The itchy, throbbing itches on the face are annoying and painful, not to mention ugly. Conventional treatments work to suppress the virus, but there are also side effects of these medications that can include headaches, hives, rashes, swollen lips and allergic reactions to other things. Research shows that natural cold sore treatments are just as effective as conventional treatments, but without the side effects. Sounds like an easy choice!
If the immune system is working well, the chances of an outbreak are very low and in between. In this case, a comfortable lip balm may be enough to deal with the occasional cold sore. But if cold sores are more painful or a recurring problem, these natural remedies can help reduce symptoms, shorten the duration of the epidemic, and even completely suppress the spread.
What are the common cold (fever blisters)?
Cold sores are painful, with fluid-filled blisters in or near the mouth. These lesions are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The World Health Organization estimates that two out of three adults under the age of 50 have the virus, so the virus is surprisingly common.
There are two forms of the virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is responsible for most cases of oral herpes outbreaks (cold sores), while HSV-2 is generally responsible for genital herpes.
Natural remedies for the common cold
It is usually very difficult to get the virus out of the body, and there is no cure for the herpes virus yet. There are many natural remedies for the common cold, although they work to suppress the epidemic and reduce symptoms.
The herpes virus stays inactive in the body until something has spread (for example, cold, sunlight or stress). Therefore, the goal is to create an environment where the epidemic does not spread.
The best way to deal with a virus naturally is to boost the immune system and use natural antivirals to keep the virus inactive (of course, consult your healthcare professional before trying these measures).
Here are some proven treatments for the common cold:
Take care of yourself
If stress and poor self-care spread the itch from the cold, then relaxation and recovery means natural remedies. More sleep, a healthier diet, and a reduction in stress can have amazing effects on the body and improve the immune system.
Gut health is also important because unbalanced gut microbiome can suppress the immune system. Here are some tips to improve bowel health:
- Choose grass-fed liver and other meats, vegetables, and healthy fats (such as coconut oil) over high carb or white foods (white sugar, white flour, etc.).
- Include gelatin and bone broth in your diet.
- Get plenty of sleep and moderate exercise to help boost your body’s immune system.
Use essential oils.
Essential oils, when used safely, can be a powerful natural remedy.
- A 1999 study published in Phytomedicine Lemon balm, tea tree, and peppermint essential oil have been shown to be able to disarm the herpes virus, and in some cases, kill it completely.
- Tea tree oil has special anti-herpetic, anti-inflammatory and anti-pain properties, and also speeds up healing.
- Lemon balm has also been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and lengthen the time between spreads.
To use essential oils, dilute them with a carrier oil first (starting with 2 to 5 drops of 1 oz 1 carrier oil may be a good ratio). Apply the mixed oil on the dirt a few times a day.
Nutrition (or absorption) Immune-boosting nutrients
Since a healthy immune system is the best way to fight any kind of infection, it is always helpful to start a healthy diet rich in immune nutrients beforehand. In particular, zinc, L-lysine and vitamin C are excellent for boosting the immune system and even have antiviral properties.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that can support the immune system and also play an important role in wound healing. Zinc has been shown to be effective against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in some test tube studies. Other (human) studies show that using it primarily on the affected area reduces the symptoms and length of the outbreak.
L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that the body cannot produce, so it needs to be found in food (or supplements). Some studies suggest that oral L-lysine may help reduce the number of recurrent outbreaks. It can also help shorten the length of an epidemic.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that helps strengthen the immune system and heal wounds. One researcher, Frederick R. Klemner, MD, found that high doses of vitamin C eliminated the herpes virus in his patients.
You can buy these nutrients as supplements but it is always better to get them from the original diet. Chemo Chemo is an amazing source of vitamin C (much better than oranges!) Shellfish, meat and poultry are high in zinc, as well as beans, cashews and yogurt. L-Lysine is found in meat, fish, eggs, spirulina, and fenugreek.
Use black tea
Black tea is an easy and inexpensive remedy that most people have at home. Studies show that the bags of black tea that are used can prevent the herpes virus. Tannins in black tea prevent the formation of lesions in the herpes virus in herpes.
Although more than just antidepressants contain tannic acid (tannins), black tea bags should also work. Keep a warm black tea bag (preferably organic) on the area for at least a few minutes a day. Early treatment is more likely to prevent or reduce the epidemic.
Honey and turmeric
Both raw honey and turmeric are natural remedies for cold sores. Honey is antiviral (as well as antibacterial and antifungal) and has been used as a natural medicine for centuries. One study has shown that honey and royal jelly (a substance similar to honey) specific to a hive queen have been shown to prevent the HSV-1 virus and reduce the patient’s viral load.
Researchers have discovered a river compound called curcumin, an effective antiviral against the herpes virus. Turmeric is also an antiseptic and can help wounds dry faster.
A combination of these two strong remedies has been used for centuries as an old Ayurvedic treatment for cold sores. Mix one teaspoon of turmeric (preferably organic) with one teaspoon of honey (will provide only raw antiviral and healing effects) and apply on the wound.
Some believe that manuka honey works best because honey made from the flowers of the manuka tree (manuka honey) contains the enzyme methylgluxal (MGO), which helps heal wounds. However, other raw honey has also been shown to work, so if you don’t have manuka honey, anyone will make raw honey.
Bees do a lot of amazing things for us (hello honey and pollen)! But they also develop another product that can be helpful for cold sores: bee propolis.
Bee propolis is a gum produced by bees (saliva, wax samples, and the natural ingredients they collect). It is packed with antioxidants that help boost the immune system. Test tube studies show that propolis can prevent the herpes virus from recurring. A bee propolis ointment can help reduce the pain and duration of cold sores, according to a study.
Buy raw bee propolis or bee propolis tincture. Raw propolis is very sticky, but it can be good because it will stick easily to the lips. Propolis tincture (or extract) can also be applied directly to the wound a few times a day as needed.
Natural Remedies for Cold Sores: Which to Try?
We are all different and our defense systems and bodies work differently. One treatment may work best for one person while another may work better for another. Try the methods that you find more interesting or you already have the ingredients and go from there. You know that the best treatment for it was already in your cabinet!
Have you ever had a cold sore? What happened to you
The article was reviewed by Dr. Lorraine Jeffers, a board-certified doctor in internal medicine and pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk to your doctor or work with a doctor at Study MD.
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- Herpes simplex virus. (n.d.)
- Herpes and Vitamin C (n.d.)
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Zinc. (n.d.)