Canker Sores Natural Remedies

Canker sores are of unknown origin.

For canker sores, natural remedies work just as well or better than other remedies. There's a lot you can do to treat those pesky, painful sores.

Canker Sores Remedies

Among the many natural remedies for canker sores are mouth rinses, supplements and herbs.


The simplest natural remedy for canker sores is a salt water gargle. Simply place one teaspoonful of regular table salt in approximately one cup of warm water and stir it until the salt is dissolved. Swish it around your mouth. Do not swallow it! Just rinse, gargle, and spit. Repeat once an hour. The salt water cleanses the area and can alleviate some of the pain from the canker sore.

Another rinse infuses herbs such as chamomile and goldenseal into warm water. Simply place a few drops of tincture of either herb into a glass of warm water, rinse and repeat.


Many people who suffer from canker sores find that taking several vitamin supplements seems to decrease the frequency and severity of outbreaks. A B-complex vitamin with 100 percent of the RDA for the major B vitamins helps. Additional vitamin C supplementation boosts the immune system and may also speed healing of active canker sores.Lysine, an amino acid, also seems to prevent or shorten the duration of canker sores. Foods containing lysine include red meat, spinach, and eggs among other sources. Be sure you're eating a well-balanced diet. If you're a vegetarian, increase your intake of green, leafy vegetables to get more lysine in the diet.

Herbal Remedies

Any herbs that boost the immune system can help with canker sores. This includes:

  • Goldenseal: Native Americans used gargles and rinses of goldenseal to treat mouth ulcers and sores. The same treatment can be used now using commercially prepared tincture.
  • Echinacea and goldenseal: This potent herbal combination is used to treat many infections, sores and other related problems.
  • Licorice: Licorice is another herb frequently recommended for canker sores. Use a few drops of licorice root tincture in warm water and rinse with it.

Herbal lozenges containing slippery elm, vitamin C and Echinacea, with zinc or without it, may also provide relief. Holistic Online offers more information and additional herbs to take for canker sores.

Try Several Remedies

Because doctors and scientists don't know exactly what causes canker sores, it's difficult to say exactly what will cure them. Most of the canker sores natural remedies focus on topical relief, such as salt water rinses, as well as immune-system boosting herbs. Adequate rest, nutrition and overall good health may reduce the frequency of outbreak.

Most of the herbs recommended are used as rinses and gargles, so unless you're allergic to them they should be relatively safe. Pregnant and nursing women may want to hold off taking any herbs since few studies demonstrate conclusively how they may affect unborn children or infants; salt water gargles should be safe to use (just don't swallow it). If any adverse reactions develop, stop taking them and see a doctor. You may also want to tell your doctor about frequent canker sore outbreaks. This can be a sign of a weakened immune system, which can be a symptom of another disease or condition. But only your doctor can diagnose such a problem.

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Canker Sores Natural Remedies