chemicals).
Combine it with coconut oil to form a paste.
Use it as the above remedies.
You may need to melt it slightly and mix it again if you make a large batch to store since the aloe gel and coconut oil will separate.
6. Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet
You can heal yourself from the inside out by eating a tablespoon of coconut oil straight. This might not be appealing to everyone, so you can add it to smoothies or even tea. You can also cook with it and adding garlic to your meals will also help. While you can use it for baking instead of butter, you should avoid grains when you have a cold sore.
Tips and Precautions
When using coconut oil on a fever blister, use virgin coconut oil. The processed deodorized coconut still contains lauric acid, a fatty acid which is responsible for coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties, but the fatty acids may be damaged which won’t help as much externally and can clog up your arteries over time when eaten regularly.
Replace your toothbrush and lip balm/lipstick as you don’t want to reintroduce the virus once you’ve gotten rid of your cold sore.
Avoid kissing or having oral sex when you have a cold sore. Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2 but both type 1 and 2 can cause oral or genital herpes. Avoid sex if you or your partner have genital herpes sores.
Avoid grains, chocolate, coffee, spinach, nuts, and seeds when you have a cold sore as they contain arginine which is an amino acid that can worsen your cold sore. Spicy foods and alcohol can also aggravate your cold sore.
Do things that relax you and take your mind off of your problems. If you can’t stop worrying, set aside worrying time. Just a half an hour of your day to write down everything that’s worrying you and use that time to worry and work out solutions. Make that time the only time you can worry. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga can also help.
Eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables. Cut out processed foods as much as possible. This will help to strengthen your immune system and keep it strong.
Exercise regularly to combat stress and improve your overall health.
If you suspect that your cold sores are due to hormonal changes, chat to your doctor about available solutions.
Please let us know if you found coconut oil useful. If you would like to try other remedies, you can find more cold sore remedies here. What are your best remedies for cold sores?
Jane Scott grew up on a farm in California and is a crossover between a country girl and an evangelist for healthier living. She’s a nutritionist who preaches that healthy living need not be complicated.
She believes that by exercising regularly, eating mostly non-processed foods (with plenty of vegetables), and using home remedies for the small things and doctor’s advice for the big things, almost anybody can feel great and live a happier and healthier life. She’s excited to share her knowledge of natural remedies and healthier living on HRFL.
In her spare time, Jane enjoys cooking and watching bad rom-coms. She also loves nuts, and is a bit of a nut herself when it comes to Yoga, which she’s a little too obsessed with in the opinion of her friends and family.