Alternative Treatment of Cold Sores

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If you aren’t sure whether or not you have Herpes Symplex-1, you should visit your doctor or medical practitioner. The information in this post is not meant to replace Western allopathic medicine, but rather to supplement it. It is presented primarily for entertainment or educational purposes – consult your doctor before trying any of these home remedies.

With that disclaimer out of the way… here goes nothing: As someone who has gotten the rare cold sore, for the past 35 years, I have a little bit of experience in trying out various treatments. I am going to do something, perhaps backwards, and go directly into the home remedies, although the second part of this post will involve how to Prevent Getting Cold Sores in the first place (which would solve the problem of needing remedies, now wouldn’t it?). 🙂

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What have I heard from different people? 1) ICE a cold sore the moment you feel the tingling, itching or burning sensation starting (before any kind of sore has formed). 2) Use a tiger-balm like ointment or healing salve (I personally use Unker’s Medicated Salve which works wonders). 3) My doctor recommended using Zovirax (an anti-viral ointment which requires a prescription). 4) ETHER – please don’t try this! 5) Taking L-Lysine (amino acid) and Zinc.

[Updated November of 2017: if you are reading other posts, you may have noticed that I (Kirby) had to wrestle with Lyme’s disease for a few years. I finally feel that those symptoms are behind me, fortunately! But you know what I discovered? In the past 8 months, since starting Buhner’s herbal protocol for Lyme’s, I have not gotten a single cold sore – even when I am run down, depleted or exhausted. And I attribute that most likely to Andrographis. See below.]

1) Ice: This works! Icing a cold sore the moment you feel it forming (or if you wake up with a tiny blister having formed, you can still ice it then), will pause the sore in its forming process and they rarely ever get any larger once you ice them. Sometimes they will still form, but they are smaller for certain. This is not always comfortable, but it is pretty easy. You need to have ice on the affected part of your lips for at least five minutes continuously.

2) Tiger-balm: Again, I use Unker’s Medicated Salve, which claims to use prayer as one of its ingredients, so that can’t be a bad thing, right? This works to dry out blisters and have them heal swiftly. It can also be applied when you first feel a blister forming and I think this has two effects: it might slow the virus / sore formation process and it eases any pain associated with it. All good reasons to purchase some Unker’s and with your doctor’s permission, start using it. Note: wash your hands after using Tiger-Balm or Unker’s Medicated Salve – you do not want to accidentally wipe your eyes with this on your finger.

3) Zovirax: This works to quickly dry up and heal blisters. I have not had to use it at all in the past six to eight years though, which I will explain below in the prevention section. And see also below, the Oregano Oil section.

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4) Ether: As in the chemical or solvent. This is not a good idea. I heard it from an old country feller, and once I looked into ether to see what he was talking about, I thought he was crazy for putting that chemical anywhere near his face!!! However, I suspect that if used very very cautiously, this would kill the virus directly and / or dry up the blister quickly. But I highly recommend against this remedy! Do not consume ether! Do not get ether in your eyes! Very dangerous.

5) Take Lysine and Zinc: Taking these immune boosting (and Lysine is supposed to be good for the lips) supplements is just that – a supplement. They do not directly go after the blister, but they might boost your immune system to prevent further blisters from forming.

6) Buhner’s Lyme’s protocol may prevent Cold Sores from forming. As I mentioned above, in working with Andrographis (a powerful immune booster) I believe that not only have I resisted Lyme’s bacteria, but I have also pushed down the Herpes virus. There are several things to note about Andrographis – first, start taking it in very small doses (200 mg max / once or twice / day). About 3% of the population gets a bad skin reaction, a rash, to Andrographis. Make sure you are not one of these people. Then slowly build your dose up. Talk to a professional nutritionist / herbalist / health practitioner for your maximum dosage. But I have heard that Andrographis is a powerful supplement, so only take it for 4-6 weeks at a time, and then take 4-6 weeks off of it. This gives your immune system a time to strengthen on its own, and it gives your healthy bioflora a break in case the Andrographis was weakening it.

7) Other Buhner’s Lyme’s protocol herbs – in case it is not the Andrographis preventing my cold sores, I will mention the other herbs / tinctures I have been taking for the past 8 months: Japanese Knotweed root powder, Cat’s Claw bark powder, Ginseng (Siberian) root tincture and off and on I was taking an anti-inflammatory herbal blend from Botanical Treasures. It is possible that one of these potent immune boosters is responsible for repressing any Herpes viral response to stress.

What have I tried on my own, despite not hearing about it’s effects on cold sores? 1) OREGANO OIL

1) Oregano Oil: I heard that Oregano Oil is very good for dealing with any kind of skin fungus and that it is a natural anti-septic, anti-bacterial, etc. Therefore, one day, I said to myself, if I can put this on my arms or feet, why not try it out on a cold sore? Well, guess what? It works! Disclaimer: Oregano Oil is a VERY strong oil, so do not get it in your eyes! Also, try to find gel caplets of oregano oil and puncture the gel a little to allow some of the gel to come out on your finger and then apply that to your lips. I made the mistake of using Young Living Oregano Oil, which is highly refined and very pure and some of that liquid got in my mouth… Oh My Word! It takes many minutes to wash that horrible taste out of your mouth. I love Young Living Oils and their other products (considering I am a distributor), but I’m just saying that you would want to dilute their oil with a neutral vegetable oil before applying it to your lips.

With that said however, I have not found anything which always prevents a blister from forming if it is caught early enough (and if I am practicing self-care which means my immune system is never too frail, allowing for the Oregano Oil to work its magic). When I use this oil (gel) just as I feel a blister starting to form, then it nearly always prevents any further formation from occurring. The exception to this rule is if I am really exhausted and I have done something to really compromise my immune system.

See my next post to see personal tips for Fever Blister prevention. I rarely if ever get cold sores any longer by following several guidelines. See the next post for more.

And again, please consult a licensed medical practitioner before you attempt any of these home remedies! Thank you for reading.


Published by Kirby Moore

Kirby Moore is a healing facilitator based in the beautiful rolling hills of Charlottesville, Virginia. He does sessions in-person and long distance via Skype and Zoom, working with Spiritual Astrology, Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and Birth Process Work. His healing work is informed by fifteen years of meditation and Qigong practice. He works with client's intentions and deepest longings to attain clear, tangible results. Contact him for more info at (email): kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com

9 thoughts on “Alternative Treatment of Cold Sores

  1. Try tea tree oil. Check first on your armpit, if your skin supports direct application without an allergic reaction. If your skin does not react to tea tree oil you can directly apply it onto the infected skin area. Otherwise, you can put a few drops into your preferred body milk or cream or vaseline. Also make sure to only buy a good quality tea tree oil!

    1. Thanks Stephan!

      That is sound advice! I wonder if its effects are similar to those of oregano oil. Thank you for sharing,


      1. Hi Kirby!

        Actually, tea tree oil is even stronger than oregano oil. I started using it with what was thought a minor episode herpes simplex on my – hold breath: butt – which first was thought to be the shingles. I have tried the classical Zovirax approach which certainly helped but non the less, it would take about 3-5 days for it to go away. With tea tree oil applied after the shower there won’t even be an outbreak. The itching will go away quite quickly and a day later you will usually not see much of it anymore. Using a body lotion with some drops of tea tree oil (or a ready made tea tree oil body milk) I also managed to keep my skin much more hydrated and healthy overall.

        Tea tree oil is a natural remedy used by the Aborigines of Australia for hundreds of years and was discovered by the West by Ctn James Cook who also is believed to have coined the name “tea tree” for the myrtle based tree growing in Australia and New Zealand. It has very high antiseptic values and is used for a wide range of issues, including nail fungus, dandruff, acne and gingivitis.

        My dentist told me to put 2-3 drops of the oil on my toothbrush, on top of toothpaste. It takes a bit to get used to the taste but it has had a tremendous healing capacity for my gums.

        I also use some drops in a nasal douche: first add about a tea spoon of pure kosher sea salt in the douche, 2-3 drops of tea tree oil and fill it up with warm water. Shake well and rinse your nose against Sinusitis. I have been suffering from Post Nasal Drip and a resulting allergic cough in winter time almost all my life. Using this on a daily basis in the morning and before I go to bed, I haven’t ever had any issue with it anymore. On that stance, a friend of mine who is working in an ER in a large hospital once told me that they actually put a drop or so on a finger and brush nose holes and ear caves to keep away common colds. Same story was told to me by a stewardess friend.

        There was a recent item online (sorry, I do not have the link anymore) that explained that even the smell seems to trigger the body’s immune system.

        So today, I use it on a wide array of things and included it in my daily hygiene. I found a range of products sold here in Germany that include high quality tea tree oil, from face wash to shower oil to body lotion and I totally love it. My skin never was more healthy and also my gums have improved tremendously. It causes a good circulation of the blood in your skin right after you apply it. And the horrid herpes simplex seem to return less and less often and the inflammation won’t even reach it’s outbreak point at all any more!


  2. My doctor told me use banana !
    I thought that it must be an old wives tale but believe me…it works !!!
    May be something to do with potassium? ??
    It dries the coldsore up in no time and really stops it developing into ‘a nasty’

  3. Hey There Astrodharma,
    I know what you mean, Such a home remedy that can be used is making use of Echinacea and goldenseal extract mixing. This is beneficial as Echinacea will help in boosting the resistance and thus it is really beneficial in not allowing it outbreak. In this situation, just one drop has to be taken and it should not be taken for more than 3 days. The alternative home remedy that may also be very beneficial is use of lemon balm which generally a very high concentration of polyphenols. A normal application of the same can be ensured and the use of a tea lemon balm can also be made. This is guaranteed to be beneficial as it has antiviral qualities.

    1. Thanks for the tips! I have made lemon balm tea – I love that if I ever have a cold. I will try the Echinacea if / when we get cold weather again.

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