cold sore home remedies kitchen remedies for common complaints by enevow holyer - a cornish hedgewitch

Cold Sore Home Remedies

Cold sore home remedies are one of the most requested, so I’m tackling this one first.

cold sore home remedies by enevow holyer a cornish hedgewitch

Cold Sores are so unpleasant. I speak from experience here, having never been bothered by them until the early part of last year when I was extremely run down and stressed. I felt a mild stinging on my lip and thought it was one of those tiny spots that hurts like hell but needs to be popped then the pain stops… not so. The next day, I discovered a big old cold sore on my top lip, for the first time ever in my almost 40 years on this planet. I couldn’t believe it! Luckily I had some knowledge of cold sore home remedies, although I was careful to research it all before testing anything out, as most of my recipes are ancient and require updating for the modern day.

What Exactly Is A Cold Sore?

Ok, so cold sores are small but painful blisters, that normally develop around the lips and mouth. They are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus and generally pop up when you are especially run down. The good news is that they have usually run their course within 7 -10 days but the bad news is, they are very contagious.

Herpes Simplex Virus

As I said, very contagious, as in –  easily passed between people. The bugger is, you might not have any symptoms when you first contract the virus. The first you know is when your lip starts hurting and sprouting fluid filled sores overnight. And that might happen weeks or even months afterwards. Pretty lame, all in all. Once you have it, there’s no getting rid (at the moment), but the good news is that it will remain dormant in your body for the majority of the time. Every so often, it will be triggered by maybe sunlight, stress or even an injury to the affected area. Some lucky peeps never have an outbreak because nothing causes the virus to become active. Cold sores can be frequently occuring or occasional, there are no norms with this critter.

When You First Feel The Tingle

Both conventional and alternative medicine say this is when you should start treatment. Over the counter antiviral cream is highly effective, but can cost a lot of money for a teeny tiny tube. The main ingredient is acyclovir which is used to treat chicken pox, herpes and the dreaded shingles. This clever little drug works by stopping the pesky virus from multiplying, thus reducing the risk of it spreading. It also decreases the severity of your symptoms and the length of the outbreak.

What If You Miss The Tingle?

You can go ahead and use the cream or treatment of choice, it will still work, but is most effective when applied earlier.

I Thought This Was Supposed To Be About Cold Sore Home Remedies?

I’m just coming to that! Ok, so we’ve established that it is antivirals we need to treat the cold sore. Where can we find these in nature? My first go-to for healing is always my essential oil collection. Many oils contain powerful antiviral properties.


I’ve seen people with horrible allergic reactions where their faces and limbs swell up like the elephant man and they have to go to the doctor anyway, to counteract the effects. Can’t stress this point too strongly, essential oils need to be treated with respect same as medicines. Always dilute them with a carrier oil first. Sweet almond is a good’un, as is coconut and good old olive oil. I recommend 2 -5 drops per fl oz of oil. Start low and work your way up if you are unsure.

Essential Oil Cold Sore Home Remedies

The best all rounder in my oil collection is Lavender. If it’s your first time using it, you should dilute it before applying to your skin. If you have no reactions then go ahead and make a stronger mix. Lavender may not affect the actual virus, although it does have antiviral properties, but it does have the ability to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with cold sores.

Peppermint, Tea Tree and Chamomile are also good oils to use to treat the cold sore. Studies have shown that peppermint can stop the herpes simplex virus from multiplying and tea tree has the potential to kill it. Both of these oils are very strong and should be diluted correctly and applied with caution.

Chamomile is more gentle, but still needs to be diluted before you use it on your skin. According to THIS STUDY, chamomile oil works differently to traditional antivirals by interrupting the absorption of the herpes virus into the cells. This means it could be especially useful for healing recurrent cold sores which appear to be resistant to other treatments.

Herbal Cold Sore Home Remedies

A natural, safe and, let’s face it, cheap alternative to cold sore medication is in fact growing happily in my garden right now. Good old lemon balm. Again, from the mint family, this is a great way to suppress the virus. Other beneficial herbs include st john’s wort, aloe vera, calendula, echinacea, comfrey and licorice root.

These herbs can be prepared in various ways, to be consumed or applied topically. Oils, salves and ointments have their place in the medicine cabinet, but when you really want to zap a cold sore, tincture is the way to go.

As with anything you use for a cold sore, home remedies or prescribed, the key to its success is regular use throughout the day, starting as soon as you realise it is necessary. Tinctures can stain the skin however, so many people prefer to use salve throughout the day, moving on to tincture in the evening.

You can find my recipes for cold sore home remedies below.

For more information about using herbs and oils, please see my Hedgerow Healing article. You can also find spells and other rituals in my Grimoire.

cold sore home remedies kitchen remedies for common complaints by enevow holyer - a cornish hedgewitch


Enevow Holyer’s Cold Sore Home Remedies

If you want a quick and simple remedy, gather fresh lemon balm and steep it in boiling water. Apply the preparation topically with cotton wool, at least 5 times a day. If you are prepared to spend time making more complex preparations however, click on the links below.

Cold Sore Healing Lip Salve

Cold Sore Healing Tincture


What cold sore home remedies do you swear by? I’d love to hear about your recipes, drop me a comment in the box at the bottom of the page.






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