Do you have blisters like wound openings around your mouth? Or have you had them in the past? That’s a cold sore!
The symptoms of cold sores can be painful, itchy, and embarrassing. So, it is often desirable to get rid of it in the best way.
Essential oils can work like magic in alleviating the symptoms of cold sores.
Some of the best essential oils for cold sores include:
- Peppermint oil
- Lavender oil
- Thyme oil
- Clove oil
- Hyssop oil
- Tea tree oil
- Lemon balm oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Chrysanthemum oil
- Anise oil
- Ginger oil
- Oregano oil
An average human experiences cold sore at least once in a lifetime. Although the symptoms of this condition can disappear after treatment, it does not leave permanently. Symptoms of cold sores will reappear once the conditions are favorable.
In this guide, you will find insight into the causes and symptoms of cold sores. You will get a detailed list of some of the best essential oils to treat this condition. It also includes clear answers to some of the frequently asked questions about blister fever.
What are Cold Sores?
One of the typical questions people ask is, “how do I know it’s a cold sore?” So, it is best to clarify this condition before diving into the essential oil solutions.
Cold sores, also called fever blisters, are open inflamed sores typically around the mouth. The sore appears like a general wound but not usually as deep as cuts. The causative agent for this condition is the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). HSV strains are persistent and do not yield to most antiviral medications. Most treatments will only get rid of the symptoms in a shorter time.
As of now, there are no validated treatments for HSV. Various home remedies and antiviral medications only ease pain and discomfort. They also reduce the symptoms timeframe.
If an individual had once experienced a cold sore, environmental and physiological changes could trigger the condition to reverse. These triggers can include hormonal changes, compromised immune systems, stress, and extended exposure to sunlight.
Causes of Cold Sores
The primary cause of HSV infection in first-time victims is coming in close contact with carriers of the virus. These carriers can be living or non-living things. It can also come from kissing infected individuals or sharing personal items like towels, toothbrushes, razor blades, etc.
Other causes of cold sores include:
- Stress and fever
- Compromised immune system
- Colds and allergies
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight or sunburn
- Certain foods
- Dental works and some surgeries
Symptoms of Cold Sores
Cold sores appear in the form of blisters, which are usually reddish and painful. The blisters typically arise anywhere around the mouth. The common symptoms of cold sores include:
- Burning, itching, and tingling feeling around the mouth.
- Swollen red and painful blisters (typically after 12 to 24 hours of the above symptom).
- Fluid escape from sores (often lasts for 2 to 4 days).
- Fever and muscle aches.
- Reddish swollen gums.
- Burning sensation and pain in the mouth.
- Sore throat and headache.
Now that you understand the definition, causes, and symptoms of cold sores, it’s time to check out the solutions. The use of specific essential oils is one way to reduce the symptoms and effects of HSV infection.
12 Essential Oils Useful for Cold Sores
Essential oils are valuable natural home remedies for cold sores. It might not eliminate the virus, but it will reduce the pain and discomfort from the infection. Besides, it will help to shorten the symptom duration of HSV infection.
There are several types of essential oils. All of them have various health benefits, but not all are useful for treating and managing cold sores. Here are some essential oils that are helping to manage this condition;
1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is one of the most active essential oils. It has antiseptic and anti-viral properties that limit the activities and effects of both type 1 and type 2 HSV. It is helpful in the prevention of recurrent cold sores. Besides, it can calm symptoms of HSV strains that are resistant to other types of medications.
The application of this essential oil is easy. All you need to do is dilute peppermint oil with essential oils like almond oil. Next, use swabs or cotton wool to apply the mixture on and around the affected areas.
2. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is another popular essential oil. One of the reasons behind its popularity is its rich anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps manage the various skin-related conditions, including irritation and bruises.
This essential oil is also helpful for managing cold sores. It minimizes the pain and itchiness of the sore. Apply drops of diluted lavender oil directly to the sore.
Note that it is best to avoid the concentrated form of lavender oil if you are using it for the first time. Consider mixing it with any suitable essential oil.
3. Thyme Oil
The thyme herb is not only useful as a spice. Its essential oil has loads of health benefits, including its use for treating cold sores. The anti-viral properties of this oil make it helpful in treating type 1 HSV.
Mix thyme oil with carrier oils to reduce its concentration. Then apply it to the skin area in just 2 to 3 drops.
4. Clove oil
Clove oil should be around the top of your list if you intend to use essential oils for treating cold sores. This oil has potent anti-viral properties. Clove oil will not only help in the treatment of HSV-related infections. It will also get rid of conditions caused by Hepatitis C.
It also includes antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These features make it helpful in relieving sore pains and discomfort. It also limits the itchiness and redness.
Avoid using clove oil for cold sores in its concentrated forms. Consider diluting the mix with coconut oil or other carrier oils before application.
5. Hyssop Oil
Hyssop oil is not as common as other essential oils, but it has rich anti-viral properties. It minimizes the activities and prevalence of herpes simplex virus (HSV), the causative agent of cold sores.
Reduce the concentration of the hyssop oil by mixing it with carrier oils. Apply a few drops to the affected skin areas.
6. Tea Tree Oil
The tea tree is notable for its numerous health and medicinal benefits, and its oil is valuable in the treatment of various conditions, including cold sores. It has antiviral effects against HSV, the causative agent of cold sores.
Like every other essential oil, it is best to dilute the oil before applying it to the affected area. Use a clean cotton swab to apply the diluted tea tree oil. Lower concentrated essential oils have a gentler effect on the skin.
7. Lemon Balm Oil
Lemon balm oil is one of the most uncommon essential oils. But it is one of the most valuable options when it comes to managing cold sores. Researchers found lemon balm oil helpful against drug-resistant strains by 96 percent.
This oil has potent anti-viral properties. It attacks herpes simplex virus (HSV) by penetrating the viral cell. So, lemon balm oil will penetrate your skin layer and place a direct attack on the virus.
The application of this oil is similar to others on this list. Dilute the oil with suitable carrier oils and apply with clean swabs. Since the oil penetrates the skin and viral cells, you can apply it up to four times daily.
8. Eucalyptus Oil
One of the most notable features of eucalyptus oil is its anti-inflammatory property, and this value helps mitigate the pain and symptoms of cold sores. It accelerates the elimination of cold sore symptoms by preventing inflammation.
Make eucalyptus oil thinner by mixing with carrier oils before application. Concentrated eucalyptus oil can come with side effects like itching and skin irritation. If you are allergic to this oil, you shouldn’t use it for cold sores.
9. Chrysanthemum Oil
Chrysanthemum oil is similar to eucalyptus oil in terms of anti-inflammatory properties. So, it helps limit the effect of the virus. It will also ease pain and other discomforts that might result from this condition.
Ensure that you dilute Chrysanthemum oil before applying it to the affected area. Also, some people are allergic to this oil. If you are one of the individuals with this allergy, consider other essential oil options for managing cold sores.
10. Anise Oil
Anise oil has been under typical study for managing cold sore since 2008. The result of these studies reveals that this oil can attack HSV. So, it limits the growth and development of the virus. This oil contains beta-caryophyllene as one of its most significant constituents. Beta-caryophyllene is responsible for its rich anti-viral properties.
So, you can trust anise oil when it comes to treating and mitigating cold sore symptoms. Don’t forget to mix the essential oil before applying it in a few drops to the affected area.
11. Ginger Oil
Ginger herb is not only for seasoning and spice. It contains oil extract that offers loads of health benefits. Ginger oil is useful for cold sores because it helps to soothe the skin and reduce irritation. It also accelerates the healing process of the sore and blisters.
The application of ginger oil for cold sores is topical. All you need to do is reduce the oil’s concentration by mixing it with a carrier oil. Apply it to the affected area in a few drops.
12. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is one of the first sets of essential oils discovered to help treat cold sores. This oil contains a high amount of carvacrol like most other aromatic plants, and this chemical boosts the anti-viral properties and effects of oregano oil. Besides, this oil also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Dilute the oregano oil with a suitable carrier oil. Then rub it on the affected area with a sterile cotton swab. It will help the sore to heal up on time and eliminate any chance of extensive inflammation.
Risk and Attentions for Using Essential Oils for Cold Sores
Although essential oils are healthy and safe, it is best to note some considerations to reduce risks to the barest minimum. Below are some of the things to keep in mind while using essential oils for cold sores;
- Avoid ingesting essential oils. They are best for topical use in this case. Some of these oils can be toxic when ingested.
- Avoid using essential oils in high concentrations. Ensure that you dilute it with a suitable carrier oil before application. Concentrated essential oils can cause irritation and other side effects.
- Watch out for any form of side effects when using essential oils. It is best to know when to stop using it and the time to increase the concentration.
- Note that carrier oil is the best option for diluting essential oils. Carrier oil will improve absorption and reduce irritation on the skin. Some of the suitable carrier oils include; Olive oil, Coconut oil, and Sweet almond oil.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cold Sores
Can I get rid of my cold sore overnight?
No! It is not possible to get rid of cold sore overnight. The HSV takes time to establish itself, so it will also take time to get rid of its symptoms.
Is cold sore life-threatening?
A cold sore is not life-threatening. But it can be painful, disturbing, itching, and embarrassing.
What can cause cold sore to worsen?
Cold sores can worsen for several reasons. They include fever, exposure to sunlight, a weak or compromised immune system, and hormonal imbalance. Illnesses, cold wind, and stress levels are also notable factors.
A Final Word From Wellness Nova
Cold sores are a common condition that can happen to anyone. Its symptoms can be painful, itching, and uncomfortable. It is almost impossible to get rid of HSV, which is the causative agent of cold sores. But you can eliminate the symptoms and speed up the sore heal with essential oils.
The list above contains effective essential oils that can help you to manage cold sores. It is best to dilute these oils with suitable carrier oils before application. Also, make sure you watch out for any form of side effects.