Don't fret, healing cold sores naturally is possible!
Cold sores are painful, annoying, and contagious, but these 12 natural remedies are trusted to heal them faster and reduce discomfort.
Plus, these natural medicines empower your immune system to fight off future outbreaks!
Healing Cold Sores Naturally:
What are cold sores?
Cold sores are blisters caused by a virus called herpes simplex 1, different than herpes simplex 2 which is sexually transmitted.
Cold sores are highly contagious. You shouldn't touch cold sores more than necessary. This could cause them to spread and generally irritates them and makes them worse. The only time you should be touching cold sores is when you're applying a medicine. Be sure to wash your hands before and after.
Although you will always have the virus in your body once you become infected with it, outbreaks can be prevented with maintaining a healthy immune system.
There are also individually specific triggers that can be noted and avoided. It is possible to have the virus and never have outbreaks or only have very few in a lifetime.
Personally I have had cold sores from a very young age (my whole family gets them) and I used to get them very frequently.
Since getting my hormones and health under control and figuring out what triggers an outbreak, I only get cold sores about 1-3 times a year.
When I do get them, I use the natural remedies below to keep the cold sores small and shorten their duration and discomfort.
Natural Remedies vs. Prescription Drugs
Overall I seek holistic remedies that focus on prevention over treatment.
Disease and illness can be reframed into spotlights on what needs attention and healing in the body.
When I was in high school and getting cold sores all the time I was prescribed Acyclovir by my doctor. At the time I considered this a miracle drug because it would immediately shrink the cold sore and cut the duration in half.
However, after about a year of taking this medication any time a cold sore popped up, I decided to quit taking it.
I believe the strength and intensity of this drug caused my immune system to lose its natural ability to fight infections and cold sores in particular, causing me to get cold sores more often.
Once I detoxed from Acyclovir and built up my immune system, I started to only get cold sores 1-3 times a year. I manage them with natural remedies that simultaneously weaken the cold sore while strengthening my immune system.
Natural Remedies For Cold Sores:
There's no guarantee this will stop it, but there's a chance the ice can prevent a cold sore from forming if you catch it early enough. And it's worth a shot, right?
Since cold sores are also caused by stress, this would be a good time to do some breathing exercises and affirmations to calm your nervous system. Less stress = less cold sores.
Here are some affirmation ideas:
- I am healthy
- My immune system is strong
- I get healthier every day
- I am good at managing stress
- I appreciate my body
- I trust my body
2. Rubbing Alcohol
After using ice, hold a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol to the area for 5-10 minutes.
To be clear: only do this when the cold sore is first popping up.
If you have a fully formed cold sore, do not put rubbing alcohol on it. It can dry it out too much and will be painful.
3. Earthly Cold Sore Serum
If I were to choose ONE medicine from this list, this would be the one.
Earthly is one of my favorite companies. They make all natural organic vitamins and medicines that work like magic.
This serum in particular is a wonder drug. It prevents cold sores from getting as big as they usually do and cuts healing time nearly in half.
The antiviral herbs in this product are: cucumber seed oil, turmeric root, lemon balm, elder flowers, and echinacea.
The instructions say to apply a drop on the spot 2-3 times a day or as needed. I usually apply it more like 10-15 times in a day, depending on how busy I am that day.
If I'm just at home and focusing on healing, I will apply it 1-2 times every hour and it seriously makes the cold sores disappear overnight.
I want to shout about this serum from the rooftops! If you get cold sores you know how terrible and painful they can be.
I wish I had known about this Earthly Cold Sore Serum 10 years ago.
4. Super Lysine Cold Sore Treatment
This adds an extra boost when used with the Earthly serum. Lysine is one of the top vitamins you should be focused on for fighting cold sores. I like to apply this lysine cream topically and take an extra high dose of lysine in pill form when I am having a cold sore outbreak.
Lysine (aka L-lysine) is an amino acid that's excellent for strengthening your immune system. It's known for reducing stress, fighting cold sores and genital herpes, and improving acne.
I take Lysine every day and I take an extra high dose when I'm fighting sickness, stress, acne breakouts, and cold sore outbreaks.
Lysine is known to help with shingles, herpes, and other viruses. If you don't already have this in your medicine cabinet, I would highly encourage you to keep some on hand, especially during cold and flu season.
6. Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano is a powerful natural antioxidant (one study found that it contains the highest amount of antioxidants compared to 39 common herbs). It is a natural antiviral, antibiotic and antifungal medicine.
Oil of oregano, like L-Lysine, is something I have on hand that I take when I feel my body needs extra strength and support.
You can find it in a capsule or tincture.
Be sure that you aren't ingesting an oil of oregano essential oil. These are not meant to be ingested, and should only be used topically when heavily diluted in a carrier oil.
Oil of oregano can work great when topically applied to cold sores; just be sure that it is diluted in a tincture or in oil before applying. Straight oil of oregano can be really intense and could cause burning and pain on your cold sore.
Garlic is an old home remedy for cold sores for its antiviral properties.
You can add a crushed clove to a carrier oil and apply directly to the cold sore, or consume garlic in several ways.
My sister Kali makes a garlic infused fermented honey that she eats when she gets sick and gets a cold sore outbreak. This is an easier (and tastier) way to ingest a whole raw clove of garlic than eating it plain, and the honey is an antioxidant as well.
It's pretty simple: peel and crush some garlic, put it in a jar with enough honey to cover all the garlic, seal the jar, and let it sit at room temperature for 3 days. It will start to bubble, meaning the fermentation process is beginning. After 3 days, stir every other day. It will be ready to eat in about a week.
Adding garlic to your dishes will also help boost your immune system; and it's tasty too!
You can apply zinc oxide cream directly to the cold sore, take a zinc supplement, or eat foods high in zinc.
One food that is particularly high in zinc is oysters. Oysters contain 10 times the amount of zinc as the next highest natural source, red meat.
If you don't like the taste or don't have access to oysters, consider taking a zinc supplement.
Zinc, like a lot of other vitamins on this list, is a great vitamin to take every day and to boost during times of stress, travel, and sickness.
9. Vitamin D
I don't recommend going out and getting a terrible sunburn every day, but I do think your immune system will benefit from a healthy amount of vitamin D.
If you have a cold sore outbreak and it's warm enough, make time to sit outside for 10-40 minutes in the sun. Use this time to meditate, do yoga, or anything that helps you de-stress.
I recommend choosing sunlight over a Vitamin D supplement, as it is a more natural way to get this vitamin. It can be difficult and confusing to find the right Vitamin D supplement that is actually absorbable.
10. Vitamin C
You can consume vitamin C in citrus fruits, eat these vitamin C chewables, or apply vitamin C topically to a cold sore.
When choosing a vitamin C supplement, it is essential to find one with bioflavonoids, as they have a complimentary effect and are more easily absorbed together.
11. Lemon Balm
One of the ingredients in the Earthly cold sore serum above, Lemon Balm is known to decrease the prevalence and duration of cold sores.
Lemon balm is an herb in the mint family and is known to have a calming effect.
Lemon balm is antibacterial and antiviral. It is great for de-stressing, aiding digestion, and improving sleep.
12. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and fat soluble vitamin.
You can apply the contents of a gelatin Vitamin E capsule directly to a cold sore.
This helps with pain relief and shortens healing time for cold sores.
Tips for When The Cold Sore is No Longer Contagious
- change your toothbrush
- wash sheets, pillowcases, blankets, bath towels
- change chapstick and anything else that may have been contaminated
Cold sores can be awful, but fortunately there are many remedies that are cheap, effective, and natural.
Healing cold sores naturally gives your immune system the support it needs and will lower your chances of getting more cold sores in the future.
Tell your friends and family who may struggle with this pesky ailment about these tips for cold sore relief.
This post is all about healing cold sores naturally.