Cold sores are painful blisters that appear on the lips and surrounding facial area (including the nose, ouch!). They can be triggered by dehydration, stress, sunburn, fever, a cold or flu…but the main cause of them is the herpes simplex virus. They are very contagious to both young & old and can easily be passed from one person to another.
Did you know: This virus can cause blindness if it gets in your eyes. Keep fingers away from mouth and don’t touch anywhere around your eyes until you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and water.
So ugly and nasty! As soon as they appear, we’re all scrambling and wanting to get rid of them as fast as possible. Help is here!
I’ve organized a handy list of several different remedies that I’ve tried for healing or preventing cold sores from forming and they have worked for me. I’ve also included a bunch that come highly recommended.
Quick Tip: Something very beneficial is to hold a cool, damp cloth against the outbreak right when it happens. This will help soothe things while also fighting it off.
Suggested List of Remedies
It’s most effective to apply a treatment as soon as you notice the “tingling” that happens right before a blister appears. Some of these may burn a bit or cause a sting, numb the spot with an ice cube first if that bothers you.
Try *one at a time*, do not apply everything at once. Dab with the chosen treatment several times a day. See what works for you and note it well so you’re prepared for a future outbreak. Many of these work at drying things out quickly so that they will crust over and pass as soon as possible.
- Aloe Vera Gel (is there anything this wonder plant can’t tackle?)
- Vitamin E Oil
- Nail Polish Remover
- Toothpaste: Dab some on and leave there as long as possible.
- Tea Tree
- Witch Hazel
- Lemon Balm E.O. (see recipes at the bottom of this page for a lip salve and a healing tea infusion)
- A used tea bag that has been cooled. This will help with pain relief too.
- Baking Soda
- Vanilla Extract: (the real stuff) I believe it’s the alcohol content that is especially beneficial.
- Corn Starch & Water Paste (apply as a plaster and let dry, remove after 10 minutes or so; do this a few times each day).
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Keep treating frequently throughout the day until it disappears completely. I know some people pick and poke and try to get the lesion to pop or drain, but that’s never worked well for me (only a bigger mess, maybe a cluster of eruptions and a possible scar to deal with).
- I find it also helps to keep the lips covered with chapstick or balm, slathering it on constantly as soon as I feel one forming. This will keep lips nourished. (see homemade recipe at bottom of page that is targeted just for cold sores).
- Once you’ve had them a few times, you know the signs when they’re about to appear again. To help stop an eruption, try applying ice over the sensitive area.
- If you’re dealing with one that is especially painful, try something like Orajel toothache analgesic. This will numb the area a bit and make things more tolerable.
- Please remember to use separate hand towels, bath towels, and wash cloths. You’re dealing with the herpes simplex virus and it’s very contagious. Also avoid sharing utensils, dishes, cups and kissing for awhile.
- After things have healed and lesion is gone, throw out your toothbrush…there’s likely a trace of the virus on the bristles and you may re-infect yourself by continuing to use it.
I found a recipe by James Wong in the book “Grow Your Own Drugs”. This is intended to attack the virus itself and nurture the blister into healing.
Lemon Lip Salve
Shelf life: up to one year
50g fresh lemon balm leaves
3 TBS wheatgerm oil
115 ml olive oil
1 TBS honey
1 TBS beeswax
5 drops tea tree
- Wash, strip & chop the herbs finely.
- Place one third of the chopped leaves into a pot, add the wheatgerm and olive oil.
- Stir over a low heat, crushing the pieces while you stir.
- Heat for 10 minutes or so.
- Once it starts bubbling, remove from heat and allow to infuse for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the batch through a muslin lined sieve, squeeze leaves to get all the liquid out then throw out the leaf bits.
- Repeat the above steps twice more (working with 1/3 of the leaf batch each instance), but always use the same oil mixture you just strained.
- Next you place all the strained batch in the pan on a gentle heat and add the honey and beeswax.
- Stir until everything’s nicely melted.
- Remove from heat and add the Tea Tree.
- Pour this salve into small sterilized jars and allow to set (solid). Will take about 10 minutes.
- To use: Generously apply to blister until it is gone. Use a clean finger with every dip into the salve pot.
Another effective home remedy using this herb:
- Toss 4 tsp of freshly chopped lemon balm into 1 cup of boiling water.
- Cover and steep for 15 minutes then allow to cool.
- Once it’s cool, dab this infusion to the sore throughout the a day (a cotton ball, q-tip or cotton pad will do the trick).
- Keep refrigerated.
Do you have any tried and true treatments that I missed? Please share in the discussion area below for others to review :).
Please Note: These are from my collection, none are intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. This information is provided for general knowledge purposes only.