A cold sore is a small, painful blister filled with fluid. Cold sores can be found on the roof of the mouth, the lips or the gums and are caused by the herpes simplex virus-1. They'll usually clear up on their own in about two weeks, but if you're having a lot of discomfort or simply want to try to speed along healing, some natural remedies can help.
Topical Cold Sore Remedies
If you're looking for a way to make your cold sore go away faster, there are a variety of herbal supplements and natural remedies that you can try. Start with these topical remedies to help aid healing and reduce pain.
Lemon balm is a great natural choice touted for its antiviral properties. Lemon balm is considered a calming herb and is part of the mint family. Studies have found that it can inhibit the growth of the herpes virus, shortening healing times. You can use a lemon balm cream to help heal blisters, and regular use of the cream may prevent future outbreaks, making it a good option for people who have cold sores regularly.
Aloe Vera gel is another good choice that can soothe the sores and help them heal. It has been shown in studies to be particularly effective against herpes simplex virus-2, and may also be effective against herpes simplex virus-1, the virus that causes cold sores. Apply the gel to the effected area as needed to soothe the skin until the blister heals.
Propolis is a resin that is frequently harvested from beehives. Applied topically to a cold sore, it has been shown to speed healing and help minimize pain. Apply a three percent propolis ointment to the cold sore daily until it heals.
Supplemental Cold Sore Remedies
In addition to topical remedies, some supplements may also offer relief. The following remedies may speed healing time when taken internally.
One of the most popular and widely used natural remedies for cold sores is the amino acid lysine. Lysine has been found to help the body fight infection and inhibit the spread of the herpes virus. Taking lysine can help you get over an outbreak faster, and may even prevent an outbreak from happening if taken on a regular basis.
Supplements of lysine are available at health food stores; take about a gram (1,000 milligrams) a day for best results.
Black and green teas have been found to contain polyphenol compounds that enhance cell defense against viruses, including the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. Black tea also contains caffeine, which may also inhibit the virus.
The recommended dosage of black tea is one to four cups per day.
Echinacea may also be helpful for the treatment of cold sores, since it is so effective on other infections and irritations. Some studies have found it to be effective against viruses that cause colds and flu; some people also use it for other viruses, which includes the herpes virus that causes cold sores.
Practitioners recommend that you take the highest quality Echinacea you can find. 300 milligrams of standardized powder is a good choice.
Keep in mind that while an herbal remedy may make your cold sores heal faster and be less painful, you will remain contagious until after the blister has completely disappeared. Start treating a cold sore as soon as it makes an appearance to help speed healing, and help ease your discomfort naturally.