MT Ghozali is a researcher and lecturer of pharmaceutical sciences with extensive experience in patient education.
Which Essential Oils Are Good for Cold Sores?
Inflamed open sores around the mouth are known as cold sores, also frequently referred to as "fever blisters." It is nearly invariably the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that is responsible for these sores.
HSV currently has no treatment available, but researchers are making headway in developing a vaccine or cure shortly. Once you have had one cold sore, the virus might become active again when you are under stress, exposed to sunshine, or if your hormones change.
There are medicines available both over-the-counter and with a doctor's prescription that promise to relieve the pain and inflammation caused by cold sores.
However, researchers are beginning to discover that the chemical molecules found in certain essential oils may also be effective in treating cold sores.
Cold Sores: A Brief Introduction
The signs and symptoms will be different for you if this is your first outbreak or if you have had it in the past.
It is possible that the first time you get a cold sore, the symptoms won't appear for up to 20 days after the first time you were exposed to the virus.
It may take the blisters anywhere from two weeks to three weeks to completely heal, and the sores may linger for many days.
The symptom usually manifests itself in the same location each time, and the severity of the recurrence is frequently lower than that of the initial outbreak.
Medical Treatment Options for Cold Sores
In most people, cold sores disappear within two to four weeks without any therapy. However, in some instances, the recovery time might be cut down by using one of many prescription antiviral drugs.
Examples of the medications include:
- Acyclovir (Zovirax).
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex).
- Penciclovir (Denavir).
When to See a Doctor?
In most cases, treating cold sores is unnecessary because they heal on their own.
Seek medical attention if any of the following apply:
- Your immune system is not as strong as it once was.
- It takes more than two weeks for the cold sores to recover.
- The symptoms are rather severe.
- You are plagued by recurrent outbreaks of cold sores.
- You get inflammation in your eyes.
Top 4 Essential Oils for Cold Sores
|Essential Oils||How to Use||Warning Words|
Apply diluted tea tree oil to a cold sore using a clean cotton swab.
Limit the number of times you apply tea tree oil daily to no more than twice!
Use a cotton swab soaked in a gentler carrier oil to apply eucalyptus oil directly to the wound.
Eucalyptus oil should be diluted well before use.
Use a clean cotton swab to apply diluted oregano oil to the affected area.
If you are sensitive to mint, sage, marjoram, basil, and oregano, avoid any oregano oil preparations.
Use the diluted oil on the cold sore up to four times a day.
Never apply any preparations of lemon balm oil to your skin without diluting it in a carrier oil first.
1. Tea Tree Oil
When treating a cold sore, tea tree oil's antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory characteristics can be helpful.
According to a positive research, tea tree oil may have an antiviral impact on HSV.
Despite this, the research was conducted in vitro, which means that it was conducted on isolated samples, and it needed to be determined whether or not the oil was powerful enough to demonstrate a high level of effectiveness.
Tea tree oil that has been diluted with a carrier oil can be applied directly to a cold sore using a clean cotton swab; however, you should be sure to dilute the tea tree oil with a carrier oil that is less harsh so that you do not irritate your skin.
A Warning Word:
To avoid skin irritation, limit the number of times you apply tea tree oil daily to no more than twice.
2. Eucalyptus Oil
Lab investigations on cell structures suggested that eucalyptus oil could shorten the length and severity of cold sores. Active compounds in the oil may hasten the healing process of a cold sore by diminishing the inflammation caused by the sore.
If you have a cold sore, you can apply eucalyptus oil straight to the sore using a cotton swab dipped in a softer carrier oil.
A Warning Word:
Eucalyptus oil should be diluted well before use, and up to four daily applications should be attempted. Additionally, if you have ever had an allergic response, you should avoid using any eucalyptus oil preparations.
3. Oregano Oil
There is a solid reason why oregano oil is considered one of the most effective home treatments for cold sores. In a positive study, it was shown that oregano oil had a significant impact on HSV.
Oregano oil was found to have comparable antiviral characteristics in more recent research, which may be attributed to the fact that it contains significant quantities of carvacrol, a chemical in many aromatic plants.
You can try reducing the size and irritation of your cold sore by rubbing diluted oregano oil into the sore's location with some clean cotton.
A Warning Word:
Suppose you are sensitive to mint, sage, marjoram, basil, and oregano. In that case, you should avoid using oregano oil since your allergies may cause a cross-reaction with the oregano.
4. Lemon Balm Oil
According to a laboratory investigation's findings, lemon balm oil was shown to be effective in preventing drug-resistant types of herpes viruses from penetrating cells.
However, the mechanism through which lemon balm affects herpes cells is the subject of ongoing study.
You can apply the diluted oil straight to your cold sore up to four times a day since lemon balm oil can penetrate the skin barrier and cure the herpes virus directly.
A Warning Word:
Before putting the cream on your cold sore, you should test it on the inside of your forearm to see whether it causes an allergic reaction.
It should be safe if you do not feel irritation or inflammation during the first twenty-four hours after applying it.
Additionally, it is extremely recommended to dilute pure lemon balm oil before using it. Essential oils should never be applied to the skin without diluting in a carrier oil first.
The Bottom Line
The evidence that essential oils could significantly affect cold sores is scant, and further investigation into the topic is still ongoing.
However, if you do decide to experiment with one of them, exercise extreme caution and consult your physician during the process.
The United States FDA does not conduct quality control checks on the manufacturing process of essential oils. Therefore, carry out some studies on the various brands to learn more about their quality, purity, and safety levels.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Dr apt MT Ghozali