16 Effective Home Remedies To Cure Cold Sores August 3, 2016

What’s worse than having an unattractive lesion sprout on your face? Having an unattractive facial lesion that hurts like hell! Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are a common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). It appears that 6 out of 10 people get cold sores at least once during their lifetime. This infection is characterized by a bunch of small, painful, fluid-filled blisters around the mouth. The first few symptoms of cold sores include painful sores around the mouth, fever, tiredness, a sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. Following these symptoms, painful blisters begin to appear. Over the course of the infection, the sores break open and ooze out a clear fluid. The skin then crusts over, and the cold sores gradually disappear over a period of two weeks.

Home Cures For Cold Sores That Really Work

  1. Petroleum Jelly
  2. Ice Cubes
  3. Common Salt
  4. Lemon Balm
  5. Garlic Paste
  6. Green Tea
  7. Honey
  8. Baking Soda
  9. Vanilla Extract
  10. Cornstarch
  11. Sunscreen
  12. Chamomile Oil
  13. Aloe Gel
  14. Licorice Root Tea
  15. Echinacea Tincture
  16. Witch Hazel Extract

Top 16 Cold Sore Remedies

Although there are several medications available for the treatment of cold sores, you can also opt for some effective remedies that are natural and free of side-effects. Listed here are the 16 magical home remedies for cold sores that will speed up the healing process:

1. Apply Some Petroleum Jelly:

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From being the perfect alternative to a makeup remover to being a highly hydrating moisturizer, petroleum jelly plays numerous roles, including that of a cold sore healer.

What You Need

  • Petroleum jelly

What You Have To Do

  • Apply petroleum jelly on the sore to shield it from dust and bacteria, thereby preventing the infection from worsening.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply petroleum jelly to your cold sore after a bath and before sleeping every day until it heals.

Why This Works

Petroleum jelly helps keep the sore moisturized and prevents it from cracking (1). This expedites the process of healing.

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2. Rub A Cube Of Ice:

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Applying ice on the sore will help the swelling subside and will provide relief from the pain.

What You Need

  • Ice cubes
  • Towel (optional)

What You Have To Do

  • As soon as you notice the first signs of a cold sore, rub an ice cube on it. You can either wrap the ice in a towel and rub it on the sore, or rub it directly on the affected area (for greater impact).

How Often You Should Do This

Apply ice on the cold sore as frequently as possible.

Why This Works

Since the herpes simplex virus thrives in a warm atmosphere, using ice on the affected area can help prevent the growth of the virus (2). That also means that you can indulge in your favorite ice cream, guilt free!

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3. Dab On Some Common Salt:

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Did you know that common salt, an important seasoning agent, can also treat cold sores?

What You Need

  • Common salt

What You Have To Do

  • All you need to do is dab on some common salt on the cold sore and massage it for 30 seconds.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this process twice a day to treat the cold sore.

Why This Works

Salt is capable of curbing the growth of bacteria and reducing the swelling caused by cold sores, due to its alkalizing properties (3).

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4. Smear Lemon Balm Ointment

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Another effective treatment for cold sores is the topical application of lemon balm on it.

What You Need

  • Lemon balm ointment or tincture

What You Have To Do

  • You can apply either lemon balm ointment or tincture on the cold sore.

How Often You Should Do This

Apply lemon balm on the cold sore twice every day until it heals.

Why This Works

A study by Natural Product Research found that lemon balm possesses the ability to treat the lesions caused by the herpes simplex virus owing to the presence of rosmarinic acid in it (4).

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5. Apply Garlic Paste

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This culinary essential can also come to your rescue for the treatment of cold sores.

What You Need

  • 3-4 finely chopped garlic cloves

What You Have To Do

  • Cut and crush the raw garlic and make a paste out of it.
  • Apply this paste on the cold sore and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off with cold water.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this procedure 3-4 times a day until the cold sore heals. Make sure you consult your doctor before trying this cold sore remedy.

Why This Works

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center reports that raw garlic possesses many antibacterial and anti-fungal properties (5). It can thus stop the virus herpes simplex from thriving.

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6. Savor Green Tea:

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There’s almost nothing that a daily cup of green tea can’t fix. Turns out, the wondrous polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate contained in green tea can also help fight the herpes simplex virus.

What You Need

  • Green tea

What You Have To Do

  • Let the green tea steep for 45 seconds to 1 minute and enjoy your steaming cuppa.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink 2 cups of green tea every day.

Why This Works

A study by Food and Chemical Toxicology reported the antiviral activity of EGCG against the HSV-1 virus (6). Drinking green tea regularly also keeps the body free of toxins, owing to its diuretic properties. What’s better than sipping on a steaming hot cup of green tea every morning to enjoy overall good health and wellness?

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7. Dab On Honey

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The benefits of honey as an antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent are well known, but it also works well against the herpes simplex virus.

What You Need

  • Honey

What You Have To Do

  • Dab on some honey on your cold sores and leave it on.
  • Avoid licking your lips.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat the application every few hours for best results.

Why This Works

A study published in the Medical Science Monitor compared the benefits of treating patients suffering from cold sores with honey, vis-a-vis acyclovir cream (7). The results of the treatment in terms of crusting and healing were better in patients who applied honey on their cold sores. Honey is an excellent humectant that can keep the lips soft and moisturized.

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[ Read: Home Remedies For Common Cold ]

8. Apply Baking Soda Paste:

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When the stinging pain caused by cold sores gets unbearable, head to your kitchen and reach out for some baking soda.

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup water

What You Have To Do

  • Prepare a paste by mixing baking soda with water.
  • Apply it to the cold sore, leave it on for a few minutes, and rinse it off.
  • Do not to scrape off the dried paste from your lips, as doing so may aggravate the sore.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat the procedure once or twice a day to see effective results.

Why This Works

Baking soda, a common go-to home remedy, helps alleviate the pain and irritation caused by cold sores and also in quickening the healing process (8).

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9. Rub On Pure Vanilla Extract:

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Vanilla extract can prevent the herpes simplex virus from flourishing.

What You Need

  • Pure vanilla extract

What You Have To Do

  • Dip a cotton ball in pure vanilla extract and rub it on the cold sore.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this process as frequently as possible until the infection subsides.

Why This Works

Vanilla extract contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight the infection and swelling caused by cold sore blisters (9). It is alcohol-based and thus has a cooling effect on the inflammation.

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10. Massage Cornstarch Paste:

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Cornstarch can also work as an excellent remedy for cold sores due to its healing properties.

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

What You Have To Do

  • Mix the cornstarch with water and apply the paste to the sore.
  • Let it dry for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse it off.

How Often You Should Do This

Repeat the procedure once or twice a day to see effective results.

Why This Works

Cornstarch neutralizes the pH level of the cold sore and thus works wonders in treating it since the virus herpes simplex thrives in an acidic environment (10). Cornstarch also soothes the inflammation and pain caused by cold sores.

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11. Shield Your Lips With Sunscreen

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Slathering sunscreen on your face, arms, neck and back isn’t enough. Your lips, too, need SPF protection against the piercing rays of the sun! Sunscreens not only prevent cold sores but also heal them faster.

What You Need

What You Have To Do

  • Make sure that you apply a lip balm with good SPF protection before stepping out in the sun.

How Often You Should Do This

Make this a daily practice, even after your cold sores heal.

Why This Works

A study by the International Journal of Epidemiology found that excessive exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun can hamper immunity and give rise to the outbreak of cold sores (11).

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12. Apply Chamomile Oil

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You may be familiar with the divine smelling and tasting chamomile tea. Chamomile is also effective in fighting the activity of the herpes simplex virus.

What You Need

  • Chamomile oil/tincture
  • Tea (optional)

What You Have To Do

  • You can apply chamomile oil on the cold sore.
  • Alternatively, you could add a few drops of chamomile tincture in your daily cup of tea.

How Often You Should Do This

Follow this practice twice every day until the cold sore heals.

Why This Works

Chamomile contains Bisabolol, the main component of chamomile that contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. A study by the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology found chamomile oil to be an effective treatment for the drug-resistant herpes simplex virus (12).

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13. Slather Aloe Gel:

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Aloe vera is one of the most commonly used remedies in both modern and traditional medicine to treat a multitude of health conditions, including cold sores.

What You Need

  • Aloe vera gel

What You Have To Do

  • Apply aloe vera gel to the affected area of your skin to get relief from the stinging pain caused by cold sores.

How Often You Should Do This

Follow this procedure 3-4 times a day until the cold sore heals.

Why This Works

According to a report by the Academy of General Dentistry, aloe vera works wonders in reducing the pain associated with canker and cold sores, as well as speeds up the process of healing (13).

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14. Drink Licorice Root Tea

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No, we aren’t suggesting you add a licorice candy stick to your tea (that would spell disaster). We’re talking about adding licorice root to your tea.

What You Need

  • 5 gm licorice root
  • Tea

What You Have To Do

  • While preparing tea, add about 1 to 5 gm of dried licorice root in the concoction and consume the tea.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this tea 3-4 times a day until the cold sore heals.

Why This Works

Glycyrrhizin, the key ingredient contained in licorice root, possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties (14). It thus helps fight the herpes simplex.

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15. Take Echinacea Tincture:

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Echinacea, a popular herbal remedy for many health troubles, has excellent immune-boosting benefits.

What You Need

  • Echinacea tincture
  • Water

What You Have To Do

  • Add a few drops of the echinacea tincture to a glass of water and drink it every day.

How Often You Should Do This

Drink this concoction twice every day until the cold sore heals.

Why This Works

A study paper published in Planta Medica reveals that certain extracts contained in echinacea, such as E. pallida var. sanguinea crude, inflorescence extract, cichoric acid and Echinacea purpurea n-hexane root extract, inhibit the activity of the herpes simplex virus (15).

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16. Dab On Witch Hazel Extract:

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A popular natural remedy for many common skin troubles, witch hazel, is also very helpful in treating cold sores.

What You Need

  • Witch hazel extract
  • Cotton ball

What You Have To Do

  • Dip a ball of cotton in witch hazel extract and dab it on the cold sore.

How Often You Should Do This

Follow this procedure 1-2 times a day until the cold sore heals.

Why This Works

As per the University of Michigan Health System, witch hazel displays moderate action against wounds, skin ulcers, canker and cold sores (16). The tannins contained in witch hazel have anti-inflammatory benefits and thus soothe the pain caused by cold sores.

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What Causes Cold Sores?

Fever, excessive exposure to the sun, stress, and hormonal changes can trigger cold sores. This infection commonly lasts up to 10-15 days, and is contagious. It can spread if a person makes close contact with the affected person through kissing or sharing razors, napkins, tissues etc.

Some other factors that can trigger fever blisters include fever, stress, sleep deprivation, dehydration, and local skin trauma. Sometimes cold sores can appear as a shallow ulcer on the inside of the mouth. During the process of healing, the blister bursts and leaves behind a raw skin area, which begins to form scabs. Biting, moving your tongue around the scab, and picking it will only delay the healing process. Trying to camouflage the cold sore by wearing a lipstick will only aggravate the cold sore.

Caution

Though these remedies can help a great deal in preventing and treating cold sores, if you experience this infection, make sure you get your doctor’s approval on the remedial course of action you choose to take.

These were some of the natural cold sore remedies and tips to prevent and manage the infection. Though people often look at this condition as a cause of embarrassment, you must understand that it affects a major chunk of the world’s population at least once during their lifetime. All you need to do is maintain proper hygiene and have a healthy lifestyle. If you experience the symptoms of cold sores, make sure you consult your doctor at the earliest and not merely rely on these remedies.

We hope you found this information helpful. Leave us your feedback in the comments section below.

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