Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and can be both unattractive and painful. Conventional treatments include topical antibiotics and just “waiting it out”. According to Western medicine, there is no cure for a cold sore and topical treatments may only shorten the duration of outbreaks by a day or two.
However, from a holistic standpoint, most viruses can be treated with herbs and other anti-viral remedies. Some are applied topically, and others can be taken orally to treat the body from the inside-out.
TOPICAL HOME REMEDIES FOR COLD SORES
Holistic topical treatments are generally made by combing either a carrier oil such as almond oil, or a non-hypoallergenic cream base with a few drops of pure essential oils. Make sure these are 100 percent pure oils, and not aromatic oils used in perfumes or candles.
Essential oils like cypress, geranium, and lavender; all have healing properties and can be used topically with little to no adverse effects. However, it is important to test a small area on the back of your hand or arm with a drop or two of the essential oil first to ensure you do not have an allergic reaction.
Try one or more of the following to treat cold sores and fever blisters. Combine with a carrier oil of your choice, than apply to the affected area two to three times per day:
1. Cypress Oil: Naturally antiseptic, or cleansing, and astringent. It is commonly used to treat skin irritations and sores such as hemorrhoids, but may also be used to treat cold sores and fever blisters.
2. Geranium Oil: It is naturally astringent and promotes healing. It also can be used on open sores and wounds and combines well with lavender oil.
3. Juniper Oil: Naturally detoxifying and astringent. It is considered a purifying oil and can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema and cold sores. It also blends well with geranium.
4. Lavender Oil: Naturally antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. It is commonly used to treat skin conditions such as acne, but can also be used help heal cold sores, burns and other wounds.
5. Myrrh Oil: Myrrh is naturally anti-inflammatory and can help ease the pain and discomfort of cold sores. It is used to treat a variety of skin infections, including eczema and psoriasis, and combines well with sandlewood, a natural antiseptic.
Home remedies for cold sores often include herbs and other natural supplements. Taking certain vitamins and medicinal herbs helps to heal the body from the inside out. These can be used alone or in conjunction with topical treatments to heal cold sores and fever blisters.
1. Siberian Ginseng: Siberian ginseng, also known as eleutherococcus, is a natural antioxidant. It is used by herbalists to help strengthen the immune system and help patients recover from illness. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, studies show that it helps reduce the severity of outbreaks in those with the herpes simplex virus, the virus which causes cold sores. It can be found in liquid extract or capsule form.
The recommended dose is 500 to 3,000 mg per day, divided into smaller doses.
2. L-Lysine: L-Lysine is an amino acid used by the body for growth, especially for skin, tendons and ligaments. It is essential, meaning the body cannot make this amino acid, but it must be obtained from the diet. L-Lysine has also been shown to prevent the outbreak of herpes simplex, including in cold sores, although it must be taken on a regular basis. The recommended therapeutic dose is 3,000 to 9,000 mg per day, broken down into smaller doses.
3. Zinc: Zinc is a mineral found in the diet. It helps the body fight infection and recover from illness. It has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of illness, including colds, the flu, AIDS, stomach ulcers, and herpes-related cold sores. It is found naturally in foods such as shellfish, oysters, beef, pork, chicken and nuts. The recommend therapeutic dose is 30 to 60 mg per day.
Like herbs, homeopathic remedies help to heal the body from the inside out. The following are specifically recommended for treating viruses which cause cold sores:
- Natrummuriaticum (Nat Mur): Used for eruptions at the corners of the mouth whichare worse during times of stress.
- Mercurius (Merc): Used primarily for children with mouth sores, and may be accompanied by a fever.
- Rhustoxicodendron (RhusTox): Used for eruptions of many small sores that are itchy, especially at night, and
- Sepia (Sep): This is used for outbreaks that have not responded to other treatments. These patients tend to be overly tired and worn out.
Remember that the herpes virus is a medical condition and may require medical attention. If your cold sores have not responded to any natural or conventional treatments, be sure and consult your health care provider as it may indicate a more serious condition. As always, natural therapies should be used in conjunction with, and not in place of traditional medical care.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Herpes Simplex Virus: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/herpes-simplex-000079.htm