Contrary to popular belief, cold sores have nothing to do with the flu. They are an unpleasant skin condition consisting of boils caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This condition does not have a cure, but its symptoms can be alleviated.
Natural Cold Sore Remedies
In this article, we will discuss ten of the best natural remedies for cold sores that you can quickly find in stores or in your pantry at home. If you are looking for an ultra-quick solution, an over-the-counter alternative like Neosporin can be the right thing for you. Read this related article on Neosporin on cold sore to find out more about it, along with other ways of treating the herpes simplex virus at home.
1. Lemon Balm
A member of the mint family, lemon balm is one of the most popular natural remedies for the herpes simplex virus. A 2008 study showed that it is an effective remedy that combats the unpleasant symptoms of cold sores, such as redness and swelling. To achieve the soothing effect, use a lip balm that contains at least 1% lemon balm.
2. Aloe Vera
The gel of the aloe vera plant is notorious for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a worthwhile healing aide in the case of painful cold sores, as it alleviates the discomfort produced by blisters and speeds up the scabbing process. You can either buy this extract over the counter or grow your own shrub and make the gel yourself.
Licorice is nature’s best remedy against the herpes simplex virus behind cold sores due to the glycyrrhizic acid in it. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of this compound have been demonstrated to inactivate the virus at the level of the skin. Just mix the powdered root with water or petroleum jelly and apply to the affected areas.
The amino acid lysine in milk aids cell repair while boosting the immune system, which is essential in the treatment of cold sores. These usually come around when the body’s protective barriers are down, so keeping them strong is essential. Milk is a great source of lysine, so why not add it to your diet and reduce the risk of a herpes flare-up?
Rhubarb isn’t just a delicious ingredient in the strawberry pie, it is also an excellent natural remedy against the HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses. When mixed with sage, it produces an organic ointment that disinfects the eruption and speeds up the healing process. The two ingredients can usually be found at any local farmers’ market.
Peppermint essential oil has antiviral properties that hinder the growth of both strains of herpes simplex. By applying it on the breakout, you will reduce inflammation and pain and accelerate healing. Keep in mind that essential oils are volatile and can be irritating on their own, so always mix them with a nourishing base.
When it comes to treating cold sores, vanilla extract has similar properties to those of peppermint oil. Take a cotton bud and soak it in the solution, then apply it to the blister as soon as you sense it is forming. This will nip the infection right in the bud and alleviate some of the pain in the process.
As previously mentioned, most herpes flare-ups occur when the immune system is weak. As you may already know, prevention is the best medicine, so avoid any potential cold sores by boosting your body’s natural defense. Echinacea tea is a great natural remedy for cold sores as it is incredibly calming and widely available on the market.
Since we are still on the topic of immune system boosting, it is important to mention probiotics. Probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, miso soup, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh, and kombucha support the health of your gut, which in turn strengthens your body’s protective barriers. This will prevent the HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses from thriving.
10. Cold Compress
What better way to calm pain and reduce inflammation in the area of a cold sore than by applying a comforting cold compress? The cold will reduce the swelling and the redness while numbing the skin. This helps with the aching, which tends to become fairly disagreeable after a few days. Change the ice pack regularly to prevent the infection from spreading.
The Bottom Line
Cold sores are the physical manifestations of the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which is a condition that more than half of the world’s population struggles with. While cold sores cannot be treated completely, there are ways to alleviate symptoms and increase the quality of life while fighting a breakout. The aforementioned natural remedies are tried and tested, so why not give them a try?
About The Author:
Mike Jones is a Boston-based health and beauty writer for Sound Body Life, who encourages everyone to embrace the healing power of nature for common and not life-threatening diseases. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_jones35.