Most people have heard of cold sores, but might not know exactly what they are. Cold sores are small, fluid-filled blisters that usually appear on the lips or around the mouth. While they can be irritating and embarrassing, they typically go away without any treatment within a few weeks.
However, there are some things you can do to speed up the healing process and get relief from the symptoms. One natural remedy is using essential oils for cold sores! Essential oils have many properties that can help to heal wounds and soothe inflammation.
In this post, we will discuss what cold sores are and how to use essential oils for cold sores relief. We will also provide a few recipes for blends that you can easily make at home!
What are Cold Sores?
Also known as fever blisters, cold sores are fluid-filled red blisters that appear in patches and form around the mouth (most common), nose, or any other part of an individual’s face. Although rare, these blisters may also appear on your fingers. Cold sores are spread by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1).
These contagious blisters are spread from one person to another through physical contact. Kissing has been shown to be the most common method through which cold sores are spread. Oral sex, though rarely, also provides another route of transmission.
Typically cold sores heal on their own within 2 to 3 weeks.
- sore throat
- muscle aches
- painful gums
- swollen lymph nodes
There is no definitive medication for treating cold sores. Recurrence and drug resistance are some of the challenges facing both patients and doctors when it comes to the treatment of these itchy, painful, and scab-forming blisters.
This has led to extensive research on alternative methods of managing fever blisters and associated symptoms. One promising therapeutic alternative is the use of safe essential oils.
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What causes cold sores?
Below are some of the most common causes of cold sores!
Viruses of the Herpesviridae family
Both Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) type 1 and type 2 belong to the Herpesviridae family. These 2 viruses are the specific microorganisms for cold sores in humans. It was initially believed that HSV-1 only caused oral sores, but according to the WHO it can also cause genital herpes.
After an infection with HSV and subsequent healing, these viruses remain dormant in one’s body until they are triggered to recur.
Hormonal changes, trauma or injury to the skin, long periods of exposure to sun and wind, bouts of stress, fever, other viral infections, and changes in one’s immune system are some of the factors known to cause a cold sore to reappear in a previously infected person.
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The 10 Best Essential Oils for Cold Sores!
Studies conducted have shown that a number of essential oils, when correctly used, have the potential of managing cold sores and related symptoms. This list contains essential oils that have two or more therapeutically beneficial properties for cold sore treatments, to include:
- antimicrobial (kills microorganisms such as bacteria)
- anti-inflammatory (decreases inflammation)
- antiseptic (stops itching and pain from skin conditions)
- analgesic (pain-relieving property)
- immune boosting
Here are the top essential oils for cold sores!
Anise essential oil is steam-distilled for about 6 hours from the seeds of the Asian Illicium Verum tree. A 2008 study showed that anise essential oil can help inhibit the growth and development of the HPV virus.
Anise seeds produce a high-quality essential oil that contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Both of these work to help in the management of cold sores. Anise oil is safe for use in both men and women of all ages. It is likely safe for lactating and/or pregnant mothers.
Note: If you have an allergy to fennel, dill, cumin, coriander, celery, or asparagus, you may be allergic to anise essential oil. Use with precaution.
Clove essential oil is well known for its potent pain-relieving property, especially when applied topically. This property makes it an ideal essential oil for use in pain associated with cold sores. It also has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties.
Eucalyptus essential oil’s antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make it a very effective essential oil for cold sore management. All these properties work to reduce the duration a cold sore takes to heal.
According to research done, stress and anxiety can prolong a wound’s healing time by 25%.
When applied topically, ginger essential oil’s spicy scents provide anxiety and stress relief to individuals, promoting fast cold sore healing. This essential oil’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties also work conjunctly to quicken and improve one’s cold sores associated symptoms.
Also aiding in stress and anxiety is lavender essential oil. When topically applied, lavender essential oil promotes cold sore healing by activating the formation of granulation tissue through collagen synthesis and causing the wound to contract and heal completely. This process is facilitated by the Lavender essential oil’s anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and irritation soothing properties.
Lemon balm oil’s ability to penetrate easily into the skin combined with its antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal essential oil for cold sores and related symptoms management.
Tea tree essential oil’s efficacy in putting a halt to the proliferation of Herpes Simplex Virus was demonstrated in a highly and extensively researched dermatological review. Its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and ability to bolster one’s immunity make it a good fit for an individual looking for a quick cold sore relief.
Oregano essential oil contains a high percentage of carvacrol. These active chemical compounds are responsible for oregano’s antimicrobial, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of which are important in the healing of cold sores.
Its antioxidant property promotes fast cold sore healing by regulating wound oxidative stress, which, when left unchecked, may prolong the healing time of a cold sore.
Peppermint’s antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and analgesic properties contribute to this essential oil’s ability to manage cold sores caused by both HSV-1 and HSV-2. Regular topical use of peppermint has shown a high success rate of providing relief to recurring cold sores.
Roman chamomile essential oil ability to stimulate one’s immune system and anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic properties has proven it to be an effective essential oil for the management of a drug-resistant herpes virus causing cold sore.
How to Use Essential Oils for Cold Sores
Below are several ways through which you can use any of the above therapeutically beneficial essential oil.
Topically apply it to your skin
Applying any of the above-mentioned essential oils directly on your skin is one of the easiest and most effective ways of managing cold sores and associated symptoms. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying to the skin. Below are recipes to apply topically to your skin!
Use an oil diffuser for steam inhalation
Consider inhaling your preferred essential oil for cold sores by using an oil diffuser. Strategically place your diffuser in a convenient spot. That is in a spot where the oil vapors will still reach you in concentrated amounts and where the risk of knocking the diffuser down is lowered.
I recommend you place it in the middle of the room.
Essential oils for cold sores recipes
Below are some of the most effective and easiest to make essential oils for cold sores!
Essential Oil for Cold Sore Blister DIY Lip Balm Recipe
- 2 drops peppermint
- 2 drops tea tree
- 2 drop of lavender
- 1 teaspoon beeswax
- 1/2 tablespoon solid coconut oil
- BPA free lip balm containers
- In a double boiler, or the microwave, heat the beeswax and coconut oil
- Stir in essential oils
- Pour into the lip balm containers
- Let cool before applying
Essential Oil for Cold Sore Salve recipe
- 12 drops of lemon balm
- 6 drops of tea tree
- 30mls of solid coconut oil
- Melt the coconut carrier oil in low heat
- Stir in essential oils
- Pour into a small glass jar
- Let cool before applying
Essential Oil for Cold Sore Diffuser Recipe
- 1 drop frankincense
- 2 drops tea tree oil
- 3 drops Lemon
- 100 ml water
- Drip the essential oils in the water and diffuse away!
Cold sores are a common annoyance, but they don’t have to rule your life. These essential oils can help you find relief and get back to your day-to-day. And if you want an easy way to apply the oils, just make your own lip balm using one of the above recipes!
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