Cold sores are painful infections that develop as a result of the herpes simplex virus. They can appear anywhere on the body but most commonly they appear on the outside of the lips, mouth, nose, cheeks, and fingers. Besides the conventional cold sores treatments, there are also some cold sore natural remedies.
These cold sore natural remedies can heal them faster, reduce the pain, and may decrease number of cold sores recurrences you experience.
Cold sores look like a blister, and they usually last for 7-10 days and during this time they are contagious.
Once a person is exposed to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), it takes about a week for cold sores to appear. It can be triggered as a result of poor nutrition, after a period of stress or illness, during the upper respiratory infection, menstruation, or even it can be activated by sunlight exposure. The virus can be reactivated later in life, causing more cold sore outbreaks in the same area of the face or mouth. (1)(2)
A cold sore infection is generally not serious, but it can be a problem for people with weakened immunity due to medications or disorders.
Sunscreen may also prevent cold sores that are triggered by sunlight exposure.
If you already have a cold sore, to prevent the spread of infection do not kiss anyone, keep the area clean and leave it alone. Do not pick at the crust or touch the sore. Also don’t share towels, glasses or utensils that make contact with your mouth.
Cold Sore Natural Remedies
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C boosts your white blood cell count and therefore it helps defend your body against invaders. You can take a vitamin C capsule but even better you can eat foods rich in Vitamin C. The best are kiwi, grapefruit, oranges, green peppers, red peppers, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E helps to relieve discomfort and pain from cold sores and soothes the skin. It has antioxidant properties, reduces inflammation and repairs damaged skin. (3)
Spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocados, sweet potatoes, and olive oil are foods rich in Vitamin E.
3. Eat Immune-Boosting Foods
Cold sores can be a serious issue for people with depressed immunity, so eating immune-boosting foods can be very helpful.
Probiotic foods like apple cider vinegar, yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut boost the immune system naturally. (4) Vegetables are also great sources of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that can help you to fight off infections.
4. Take Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral that boosts immunity, maintains health, and reduces inflammation.
Take zinc oxide/glycine cream or supplements that contain zinc in the form of zinc acetate, zinc sulfate and zinc gluconate. You can also increase the intake of certain foods that are rich in zinc such as pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, cashews, chickpeas, yogurt, eggs, turkey, chicken, mushrooms, and salmon.
Here you can read more about Zinc Benefits, Including Immunity, Fertility & Fighting Cancer
5. Use Sunscreen
Use sunscreen and avoid heavy sun exposure to reduce the recurrence of cold sores because direct sunlight can trigger an attack. Allways try to choose natural and organic sunscreens to avoid the toxic ingredients from the common brands.
6. Take L-lysine
This amino acid works as a natural herpes treatment if it is applied directly to the skin or taken by mouth. It prevents the herpes virus from growing. Foods that contain L-lysine are vegetables, legumes, chicken, turkey, and fish or you can take 1,000 milligrams of L-lysine three times a day.
7. Drink Echinacea Tea
Echinacea is a powerful immune system stimulator and is especially beneficial for people with a weakened immune system. Usually, people use it to get rid of a cold, but it can also fight a virus – like HSV-1. So echinacea tea is an easy way to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and relieve pain.
8. Apply Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera contains antioxidant vitamins, minerals, enzymes, hormones and fatty acids that help prevent and heal the infection. Aloe vera gel successfully treats skin conditions like cold sores and speeds up the healing process.
9. Peppermint Essential Oil
At the first signs and symptoms of HSV use the peppermint oil. It has powerful antiviral properties make it perfect for healing cold sores.
10. Vanilla Extract or Oil
Apply vanilla extract or oil as soon as you feel a tingling sensation. The anti-inflammatory activity helps reduce pain and heal the cold sore. It also helps speed up the healing process and fights the infection.
Soak a cotton ball with vanilla oil or extract and hold it for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this four times a day until the cold sore heals.
11. Ice It
Apply cold compress or ice to the cold sore to slow down blood flow to the sore and reduce inflammation. This helps relieve pain and swelling.
12. Keep Your Hands Off
Keep your hands off because cold sore is highly contagious until it crusts over and heals. This way you’ll avoid spreading the infection.
13. Get a New Toothbrush
It is best to get rid of your toothbrush and get a new one because it may carry the HSV-1.
Propolis is a natural resin. Historically, it was used to treat abscesses and wounds. But it is also one of the very effective cold sore natural remedies. It stops the HSV-1 from reproducing, reduces the pain and quickly heals the cold sores.
Here you can read more about What are the Incredible Health Benefits of Bee Propolis?
15. Lemon Balm
Very helpful for treating cold sores are topical ointments that contain lemon balm. It reduces the swelling and redness.