17 Cold Sore Remedies You Didn’t Know You Could Make at Home
Read on to learn how to quickly heal a cold sore and prevent future outbreaks from occurring.
Apply lemon balm essential oil
You already know that lemons can clean almost everything in your house, but recent studies have proven that lemon balm essential oil effectively kills the herpes virus. Since all cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, any treatment that directly targets the virus is automatically one of the most effective cold sore remedies. As you feel the tingle of a cold sore forming, put a drop of two of lemon balm essential oil to the area, then hold an ice cube on top of the area for ten minutes. After icing, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly to protect the sore from bacteria and prevent it from cracking. Repeat the whole process several times a day. Note: Sometimes if you react quickly enough, a cold sore won’t emerge or its severity can be greatly reduced.
Take an aspirin
Besides offering pain relief, research shows that 125 milligrams of aspirin a day can cut the time a herpes infection remains active by 50 percent. Plus, check out these other surprising uses for aspirin you never knew about.
Make a cornstarch paste
Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock
A traditional home remedy calls for making a cornmeal poultice for a cold sore, but an easier adaptation is to make a paste of a little cornstarch and water and dab it on the sore a few times a day. Cornstarch neutralizes the pH of the sore (cold sores thrive in acidic environments), which will soothe pain and inflammation. Once your sore is healed, you can use that cornstarch as a quick DIY carpet stain remover.
Try a teabag poultice
At the first twinge of a cold sore, apply a damp, cooled tea bag to the area where you expect the outbreak to occur and keep it on for 10 minutes. Repeat three or four times a day to reduce the duration and severity of an outbreak. It’s been said that Earl Grey tea bags seem to be the most effective; here are the health benefits you can get of other popular teas.
Treat with hydrogen peroxide
An open blister on your face is vulnerable to infection, especially if you touch it often. Frequently disinfect the sore with hydrogen peroxide to prevent bacterial infection. The cleaner the sore is, the more likely it will heal quickly without spreading or worsening.
Make a licorice paste
Licorice contains anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and an acid found in licorice root has been shown in studies to stop the cold sore virus cells from spreading and counteract symptoms. Although drinking licorice tea may help, this is more effective as a canker sore remedy. Applying licorice powder topically works best for cold sores. Mix 1 tablespoon of licorice root powder with 1 teaspoon of petroleum jelly, and leave the cream on the sore for several hours or overnight. Find out some more canker sore remedies you can find at home.
Dab on some aloe
Swab the cold sore with pure aloe vera gel three to four times a day until the sore goes away. Aloe will soothe your sensitive, blistered skin and help protect it from bacteria, which is why it’s also a proven remedy for eczema and psoriasis relief.
Apply tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antibiotic, and can help heal your cold sore. (Witch hazel can similarly help.) Apply tea tree essential oil directly on the cold sore three or four times a day. Check out these other ways tea tree oil can improve your skin.
Dab on vanilla extract
Vanilla extract can do more than make your home smell fresh. Some people believe the alcohol in pure vanilla extract makes it difficult for a cold sore virus to thrive, which would lessening the severity of an outbreak. As soon as you feel a cold sore forming, you can try dabbing on pure vanilla extract.
Try red wine
If you have an opened bottle of red wine handy, try one of the more folky cold sore remedies: Put a little bit in a saucer and let it sit until the liquid evaporates. Slather the sore with the solidified dregs and it should ease the pain on contact. The theory is that resveratrol, red wine’s potent antioxidant, can relieve the inflammation. This anti-inflammatory property is just another reason why you should drink a glass of red wine every night.