What natural remedies are used for cold sores?

Cold sore blisters usually heal in a week by themselves. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide some relief. Your dentist may prescribe  antiviral drugs to  reduce these kinds of viral infections.
Todd A. Welch, DMD

Commonly referred to as "canker sores," recurrent aphthous ulcers (RAU) now can be treated by licorice root extract, according to a study published in a recent issue of General Dentistry.

The authors examined the effects of an over-the-counter medicated adhesive patch (with extract from the licorice root) for treatment of RAU versus no treatment. After seven days of treatment, ulcer size in the group who received the adhesive patch with licorice extract was significantly lower, while ulcer size in the no-treatment group had increased 13 percent.

Licorice root extract was used as a prescribed treatment for gastric ulcers until the 1970s, according to the study. In its original form, licorice root extract has a very strong taste. However, when combined with a self-adhering, time-release, dissolving oral patch, the taste is mild and pleasant.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Known to reduce healing time and, in some cases, prevent cold sores from coming back, lemon balm is a calming herb with antimicrobial properties. Look for lemon balm cream, ointment or supplements. You can also buy the herb itself, brew it as a tea and apply it with a cotton ball to a sore.
This content originally appeared on

There is very little research that suggests fever blisters or cold sores can be effectively healed with natural products.  They are caused by the herpes simplex virus and can come and go throughout a lifetime. They may be triggered by stressful events, changes in the immune system, or by some other unknown factors. Natural remedies or alternative treatments may be just a shot in the dark at trying to modify the infection just enough to decrease its duration or sensation. Here are some natural treatments some people have used for cold sores:

          *Herbal extracts that are thought to have antiviral affects

          *Tea tree oil

          *Lemon balm

          *Red clover


          *Grapefruit seed extract (GSE)

          *Any skin ointment or cream that contains lysine

          *Olive leaf tincture

          *SPF 15 sunscreen on areas where breakouts occur (if a person's cold sores are known to be triggered by sun damage)

Continue Learning about Oral Herpes (Cold Sores)

If I have a cold sore, how long is it contagious?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
As long as you have a cold sore, the virus is still contagious. An outbreak of oral herpes should go...
More Answers
Is a fever blister on the mouth, herpes simplex 1?
Yes, a fever blister on the mouth is herpes simplex 1.  It can also be triggered by sun exposure, so...
More Answers
Where can cold sores develop?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
In most cases, an outbreak of oral herpes, or cold sores, will develop in the lip area. However, it ...
More Answers
What are cold sores?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
Cold sores -- caused by herpes virus Type 1 or Type 2 -- are contagious. The initial infection (...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.