Last week my mum called to inform me that my dad had cold sore. She requested I suggest a few home remedies for him. I asked her if my dad instructed her to get the remedies from me, because my dad I knew, never believed in home remedies. He prefers the over the counter medications. I wonder what made him change his mind this time. I asked my mum, she told me that the old man have seem my remedies work on several occasions so he decided to give it a try. He sent my mum, because he didn’t want to look defeated. Well that’s by the way. Cold sore are known as fever blisters, which appears on the lips and around the mouth. If you have ever had one, you sure do know how they look. They appear to be tiny and fluid filled. These blisters are often group together in patches and when they eventually breaks a crust forms over the sore. The good news is that they heal within two weeks without leaving any scar. Cold sores are contagious even if you don’t see the sores and can spread from one person to another either by close contact or kissing. Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) are the major cause of cold sore. This virus is similar to the virus that causes genital herpes (HSV-2). These two virus are capable of affecting both the mouth or genitals organs and can be easily spread by oral sex. There is virtually no cure for HSV infection and blisters may return. By so saying my home remedies are not a permanent fix, but it will sure do help speed up the healing process, so you can get relief from the pain and other discomforts they may cause. Normally the first symptoms includes pain around your mouth and lips, a sore throat, swollen glands in your neck and other parts of your body.
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Home Remedies for Cold Sores
Cornstarch for Cold Sores
Boy, cornstarch is dam smooth and silky. If you have every used one before you will definitely know what I mean. When used on cold sore has a soothing effect which gives instant relief from irritation and the burning sensation accompanied with cold sore. It will also amaze you to know that cold sore helps neutralize the pH of the sore. The virus thrives on acid environment. Since cornstarch balances makes the pH level alkaline, it’s virtually impossible for the virus to thrive, so it dies off. There is no rocket science in using cornstarch, all that is required is that you make a paste and apply to the affected area.
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon of fresh water
Direction: Make a paste of cornstarch by mixing one teaspoon of water with one tablespoon of cornstarch. Feel free to add more water if you don’t have the paste-like consistency yet. Wash your fingers thoroughly and gently rub the paste on the affected area before going to bed. Upon waking up in the morning rinse of. Do this every night and cold sore will be gone in no time. You can get a good quality cornstarch from amazon. Here is the link to Argo 100% Pure Corn Starch, 16 Oz
Licorice for Cold Sore
Licorice is another effective remedy for cold sore. Licorice is an excellent source of Glycyrhizic acid – which has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties and has shown to help kill the virus cells. Licorice can be used tropically or internally. The best way to use it is either by infusion or tea. Dear one, please note that Glycyrrhizin shouldn’t be taken in large doses for a longer time, because it can affect adrenal function and might lead to leg swelling. Here is where you can get organic licorice powder
You will need:
- 1 tablespoon licorice root powder or extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh water OR approximately 2 teaspoons petroleum jelly
Direction: Make a consistent paste by mixing ½ teaspoon of licorice root powder with ½ teaspoon of fresh water – apply common sense here to get the consistency you want.
Alternatively mix the licorice powder with petroleum jelly and gently apply it over the sore. Leave it for about an hour or overnight if possible.
You will need:
- 1 cup of water
- Dried licorice root
Direction: Pour water into a bowl and bring it to boil. Then add the dried licorice to the hot water. Put off the flame and let it steep for about 10 minutes. It’s now time to strain and get rid of the licorice root. I suggest you take this tea 1-2 times a day
Witch Hazel for Cold Sores
Witch hazel, one of my grandmother’s favorite plant. Witch Hazel is well known for its medicinal use. Liquid distilled from dried witch hazel leaves are usually marketed as Distilled witch hazel extract and Hamamelis water. Witch hazel can be taken orally for diarrhea, mucus colitis, vomiting blood, coughing up blood, tuberculosis, cold fever, tumor and cancer. It works similar to tea tree oil, which naturally dries out the skin and aids in healing. Please note that witch hazel have the tendency to irritate your skin, so before trying it on your face, apply a small amount on your elbow. If no irritation occurs, feel free to apply it on the cold sore. This is simply called a patch test. Here is a link to my personal favorite T.N. Dickinson’s Astringent, 100% Natural
- Witch Hazel
- Cotton ball or swab
- Soak the cotton ball into witch hazel extract. Apply it to your cold sore. Repeat this twice daily
Vanilla Extract for Cold Sores
Vanilla extract is a solution containing the flavor compound vanillin as the primary ingredient. Pure vanilla extract is made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in a solution of ethyl alcohol and water. Vanilla extract is anti-inflammatory and has disinfectant properties, which helps reduce the swelling caused by the cold sore, while the disinfectant properties makes it difficult for the virus to thrive. Personally I use the McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract-16 OZ
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Cotton swab
Direction: Simply pour few drops of vanilla extract into the cotton swab. Place it on the cold sore and keep it in place. You can use an adhesive tape to secure it if you want. Leave it for about 2 minute, before removing it. Repeat this three times a day till cold sore disappears.
Plain Whole Milk for Cold Sores
Whole milk is another effective remedy to tryout. Many swore that milk helps speed up healing and ease pain. Milk owes its healing properties to a protein called immunoglobulins, which are anti-bodies that fight to ward off herpes viruses. It is also an excellent source of L-lysine which restrain the amino acid called arginine – arginine is responsible for the outbreak of sores. The best way to get a healthy dose of L-lysine is to drink consume milk
- ½ cup Milk
- Cotton swab
Do this: Start by soaking cotton ball into your milk. Then, place the cotton ball on the cold sores. Keep it in place for about 2 minutes. Repeat this 3 times a day for best results.
Coconut Oil for Cold Sores
Coconut oil, my favorite remedy for virtually everything. It’s an excellent source of Medium Chain Triglycerides and widely used to fight bacteria and viruses. MCT easily penetrates the outer covering of these virus and kills it. When the oil is applied during the early stage of blisters it starts to shrink the sore before it breaks open and forms a crust
- Coconut oil
- Cotton swab
Direction: Apply a dollop of coconut oil on the cotton swab. Place the cotton swab on the cold sore and hold in place for about 5 minutes. Do this 3 – 4 times daily for maximum result. My personal favorite is the Nature’s Way Coconut Oil
Neem for Cold Sores
Neem is a wonder tree. The bark and leaves are great forces to reckon with in natural health. The leaves is used for eye disorder, bloody nose, leprosy, intestinal worms, stomach upset, appetite loss, skin ulcer, heart diseases, fever, diabetes and liver problems. Most herbalist use it for birth control and abortions. In Africa it is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcer. I can go on and on about the uses of neem and not stop. Lots of products with neem juice, gel, powder or extract can be found in the market. The University of Michigan Health System recommends 5 percent neem oil cream applied to cold sores twice a day.
Ways to use Neem for cold sore
- You can mix dried neem powder with water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the cold sore. Do this 2 – 3 times daily. You can also use neem oil for this purpose
- Pure neem oil can also be mixed with petroleum jelly in a 1 to 5 ratio and applied to sore
- You can make your own neem mouthwash by steeping two to three whole neem leaves in 1 cup of water. You can also add 1 tsp of honey as required and then rinse your mouth with this.
Peppermint Oil for Cold Sores
Peppermint exhibits strong antiviral properties and it’s capable of penetrating the skin effectively. Once the cold sore scabs over, use peppermint oil to alleviate the pain and reduce the reactivity
- Peppermint oil
- Cotton swab
Direction: pour a few drops of peppermint oil onto a wet cotton swab. Gently apply the oil on your sore twice daily. You can as well not wet the cotton swab.
Honey for Cold Sores
Honey contains a healthy amount of natural sugar, which are known as fructose and glucose. This makes it impossible for bacteria and fungus to thrive. Honey is also a rich source of flavonoids and phenolic acid. These compounds fight the herpes simplex virus in test tubes. When honey is applied to the sore, the enzymes present releases low levels of hydrogen peroxide which kills the virus and draws away fluid form the wound. I suggest you use raw unprocessed honey, if you want to get the most of its healing properties. Raw honey has the highest number of antiviral compound
- Unprocessed raw honey
- Cotton Swab
Direction: Simply pour a few drops of honey on cotton ball and apply this to your cold sore. Repeat this 3-5 times daily.
Echinacea for Cold Sore
Most of my herbalist friends recommends Echinacea for cold sore. It strengthens the immune system to fight against cold sore and treat skin conditions. If you are liable to suffer from cold sore, I suggest you make it a regular practice to drink Echinacea tea, so you don’t awake the dormant virus. Echinacea is also anti–inflammatory and possess antiviral, and antioxidant effects. You can take 300 mg of Echinacea supplement up to four times a day. People suffering from diabetes, tuberculosis, connective tissue disorders, multiple sclerosis, liver disorder, HIV or Aids should abstain from taking Echinacea.
- Dried echinacea herb- ½ tsp or echinacea tea bag- 1
- Hot water- 1 cup
Direction: Pour the herb or put the tea bag into a cup. Pour your hot water over it. Let it steep for about 5 minutes. Strain and drink the resulting solution 1 – 2 times daily. Echinacea can also be mixed with goldenseal – this intensifies the effect of Echinacea.
Ice Compress for Cold Sores
If your cold sore comes with severe pain, there is one thing you can do to save the situation. Use Ice or a cold compress to numb the pain.
- 2-3 Ice cubes
- Wash cloth
- Petroleum Jelly
Direction: Wrap the ice cube in a towel or wash cloth. Press the icy surface to the cold sore until the cold has numbs the pain, remove it shortly after. Do not leave on for extended periods of time. Repeat this procedure once every one to three hours. Then follow it up by adding petroleum jelly over your cold sores
Avoid having Arginine Rich Foods
Arginine amino acid causes the outbreak of cold sores, by so saying – food reach in arginine should be avoided, more especially if you notice you are prone to cold sores or when suffering from cold sores. You should also make efforts to increase your intake of L-lysine rich whole milk, which helps in neutralizing the effect of arginine.
Arginine rich foods to be avoided are:
- Seed like pumpkin seed and sesame
- Cereals like oatmeal
Green Tea for Cold Sores
Green Tea have also proven to be highly effective in healing cold sores. Green tea is an excellent source of Epigallocatechin Gallate which have antiviral properties. Research has also shown that EGCG reduces the rapid increase of herpes type 1 cell by 92%.
- 1 tsp Green tea or 1 Green tea bag
- 1 cup Hot water
Direction: Start by putting green tea into a cup and pour hot over it. Let it steep for about 8 minutes. Then strain or remove the tea bag. Take this 2-3 times daily
- 1 Green tea
- Cotton swab
Direction: Leave the green tea to cool down for a while. Then, using a cotton swab soak it into the tea. Hold it in on the sore for about 5 minutes. Repeat this at least 3-4 times daily. If you prepare to use tea bag – start by dipping it into cold water, then take out the tea and gently squeeze out the excess water. Place the tea bag on the cold sore and hold it in place for about 5 minutes. Repeat this 3-4 times daily.