Home Remedies

Home Remedies for Cold Sores

A Cold sore is a painful condition caused due to herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). They show up like a painful ulcer around the lips and the mouth. Most of the people would be confused about whether it is a canker sore or a cold sore. Cold sore (also known as fever blister) is caused due to the HSV-1 virus, which occurs mostly in childhood through the contact with infected saliva.

Cold sores are spread from one to other if they had any oral contact such as kissing. This virus is similar to genital herpes (also known as HSV-2). Cold sores are infectious even if there is no sore. Itching, tingling etc. are few symptoms one could sense. There is no cure for HSV kind of infections. Antiviral medications can help in treating cold sores quickly. However, we have many natural ingredients that are readily available at home. By using such ingredients, we can easily treat cold sores and it is definitely a worthy idea.

Cold Sores Remedies

Here are few amazing home remedies to treat cold sores effectively:


Licorice root can be used to treat cold sore naturally and easily. It contains Glycyrrhizic acid, which helps in blocking the virus cells from expanding and helps counteract the symptoms. This is due to their antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. This herb is also available in the form of powder. You can prepare an ointment using this powder and can apply topically on the infected region. You may even try drinking a cup of licorice tea daily.

How to Use

  1. Add a tsp. of licorice root powder to at least half tsp. of fresh water or more as per your requirement or consistency.
  2. Apply it over the infected area.
  3. You might even add petroleum jelly along with licorice root powder to heal your cold sore.
  4. Use a cotton swab to dab this mixture over the infected area for best results.

Apply it several times on the infected area, but limit the intake of licorice tea once or twice a day.

There are no dangerous side effects when you use licorice. However, when you try drinking licorice tea, pre-seek your GP advice.

Vanilla Extract

An Organic vanilla extract is alcohol based and when applied topically, it makes the infected area hard for the virus to live. It also helps in healing the cold sore quickly besides lessening the severity of the condition. However, for best results use pure, raw, organic vanilla extract.

How to Use

  1. Use a cotton swab to apply vanilla extract on the cold sore. You might initially sense a tingling sensation.
  2. Try following this procedure at least five or six times a day until the cold sore vanishes completely.

You can try following this remedy for more than five times a day for best results. You can also apply it over the affected area and leave it overnight. It is safe to follow this remedy for treating the cold sore naturally.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has amazing properties that help kill the virus that is responsible for a cold sore. When applied topically on the affected region, tea tree oil kills the virus that is erupted from a cold sore. HSV-1 virus usually resides underneath the skin waiting for a triggering agent to burst out. When the virus is erupted, you can treat it easily using tea tree oil. Use a cotton swab and dab tea tree oil over the infected cold sore. It heals faster than usual and leaves no scar or sign behind. You might even try using other essential oils.

How to Use

  1. Use organic tea tree oil for healing a cold sore. Rinse the area using clean water.
  2. Cleaning off the harder surface can let the oil sink in and work effectively.
  3. Dab the cold sore with a cotton swab soaked in tea tree oil.
  4. Alternatively, you can use diluted tea tree oil as well.
  5. Use it several times a day for best results.

Try applying tea tree oil over the affected area at least five to six times a day. For best results, use organic tea tree oil.


Tea tree oil has no side effects when used to apply over a cold sore. However, if you sense a burning or tingling sensation for a long time, better dilute it. For people having skin irritation, you must first dip a cotton swab in water and then dip it in tea tree oil. Now apply it over the cold sore.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide could be used as a cleansing agent in preventing infection of the cold sores and promotes healing. It acts as an effective antiseptic. You need to dilute it with water before using to swish around the mouth or applying it topically on the cold sore.

How to Use

  1. Hydrogen peroxide needs to be diluted with equal amount of water.
  2. Apply it topically on the affected area or swish it around the mouth if you have a cold sore inside.
  3. For applying topically, you need to use a cotton swab that is dipped in the solution containing hydrogen peroxide and water.
  4. When applied topically, it causes a tingling sensation.

You can try following the above remedy twice a day until it is no longer needed.  However, the solution must not be applied topically or swished around so vigorously that the scab is removed.


The solution of hydrogen peroxide must be used under the guidance of a medical practitioner. This remedy must be followed during the early stage of developing a cold sore until the early scab stage. In addition, the soft scab must not be treated using the hydrogen peroxide solution, as it might extend the existence of the cold sore.


Using a cotton swab dipped in milk as a compress on the affected area helps in treating the cold sore faster besides reducing the pain. All thanks to the proteins in milk known as immunoglobulin that plays a crucial role in combating and preventing viruses such as HSV-1.

In addition, L-lysine in it helps in blocking the amino acid known as arginine, which is responsible for the outbursts of the cold sore and speeds up the healing process.

How to Use

  1. Dip a cotton swab in a cup containing cold milk.
  2. Apply it on the cold sore directly.
  3. Use it as a compress until you sense relief from the pain.
  4. Clean it off after few minutes and apply a good moisturizer or petroleum jelly.

You can follow this remedy several times until you see better results. For effective results, apply milk on the cold sore using a cotton swab and leave it overnight.


Better, choose raw whole milk to try out this remedy. Also, make sure you use cool milk so that it soothes pain, tingling sensation and inflammation.


You might wonder if a fine paste of cornstarch and water can help soothe pain of a wound, then it would definitely soothe a cold sore as well. Applying a fine paste of cornstarch with water on the cold sore helped in reducing the itching sensation of a cold sore. The reason behind its effectiveness is that cornstarch paste can help in neutralizing the pH balance of the cold sore thereby not allowing the virus to thrive on that region since virus can live only on over-acidic medium, but not on an alkaline environment.

How to Use

  1. Prepare cornstarch paste using one tbsp. of water and a tbsp. of cornstarch powder.
  2. For thin consistency, add little more water.
  3. Apply it using a cotton swab over the cold sore and leave it overnight.
  4. Follow this remedy every night until the cold sore vanishes completely.

You can try using this remedy several times a day. However, clean the surface before following this procedure for better results.

Following this remedy will not cause any issues like skin irritation, inflammation etc. Therefore, you can try using this remedy as much as possible for effective results.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera helps heal several kinds of skin irritations be it minor or major. It helps heal blisters and provides instant relief. It helps combat bacteria that might irritate the cold sore more. It also helps heal it faster and this is the reason why aloe Vera is considered as an amazing natural remedy for treating any kind of infections.

How to Use

  1. Cut of the rand of the aloe Vera stem and extract its gel.
  2. Apply it directly on the skin and leave it overnight.
  3. You can follow this remedy several times a day to soothe the pain caused due to cold sores.

You can apply aloe gel on your skin several times a day. You need to clean off your skin before and after following this procedure to see best results.


Aloe gel works effectively on your skin. However, if you are not susceptible to aloe Vera, better dilute it with rose water and dab it on your cold sore.


Garlic has excellent antiseptic and antiviral properties that help heal a cold sore quickly. You can use it directly or can also avail the supplements that are available at any medical stores.

How to Use

  1. Take two or three crushed garlic cloves and dab onto the cold sore directly.
  2. This remedy helps heal a cold sore faster in three to four days.

Use it to apply topically on the skin. However, you can also take garlic supplements. Initially, take around 500 mg every day and increase the dosage slowly.


Applying crushed garlic paste on the skin will create a burning sensation on the affected region. It makes the area become alkaline so that virus no longer thrives on it. However, avoid following this remedy, if you are allergic to garlic or cannot tolerate the burning sensation.

Sea Salt

Sea salt helps in reducing the discomfort and the duration of your cold sore. It contains minerals that play an important role in healing the broken or inflamed skin.

How to Use

  1. Add a tbsp. of sea salt to six ounces of warm water.
  2. Stir it well and use a cotton swab to apply this solution on the cold sore.
  3. You can also use it to swish around the mouth, if you have a cold sore on the inner lip area.

You can try following this procedure twice a day until you sense relief. Simply dab the cotton swab dipped in this solution on the cold sore for at least 30 seconds.


It might initially cause a burning sensation. However, if you are unable to resist this burning sensation, better avoid following this remedy.

Witch Hazel

The bark as well as leaves of witch hazel has medicinal properties. Native Americans are using it traditionally. However, you do not need to search for any bark, leaves or stems of witch hazel, as it is available in powdered form as well. Witch hazel is now available in pharmacy stores in the form of witch hazel hydrosol. Distilled liquid version is the hydrosol and is used in treating several skin infections

How to Use

  1. In a tsp. of witch hazel hydrosol, dip a cotton swab.
  2. Dab it on the cold sore and leave it for few minutes.
  3. It helps in maintaining the pH balance of the skin by making it hard for the virus to survive.

Follow this remedy at least twice a day until you see best results. Clean off your skin later after being done.


This remedy works amazingly, but if any irritation persists for a longer time, you should avoid it.


Echinacea helps boost immune system and is an effective home remedy to treat cold sores. Echinacea is available in the form of tincture and tea bags as well.

How to Use

  1. You can prepare Echinacea tea by dipping Echinacea tea bag in a cup of boiling water.
  2. Steep for few minutes and drink it warm.
  3. Alternatively, you can prepare a concoction by adding few drops of Echinacea tincture in water.

Check out the Echinacea tincture bottle to know the correct dosage. Also, pre-seek your general physician’s advice to check out whether this remedy works for your or not.


Echinacea must not be taken in large doses. You need to consult your doctor to know the right dosage your body needs.

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Dr. Anu Saini

Dr. Anu Saini (B.A.M.S., N.D.D.Y.) is an ayurvedic practitioner and naturopath. She has expertise in ayurveda, natural medicine (naturopathy) and yoga. She integrates ayurveda with naturopathy and yoga to help her patients to achieve optimal health. She helps to maintain the quality content on this website by editing and proofreading. She is also the author of some articles live on this Ayur Times. Currently, she works as ‘Senior Editor’ for Ayur Times.

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