13 Home Remedies for Cold Sores

Everybody hates getting one of those pesky little bumps right on the edge of your lip, but few know there are plenty of effective home remedies for cold sores. Caused by the herpes simplex virus, cold sores can be on the mouth or on the skin directly around the mouth. Between 60% and 90% of us have this virus thanks to how easily it can be transferred between people.

Many cringe just hearing the name, but in reality it’s just referring to the fluid filled blisters that pop up near your mouth. For most people this an embarrassing, and often painful, cosmetic issue that you can’t wait to get rid of. While there is no cure for this virus, thankfully there are many medications and home remedies for cold sores that can help.

1. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is one of the most pleasant home remedies for cold sores. Not only is it soothing, but it tastes great as well! When using this remedy be sure to choose a pure vanilla extract and not one that is artificial. Pure vanilla extract works because it is a natural anti-inflammatory.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 drops of pure vanilla extract
  • Q-tip or cotton swab.

To see the size in swelling go down, all you need to do is moisten a q-tip or cotton swab with a small amount of pure vanilla extract, and dab it onto your cold sore. You can find this at any grocery store and at many health care stores, such as Trader Joe’s.

2. Sea Salt

Because of the minerals found in sea salt, using this remedy will greatly decrease the life of the cold sore, and it will also ease the discomfort. Be cautious when using sea salt on cold sores. Using this on swollen and cracked skin can cause some stinging, particularly if you have sensitive skin.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp of sea salt.
  • 8 oz of lukewarm water.
  • Q-tip or cotton swab.

Perhaps you have heard that swishing with salt water helps to relieve the pain associated with a sore throat. This method will also target a cold sore if you happen to have any area that is exposed to the inside of your mouth. When combining one teaspoon of sea salt with eight ounces of water, be sure that you are not using cold water, as this will keep the salt from fully dissolving. Diluting the salt with eight ounces of water also helps in weakening the stinging sensation when applying this mixture directly to a cold sore. You can soak a cotton swab in the sea salt water and gently dab at the cold sore.

3. Petroleum Jelly

The natural emollients in petroleum jelly work to soften the skin around the affected area. That’s just the added bonus. Because petroleum jelly is so thick, coating your sore in this will help protect you from a bacterial infection being introduced, which would lengthen the life of the cold sore.

What You’ll Need:

Wash your hands, then use clean fingers to apply petroleum jelly to the cold sore. This is a safe protectant to reuse throughout the day.

4. Licorice

The glycyrhizic acid found in licorice is effective in counteracting the virus. Licorice also relieves the pain associated with cold sores by lending its anti-inflammatory properties. Using licorice is one of the most beneficial things you can do to alleviate cold sore symptoms,. Due to the necessity of pairing this method with another of the home remedies for cold sores, licorice is one of the most effective remedies for alleviating symptoms of cold sores.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbsp of licorice root extract or powder.
  • 1/2 tsp of petroleum jelly.
  • Q-tip.

Combine one tablespoon of licorice root powder (or extract) with one half teaspoon of petroleum jelly. Use a Q-tip to apply this to your cold sore. This works even better if you can allow it to sit on the sore overnight.

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

If you take the necessary steps to keep this open sore clean, it prevents it from spreading. Hydrogen peroxide isn’t quite as painful to use as alcohol, and alcohol heals the cold sore by drying it out. Both of these home remedies for cold sores help lower the risk of a bacterial infection forming.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide OR
  • 1 tbsp of rubbing alcohol (70%)
  • Cotton swabs or pads.

Soak a cotton swab in either rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Apply it to the affected area and hold it there for up to a minute. Let it work its magic for at least 5 minutes before wiping it off.

6. Whole Milk

The L-lysine in milk helps in protecting you from an outbreak, while its immunoglobulins work to fight off the virus. It also feels very soothing as it heals the sore.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbsp of whole milk.
  • Cotton pads or swabs.

Use a cotton pad to soak up about a tablespoon of milk. Hold the cotton swab to your cold sore for about 5 minutes, then wipe clean. You may also choose to apply petroleum jelly to it afterwards, to seal and protect the sore.

7. Lemon Lip Balm

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and works to heal the blister and to prevent outbreaks. When shopping for a lip balm be sure to choose one containing at least 1% of lemon balm. Lemon balm tea has been known to bring relief to many ailments, including colds and flus. It’s no coincidence that using a compress of these tea leaves is one of the best kept secrets amongst home remedies for cold sores.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3-4 tsp of finely cup lemon balm tea leaves.
  • 3/4 cup water.
  • Thick cloth OR.