Cold Sores, also known as fever blisters, are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV – 1), which is closely related to H SV – 2 which causes genital herpes. Cold sores start out as fluid-filled blisters that appear on and around the lips, mouth and nose, sometimes grouping in patches. Once the blister breaks, a scab forms over it, resulting in the familiar sore. Cold sores spread through close human contact like kissing and oral sex.
Symptoms of Cold Sore:
Listed below are the symptoms which regularly seen in the people who suffer with cold sores.
- Tingling and itching
- Oozing and crusting
- Muscles aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Painful eroded gums
- Sore throat
- Burning sensation
Home Remedies for Cold Sores
Cold sores typically last about two weeks, and can return if your immune system is weak. However, there are ways to treat them and prevent them using simple home remedies based on familiar ingredients you probably already have in your home. Want to find out what they are? Let’s get started!
1. Green Tea Bags
The nutrients and anti-oxidants in green tea help cold sores heal fast.
- Prepare green tea as instructed on the package.
- Once steeped, take the tea bag out of the cup and set it aside to cool.
- Drink the hot tea while you’re waiting.
- Once cool, apply the tea bag to the cold sore for 5-10 minutes.
- Drink green tea 3 times daily, and apply tea bag to sore every 3 hours.
- Note: Refrigerate tea bag to get more relief.
Garlic is naturally anti-bacterial. It helps to disinfect the sore and speed up the healing process. Eat garlic regularly.
- Crush garlic cloves to make a paste.
- Apply the paste to the sore, leave it on 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse with water. Do this daily.
To use echinacea, simply put a chunk of the root in your mouth, swish it around a few minutes, then swallow it.
Chamomile contains bisabolol, a component which helps to heal sores.
- Drink warm chamomile tea 3 times a day.
- Apply chamomile tincture directly to the sore 3 times a day.
Milk contains immunoglobulin’s and I-lysine amino acids, which help to heal the sore and soothe the pain.
- Soak a cotton ball either in raw milk or cold milk.
- Apply milk to the cold sore, leave it on 5 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water.
- Repeat 3 times a day.
Vanilla contains anti-bacterial properties which help to kill the virus that causes cold sores. It also reduces inflammation and relieves pain.
- Take pure vanilla extract and use a cotton ball to apply it directly to the cold sore 3 times a day.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibiotic properties which help to treat and prevent infection.
- Mix 1 part tea tree oil with 3 parts water.
- Apply to cold sore and leave for few minutes.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar kills the bacteria that cause infection while balancing the pH levels of the skin and drying out the blister.
- Use a cotton ball to apply it directly to the cold sore 3 times a day.
- Also, mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar into a glass of ice water.
- Drink that 3 times a day.
9. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen Peroxide is anti-bacterial, so it kills the germs that cause infections.
- Use a cotton ball to apply it to cold sores 3 times a day.
The glycyrrhizic acid in licorice stops the cold sore virus from spreading and prevents cold sores from recurring.
- Chew organic licorice root regularly.
- Or Sprinkle licorice powder on the sore & its surrounding areas.
- Or Mix licorice root powder with smidgen of pure vegetable shortening.
- Apply this to the cold sore.
- Leave it on 5 minutes, then rinse with water.
11. Nail Polish Remover
Nail polish remover dries the blister out quickly.
- Use a cotton ball to apply it to the cold sore, leave it on 30 seconds to one minute.
- Rinse with water.
- This may cause a slight burning sensation.
12. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil fights the virus that causes cold sores.
- Apply a few drops of peppermint oil to the cold sore.
- Leave it on 5 minutes, the rinse with cool water.
- Repeat twice a day to get relief from cold sore.
13. Reishi and Astragalus
Reishi and astragalus both support the immune system
- Both of these come in supplement form, and should be taken 2 times a day to treat and prevent cold sores.
- Take 600 mg of Reishi either in powder or supplements.
Corn starch relieves itching and burning sensations.
- Mix ½ teaspoon cornstarch with enough water to make a thick paste.
- Apply it to the cold sore, leave on 5 minutes, then rinse with water.
Raw, organic honey is a natural antibiotic. It soothes the pain of cold sores while fighting the virus that causes them.
- Eat 1 teaspoon a day.
- Also, apply it directly to the sore, leave it on 5 minutes, then rinse with water.
Myrrh fights the germs that cause cold sores.
- Mix 2 tablespoons powdered myrrh in a cup of hot water.
- Dab some on your sore, leave on 5 minutes, then rinse with water.
- Repeat 3 times a day.
17. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is naturally anti-bacterial, so it fights the virus that causes cold sores while soothing the pain.
- Apply fresh, organic aloe vera gel to the cold sore.
- Leave it for few minutes & rinse it off.
- Repeat at least 3 times a day.
Camphor numbs pain.
- Use a cotton ball to apply it to the cold sore whenever necessary.
- Leave on for few minutes.
- Benzocaine, lidocaine, benzyl alcohol, tetracaine & phenol can be used in place of camphor.
Foods to Avoid:
- Acidic foods
- Salty foods
- Foods that contain arginine, like chocolate, nuts and whole grains.
- Artificial sweeteners and refined sugars
- Processed and packaged foods
- Artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives
- Food containing saturated fatty acids & trans-fatty acids like fast food and frozen dinners.
Foods that Prevent Cold Sores:
- Get plenty of Lysine by eating fresh vegetables & fruits, fish, beans, turkey & chicken, dairy products like yogurt, eggs, milk & cheese, mangoes, tomatoes, avocadoes, apples, beets, apricots, pears & sprouts, etc.
- Get plenty of vitamin C.
- Eat foods which boost immune system. Fresh vegetables, especially leaf greens, will support your immune system.
- Eat foods contain antioxidants like berries like blue berries, black berries, straw berries, raspberries & also kale, whole grains, garlic, carrots, dates, chilly, pepper, red cabbage, beets, lemon, ginger, green tea, etc
- Get plenty of zinc from seeds, beans, and lentils.
- Get bioflavinoids from brightly colored fruits and vegetables (cherries, cranberries, grapes, peppers, apricots, prunes) black tea (like Earl Gray), egg fruit, wine & juice made from the berries or grapes, leafy vegetables, rosehips, etc.
- Get vitamin B and magnesium from bananas, whole grains, barley, mushrooms, turkey, brewer’s yeast, green leafy vegetables, tuna & salmon.
Other Tips for Treating and Preventing Cold Sores
- Apply petroleum jelly to the sore to sooth pain.
- If you get a cold sore, replace your toothbrush as toothbrush can easily spread the virus and you may use your toothpaste as a home remedy to treat this.
- Apply ointment contains benzocaine to reduce pain and numb the area.
- Apply sunscreen to lips when going outside.
- Do not squeeze, pinch, or pick at cold sores. This will only make them worse.
- Avoid kissing and sharing eating and hygiene utensils while suffering from cold sores.
- Wash your hands regularly or when your touch your cold sore or around the affected area. Use hand sanitizer.
- Use ice packs or cold compresses to relieve pain and numb the sore. You can drink smoothies which help to numb the cold sore area & give temporary relief from the pain.
- Avoid stress by stress relief techniques like deep breath, yoga, exercise, meditation etc as it is one of the causes of cold sore.
- Use zinc lozenges to boost the immune system.
- Use lemon extract lip balm.
- Lysine, available as a supplement or cream, will help heal cold sores faster.
- Apply sea salt to the sore & press gently for at least 30 seconds to kill the bacteria.
- Apply lavender oil, coconut oil or Melissa oil 3 times a day.
- Use Docosanol (Abreva) cream, which is approved by the food & drug administration. Apply it frequently so that it may shorten the outbreak early.
Other Complication Associated with Cold Sores
Herpes can easily spread to other body parts…
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer to avoid spreading it to your fingers and then to other people.
- Avoid touching your eyes while you have a cold sore. This could lead to pinkeye.
- Those with eczema have a higher risk of spreading the cold sore virus to other areas of the skin.
- Those with weakened immune systems are at risk of developing the cold sore virus in other organs in the body.
Have you tried any of these home remedies for cold sores? Which ones worked best for you? Share your experience with us!
Hi everyone, this is Rajee!
I live the beautiful city of Baltimore, where my husband works.
I’m from India. I have been visiting India on and off for past few years and my mom was an inspiration for me to start this site. She has a wealth of knowledge on home remedies for a large number of health problems, and we grew up in an environment where frequent visits to the doctor just wasn’t logistically or financially feasible.
Despite this, she managed to raise a family of healthy kids, and my goal here at Home Remedies for Life is to pass on some of her knowledge of natural remedies.