Also referred to as “fever blisters”, cold sores are inflamed blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HPV). They are often found on the mouth and lips but can also appear on the nose, fingers, and cheeks.
When you get a cold sore, the likelihood of getting a second one is very high. Changes in hormones, too much exposure to the sun, and stress can trigger HPV to create another sore.
A few days after the cold sore appears, it breaks and oozes after which a yellow crust develops. In the end, the crust falls off and gives way to healthy skin underneath. Some of the cold sore triggers include fever, stress, certain foods, colds, allergies, sunburns, and menses.
Cold sores are relatively harmless except for HIV/AIDS patients whose immune systems are low. In rare instances, the infection spreads to the eye and affects the vision or spreads to the brain and causes encephalitis and meningitis.
Over-the-counter medications deal with cold sores but due to their side effects, more organic options are now preferred.
One of the natural home remedies that many health experts recommend today is using essential oils because they are safe and their effectiveness is backed by numerous studies. They are also quite affordable compared to synthetic medicine.
Some of the most effective essential oils for treating cold sores include:
Tea Tree Oil
When it comes to cold sore treatment, a good antiviral, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory product does the trick. Tea tree oil possesses all these properties, and this is why it is widely used as a treatment option. A study done to examine its effectiveness in treating cold sores proved that tea tree oil indeed has an antiviral effect on HPV.
Peppermint has tremendous antiviral properties, which make it ideal for treating cold sores. A lab study showed that it stops HPV activity hence beneficial for treating recurrent HPV infections. Mix a few peppermint diluted oil drops and a gentle carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil and apply the mixture directly to the cold sore for fast relief.
Oregano has been used for centuries to treat colds, indigestion issues, and stomach ailments. The oil boast potent antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it effective for eradicating cold sores on the lips.
Clove oil may possess potent antiviral and antimicrobial effects on HPV according to a study conducted in 2006. The study also showed that it can reduce the pain from a cold sore to a greater level. The oil is toxic and shouldn’t be applied directly on the skin. However, when mixed with a carrier oil and carefully applied, it doesn’t cause any harm.
Lavender oil helps deal with a number of skin irritations and bruises. When applied on a cold sore, it doesn’t necessarily inhibit the activity of the Herpes virus but helps reduce pain considerably. It is friendly to the skin, so dilution is not necessary.
Lemon Balm Oil
A past study conducted on lemon balm oil established that for drug-resistant strains, it inhibits the cell penetration of HPV by 96%. It also penetrates the layers of the skin effectively to directly eliminate the herpes virus. For this reason, the best method of usage is a direct application on the cold sore.
Eucalyptus essential oil is another good remedy for cold sores due to its excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Past studies have also proven that the oil can decrease inflammations and accelerate the healing the healing process of cold sores.
Whether you want to control the virus behind cold sores or to reduce the inflammation or discomfort that comes with the condition, the above highlighted are some of the best essential oils that will help you.
However, to get the most out of any essential oil, it is important to use it the right way. To begin with, considering that you will be dabbing the oils directly on your skin, strive to conduct skin sensitivity test first.
Additionally, you may need to dilute strong essential oils like Clove and Oregano with suitable carrier oils before using them. Lastly, if you are going to use the oil inside your mouth, only use products that have been approved for internal use.