Cold sores are a problem when your immune system is down. In fact, these unpleasant symptoms of an underlying virus are not diagnosed by themselves. The reasons we get outbreaks is because of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HPV) that is more common than expected.
About 40% of all people in the United States get regular outbreaks and are carriers of the virus. When the cold sores come up, they can be extremely contagious throughout the one-week to the two-week period that they remain visible. The moment the sore has a crust on it, it is no longer as contagious.
The common cold sore remedies out there are antiviral medications and creams that can be applied over the sore. These remedies simply reduce the time that the sore stays on but does not do much. Other cold sore remedies that are more natural can be utilized to reduce the lifespan of the sore, boost the immune system during the outbreak, and reduce the frequencies of the sores appear.
12 Natural Cold Sores Remedies
The cold sores are just the tip of the iceberg of the Herpes Simplex Virus. While it is not a serious virus, it can be problematic for people who have a suppressed immune system. That is why a natural and holistic approach to cold sores remedies can do miracles for both reducing the instances of outbreaks and for boosting the immune system.
Boosting the Immune System With Foods
Like mentioned, a cold sore outbreak is a more serious problem for those with a weakened immune system. Consuming foods that boost the immune system is a lifestyle approach to this condition that can treat the condition in the long run.
Foods that are great for the immune system are those that are rich in probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that live in the lining of the gut where the greatest part of the immune system is held. They derive nutrients from our foods and are the first line of defense of various diseases.
Foods that naturally contain probiotics are kimchi, apple cider vinegar, and yogurt. Fruits and vegetables in their natural state can be used to prepare juices that are full of vitamins and minerals that our body can use to boost its immunity.
Vitamin E Supplementation
Vitamin E directly interacts with the skin surface. It can relieve the pain and discomfort experienced by the sores. Other than that, vitamin E is an antioxidant that can bring down inflammation in the affected region.
Capsules with vitamin E can be used to bring more of this vitamin into your body. You can also consume vitamin E with foods such as olive oil, sunflower seeds, spinach, and almonds.
Zinc is necessary for the body as a trace mineral that works to boost the immune system and bring down the inflammatory response. It comes in many different forms for the body, but it is best to take zinc through your food.
Foods like eggs, salmon, and cashews can increase your levels of zinc. And it is also important in the case of the herpes simplex virus. It can treat the outbreaks and reduce the symptoms and the duration of the outbreak.
Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant. You might know it as the vitamin found abundantly in citrus fruits. It is also contained in peppers, kale, broccoli, and kiwi.
The potent antioxidant effect of this vitamin protects the body from foreign elements like the HPV. The required daily dose of vitamin C can improve the health of the new skin coming beneath the sores and boost the immune system to manage the problem as quickly as possible.
Burning under the sun can cause an outbreak of the HSV in the form of a cold sore. Heavy exposure to the sun can be limited between 10 AM and 3 PM when the sun is the strongest.
Other than that, you can make it a daily habit to wear sunscreen during the hot hours of the day to protect your skin. You can also use a sunscreen lip balm to guard the skin on the lip area which is where the sores usually appear.
Aloe vera is a great anti-inflammatory gel taken from the insides of the aloe vera leaves. It has numerous antioxidants, hormones, enzymes, and minerals that boost the healing process.
The cooling properties of the aloe vera gel are often used for burns. That is why the discomfort from a sore can be treated with this miracle gel.
Peppermint Essential Oil
The reason some people use toothpaste to relieve the sore is because of the peppermint oil found inside. Peppermint is a powerful substance that is suppressing towards the herpes simplex virus. According to research, the peppermint oil is very good in stopping the effects of viruses overall.
In studies, the herpes simplex virus was kept for three hours with peppermint oil. The antiviral activity seen in the experiment went up to 99%. The best time to apply this oil on the sore is in the initial stages — as soon as you detect it appearing. (1)
Echinacea is a plant that is a blessing for the immune system. It is often used by people tackling the cold bt can also be used with other immune-suppressing conditions including HSV.
Drinking the tea of echinacea is a way to boost the immune system. Take this tea when you experience an outbreak. You can even drink it on a daily basis. Not only will it boost your health but it will also reduce the inflammation and pain experienced from the sore.
First aid of the cold sores remedies is placing ice on the affected spot. If you are really in pain with it or experience irritation, you can take an ice cube and hold it over the sore for as long as you can stand it. It will reduce the swelling and pain and reduce the blood flow to the area.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another strong essential oil that holds some of the most potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties in the plant kingdom. If you can catch the tingle of the sore early, you can apply a gel of tea tree oil as soon as possible.
If you do not have a special gel, you can dilute a drop of tea tree oil is a little carrier oil. Apply it using a cotton ball or a cotton swab over the area. The sooner you use this remedy, the better for your outbreak.
Hydrogen peroxide has a slight burning effect on the surface of the skin. It is often used to disinfect wounds. It can also be used to disinfect the area around the sore to prevent further inflammation and infection.
Not only is it one of the best cold sore remedies, but it can also kill the HSV virus directly in the area. As it turns out through studies, the HSV is very sensitive to the effects of hydrogen peroxide in the area that is treated with it. (2)
Lemon Balm/Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon is a natural remedy when it comes to treating the cold sores. Not only this, but the lemon is also a natural cure to the herpes virus. The way that lemon can be used on a daily basis for chronic protection and treatment of the sores is by applying it in the form of a balm on the lips.
If you do not have a lemon balm or plan to use such, you can always use lemon essential oil and dilute it before placing on the lips. The lemon has shown to decrease the instances of the sore outbreaks and resist the effects of the herpes virus on the body. Because of the specifics of how lemon works, the herpes virus cannot overcome its effects with time.
Distinguishing Cold Sores
Cold sores usually appear on the outer part of the mouth on the edges of the lips. They are very contagious when they are not yet healed with a crust over them. The first appearance of the sores looks like a red blister that oozes to form a core on top.
The time that it takes for the sore to heals is usually 10 days. With the help of cold sores remedies, this period can become shorter. They appear when anything weakens the immune system or when the spot is exposed to the strong sun. Stress is usually a reason for the appearing of a cold sore as it really depresses the immune system just enough to allow the sore to appear.
Final Thoughts on Cold Sores Remedies
A cold sore usually appears after a depression of the immune system. This can happen due to stress levels, seasonal changes, or just as a result of a poor lifestyle.
When you boost your immune system, the seriousness of a cold sore outbreak will decrease, and the span of them will also shorten.
These cold sore remedies are great when you are approaching this condition with the thought of benefiting the whole body. With time, you will notice that the symptoms and instances of outbreaks lose momentum in your experience.