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How To Treat Cold Sores Naturally? (5 Useful Home Remedies)

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Dr. Andreas

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Written by

Q.F. Nayibe Cubillos Morales


Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Gustavo Assatourians D.D.S

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How To Treat Cold Sores Naturally? 

Did you know that a cold sore infection is a very common condition? The WHO estimates that about 67% of the population under 50 years of age has been infected with the herpes simplex virus type 1. Cold sores are a common condition that can cause discomfort and embarrassment.

It is characterized by the appearance of small painful blisters on the lips or around the mouth. Although there is no cure, numerous natural treatments can relieve symptoms and speed recovery. In this article, we will explore various ways to treat cold sores naturally, from home remedies to healthy lifestyle tips.

how to treat cold sores naturally

Herpes Simplex Treatment

The treatment of herpes simplex does not seek to eradicate the virus; once it has established itself in the body, the infection is irreversible. Therefore, the available therapies seek to attenuate the symptoms, reduce their recurrence, and reduce the spread of the virus. Without treatment, a herpes outbreak will resolve on its own after about 3 weeks.

In the medical and dental field, antiviral medications such as acyclovir, famciclovir, penciclovir, and valacyclovir can be used. Some can be used topically, while others can be administered orally. These are much more effective when used in the first 72 hours of the onset of symptoms. are prescribed by a professional: a doctor or dentist.

Canker sores have also similarities with cold sores. They are painful white or yellow sores that only form inside the mouth, usually on the insides of the cheeks or lips or on the tongue. It might be triggered by time. We have a comprehensive guide on this matter, just click here.

Effective Home Remedies on How to Treat Cold Sores Naturally

1. Ice application: One of the simplest and most effective methods to relieve cold sores is to apply ice to the affected area. The cold reduces inflammation and numbs the area, which then provides instant relief from pain and itching.

2. Tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Applying a small amount diluted in water to a cold sore can help fight the virus and speed healing.

3. Lemon balm application:
Lemon balm is known for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Placing a small amount on a cold sore can help fight the virus and relieve discomfort. Its fresh scent can also provide a calming effect.

4. Aloe vera gel:
 A famous for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Rubbing aloe vera gel on cold sores can reduce irritation and promote healing.

5. Honey:
Honey is a powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. Raw honey on a cold sore lesion can help reduce the duration of the rash and relieve discomfort.

honey and aloe vera


Changes in Lifestyle

Cold sores can be triggered by some lifestyle factors. Therefore, making some changes in personal habits can help prevent the appearance of this annoying condition or reduce its frequency:

1. Avoid stress: Stress is a common cold sore trigger. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can help reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

2. Maintain a balanced diet: A diet rich in vitamins and minerals strengthens the immune system, which helps prevent frequent outbreaks. Be sure to include foods like fruits, vegetables, and fish in your diet.

3. Solar protection: Excessive sun exposure can trigger cold sore outbreaks. Use lip sunscreen to prevent skin damage and reduce the risk of breakouts.

Alternative Treatments

1. L-lysine: L-lysine is a substance that helps prevent the replication of the herpes virus. Taking L-lysine supplements regularly can reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts.

2. Medicinal herbs: Some herbs, such as propolis and echinacea, have been traditionally used to treat cold sores. Consult a healthcare professional before using herbs as part of your treatment.

balance diet


Cold Sore Prevention

While it cannot always be completely prevented, the following can help reduce the frequency of outbreaks:

Avoid known triggers, such as excessive sun exposure and stress.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and practicing stress management techniques, can strengthen the immune system and help prevent outbreaks.

Avoiding direct contact with people who have active cold sores and not sharing personal items, such as towels or utensils, can reduce the risk of infection.

Consider taking dietary supplements, such as L-lysine, which may help prevent frequent flare-ups.


● Adopting healthy habits and taking steps to avoid triggers are key steps on how to treat cold sores naturally.

● With natural remedies like lemon balm and ice therapy, along with dietary supplements like L-lysine and prevention tips, you can deal with this virus effectively.

● Remember that it is important to consult a health professional if you experience frequent or severe cold sore outbreaks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cold sores contagious?

Yes, cold sores are highly contagious, especially when there are visible blisters. Avoid close contact with other people during an outbreak.

The length of an outbreak can vary, but generally lasts between one and three weeks. Natural treatments can speed recovery.

If you experience frequent outbreaks, severe outbreaks, or if cold sores affect your eyes, it is important to seek medical attention.

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent cold sores, but research is ongoing to develop one.

Although herpes simplex type 1 infection is mainly caused by oral contact between individuals, it could also be transmitted to the genital region through oral sex practices.

Eating a diet  high in lysine, found in products such as nonfat yogurt and other low-fat dairy, and low in arginine, found in foods such as nuts, peanuts, and chocolate, may be helpful in prevention or treatment of cold sores. The amino acid arginine is particularly essential for the herpes simplex virus.



1. Cold sores don’t usually need A doctor. You can take care of them at home using these tips. (s/f). WebMD.

2. Cole, S. (2020). Herpes simplex virus. The Nursing Clinics of North America, 55(3), 337–345.

3.Curtis, L. (2023).How is a cold sore treated? Health.

4. Huizen, J. (2020).Cold sores: Home remedies and other treatments.

5. Looker, K. J., Magaret, A. S., May, M. T., Turner, K. M. E., Vickerman, P., Gottlieb, S. L., & Newman, L. M. (2015). Global and regional estimates of prevalent and incident herpes simplex virus type 1 infections in 2012. PloS One, 10(10), e0140765.

6. Watson, K. (2020, October 28).Essential oils for cold sores. Healthline.

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