Natural Ways To Heal Cold Sores

How to treat cold sores naturallyCold sores can occur at any time of the year, but especially during the winter as we become more vulnerable to colds and illnesses they are much more likely to rear their ugly heads.

Not only are they often unsightly, but they can be painful and uncomfortable too. What’s more, they spread easily, so unless you’re very careful, one can turn into many.

It’s important to treat cold sores at the first sign that one is about to appear. While there are medications available, there are also natural treatments that can be effective for soothing the affected area and getting rid of the sore.

What are cold sores?

Cold sores are the result of the type-1 Herpes simplex virus, which manifests as fluid-filled blisters, usually located on or around the lips. Once you have been infected with the virus it is never totally eradicated from your body, and cold sores may re-emerge during or after illness, when tired and run down or experiencing stress.

This happens because your immune system is low under these conditions, and whilst your body’s defenses are down it allows the virus to get a firm foothold again. Exposure to the sun, wind or cold can also sometimes trigger the sores.

What are the natural treatment options?

There are a few key ways to treat and prevent cold sores naturally, including a variety of essential oils and supplements to help bring some relief.

Essential Oils

Bergamot essential oil is a great natural remedy for cold sores, as long as it is furocoumarin free (FCF), known as Bergamot FCF. This oil is a powerful antibacterial and also contains antibiotic properties, which help to tackle to herpes virus. Blend four drops of bergamot oil with 30ml of St Johns wort carrier oil and apply a dab of the mixture to the affected area with a cotton bud. Be careful not touch the area directly with your finger, as this can cause the infection to spread. If you do make contact, be sure to disinfect your hands immediately.

St Johns wort is an excellent carrier oil for blending with bergamot to treat cold sores as it is an antiviral herb that also supports the nervous system. Also known as hypericum oil, it soothes and heals all types of abrasions, burns and wounds, plus it is an anti-inflammatory.

Another essential oil that can be used to treat cold sores is geranium. While this oil is largely used to restore balance to the skin, it can help to ‘dry up’ cold sores, promoting quicker healing. Dilute geranium essential oil with carrier oil or with a cream before applying directly to the skin, following the four-to-five drops essential oil to 30mls of carrier rule.


Natural supplements can help to prevent outbreaks of cold sores by shoring up the body’s immune system. In ‘The Organic Pharmacy’ Margo Marrone recommends taking L-lysine, as the amino acids in this supplement inhibit the virus. If an outbreak still occurs, it is likely to be much less severe.

Ms Marrone also advises taking red marine algae, as the compounds it contains stop the virus replicating. This is important to prevent its spread during an outbreak.

Healthy living

Because illness, stress and tiredness are all causes of cold sores, it’s important to live in such a way that minimises these conditions. This boils down to eating in the right way and ensuring a healthy work-life balance.

Ms Marrone claims fish, chicken, carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, goji berries, shiitake mushrooms, seaweed and alfalfa are all great foods for preventing cold sores.

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