Cold sores, also referred to as fever blisters, are one of the most common symptoms of viral infections. These sores are found on the lips, and will usually occur in tiny groups. They are also filled with fluid. Once the skin covering the sores is broken to release the fluid, it causes a crust-like layer to form on the lips. Cold sores are contagious and can easily be spread through contact with an affected person as is the case during kissing or oral sex. The causative agent for the formation of these sores is a herpes virus.

bubusiness woman lips smiling

While the cold sores tend to resolve on their own after about two weeks, they are unsightly and cause discomfort when eating food or drinking fluids. Antiviral medicines in cream form are available to promote the healing of the cold sores. In addition to these, there are a handful of natural remedies intended to manage cold sores as well as hasten the recovery of the same. If taken at the onset of the infection, these remedies play a preventive role and prevent those unsightly bumps from forming on your face. Below are some of the remedies that you should be on the look out for.


1. Echinacea:

Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1 Teabag of Echinacea tea and a mug of freshly boiled water.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Echinacea is recommended for the natural treatment of cold sores because it has the capacity to boost your immune system, thus making it capable of defending the body against viral infections such as those that cause these sores. Additional benefits of drinking Echinacea tea include improved recovery of the sores and a preventive measure that makes it difficult to develop the sores in the first place.

Directions:

  1. Place the tea bag in a cup and pour boiling water over it.
  2. Let the bag steep for 10 minutes in order to harness the tea’s healing powers.
  3. Give the tea bag a good squeeze before proceeding to drink the infusion.
  4. Do this at least thrice daily and watch the cold spores disappear.

 


2. Ice Pack:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Ice cubes, a clean piece of cloth and some bit of petroleum jelly.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Cold sores are not only a set of unsightly bumps on your skin, they are also quite painful. One of the quickest ways to reduce the pain and provide relief to your lips is to numb the area using an ice pack. Petroleum jelly is added to the use of this remedy because it creates a protective layer that reduces the stinging cracking sensation on the sores. The jelly also helps keep bacteria out to prevent further infection of the sores.

Directions:

  1. Place the ice cubes on the cloth and tie well to create a pack.
  2. This is a key step because it prevents the ice from coming into direct contact with the skin which may only cause more damage.
  3. Hold the ice pack over the cold sores for about 2 minutes at a go.
  4. Repeat this process 5 times in every sitting to get the most out of the remedy.
  5. Once you have done this, dab the water formed on the sores as gently as you can.
  6. Proceed to apply some petroleum jelly on the sores.
  7. Use this remedy as often as required until the cold sores disappear.

 


3. Aloe Vera Gel:

Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Aloe leaf and some cotton wool.
Difficulty: Easy

 

When it comes to conditions that affect the skin, one of the most effective and timeless remedies is aloe vera gel. The gel is the go-to remedy for anyone suffering from cold sores, thanks to the plant’s soothing properties. This not only provides relief to the lips, aloe vera has also been shown to develop a natural defense mechanism against the infections. Make use of this inexpensive yet effective remedy whenever you need to deal with cold sores.

Directions:

  1. Snap one of the ends of the fresh aloe vera leaf in order to release the gel.
  2. Squeeze as much gel as you can.
  3. Dab the cotton wool on the aloe gel before applying it on the cold sores.
  4. Repeat this as often as is required until the cold sores are cleared.

 


4. Hydrogen Peroxide:

Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide, cotton wool, warm water and petroleum jelly.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Hydrogen peroxide has long been used in the treatment of skin injuries, but what you may not know is that it is also an effective remedy in the treatment of cold sores. The solution works by disinfecting the area around the sores, thus speeding up the healing process. Contrary to popular belief, the hydrogen peroxide solution is not as abrasive as many people tend to think.

Directions:

  1. Soak a small piece of cotton wool in the hydrogen peroxide solution so that it has just enough of the solution to apply on your lips.
  2. Dab the wet cotton wool on the cold sore. You will feel a stinging sensation albeit temporarily; this is only a small price to pay compared to the persistent pain at the site of the sores.
  3. Dab the cotton wool around the lips for about 5 minutes and discard the used cotton wool.
  4. Soak another piece of cotton wool in warm water in order to rinse the hydrogen peroxide off.
  5. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the cold sores.
  6. Repeat this process thrice daily.

 


5. Licorice Lip Cream:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of licorice root powder, 1 teaspoon of warm water and some petroleum jelly.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Licorice is a popular home remedy for the natural treatment of cold sores. The herb’s healing properties can be traced to the presence of glycyrhizic acid, a compound which research has found to posses some anti-viral properties. Additionally, this acid found in licorice is a potent anti-inflammatory that helps reduce the pain that accompanies cold sores. The best way to benefit from licorice is to prepare a home-made lip cream rather than to munch on the herb itself.

Directions:

  1. Take the licorice powder and add some water to it in order to create a topical paste. The amount of water you use may be varied until you get the desired consistency of your lip cream.
  2. Alternatively, add petroleum jelly to the licorice powder in order to improve the efficiency of the two.
  3. Once you have made the cream (either with water or petroleum jelly), apply a thin layer of the cream over the sores on your lips.
  4. Do this as gently as possible and make sure that you cover the sores completely.
  5. Let the cream remain on your lips, and ensure that you use this remedy overnight for best results.
  6. Follow this procedure as often as is required to get relief from cold sores.

 


6. Pure Vanilla Extract:

Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Pure vanilla extract, cotton swab and a small amount of petroleum jelly.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Pure vanilla extract is a preferred natural remedy for treating cold sores, thanks to the presence of vanillin. Vanillin is an alcohol-based compound that creates a harsh environment for the survival of the infection-causing viruses. This, in turn, hastens the healing process of the cores, and makes the lips less prone to infection. The best choice of vanilla extract is that which is organic-based.

Directions:

  1. Soak a piece of the cotton wool in the vanilla extract until it is completely saturated.
  2. Hold the soaked wool on the cold sores and allow the extract to come into contact with the sores.
  3. Rub as gently as you can and then discard the used wool.
  4. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
  5. Repeat this process as often as is required.

 


7. Milk Compress:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup of milk (preferably cold), cotton balls, clean towel, warm water and petroleum jelly.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Using milk compress on your lips is an effective way of reducing cold sores as well as get rid of the pain. Milk’s healing powers are attributed to the presence of unique milk proteins known as immunoglobins. These proteins play an important role in fighting viral infections as is the case with cold sores. As a preventive measure, make sure you drink milk regularly. Once the sores have developed, prepare a milk compress as outlined below and use as a form of treatment.

Directions:

  1. Place the cotton wool in the milk and allow to soak for a minute.
  2. Dab the milky wool on the sores and hold in place for 5 minutes.
  3. Soak one end of the towel in the warm water and use this to rinse off the milk.
  4. Apply some petroleum jelly on your lips to prevent further cracking and additional pain.
  5. Repeat this procedure thrice daily until the sores are completely healed.

 


8. Peppermint Oil:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Peppermint oil, cotton wool, warm water and a small amount of petroleum jelly.
Difficulty: Easy

 

Peppermint oil is used to treat cold sores because it has excellent anti-viral properties. When applied topically on the lips, the oil helps eliminate viral particles that abound around the cold sores. This action helps speed up the healing process while providing relief. Note that with this remedy, the ingestion of the oil has minimal benefits for the sores. The best way to use this remedy is to apply the oil typically, preferably at the onset of sore development.

Directions:

  1. Take some of the warm water and use it to rinse your lips. This is important because it helps get rid of residual cellular matter on the lips.
  2. Dip a piece of cotton wool in the remaining warm water and proceed to dip it in the peppermint oil.
  3. This is done for dilution purposes since the use of peppermint oil alone is likely to case skin irritation at the point of contact.
  4. Dab the wet wool on the cold sores and hold for a few minutes.
  5. Apply a thin layer of the petroleum jelly to prevent drying of the lips.
  6. Repeat this procedure twice daily until the sores clear.

 


 9. Cornstarch Paste:

Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch, half cup of warm water and petroleum jelly.
Difficulty: Easy

 

The use of cornstarch as a natural remedy is attributed to its soothing properties. When applied to cold sores, the paste provides relief from the pain. The paste has also been shown to increase the pH on the lips, thus creating a harsh environment for the virus to survive. Whenever you need to speed up the healing of your cold sores, simply prepare this smooth paste and apply on your lips.

Directions:

  1. Place the cornstarch in a tiny bowl and add water in bits.
  2. Stir the mixture and keep adding water until you get your desired consistency.
  3. Scoop some of the paste and apply it on your lips.
  4. Allow the mixture to stay on your lips for 15 minutes (or overnight if you use this remedy at bedtime).
  5. Rinse off the paste using warm water before applying some petroleum jelly.
  6. Use this remedy at least once daily until you get rid of the cold sores.

 


In addition to the aforementioned home remedies for sore throats, other measures that you can take to help speed up the healing process include washing your hands frequently to avoid contact with objects, replacing your toothbrush the moment the sores appear and after they heal and increasing healthy Vitamin-C rich foods in your diet. You must also avoid picking at the sores, no matter how tempted you are to get rid of the ugly crusty layers formed. This not only increases the chances of spreading the infection, it also prolongs the period of the same.