Essential Oils for Cold Sores

Have you experienced having those painful blisters in your mouth or around the lips? They are otherwise known as cold sores which are caused by a virus. They are very contagious and it typically takes 2 to 3 weeks before they heal. They also tend to recur throughout life and there is no way to prevent or cure them permanently. Fortunately, there are essential oils you can use for cold sores that can help reduce swelling, soothe pain, and promote healing. Read more about them.

Essential Oils for Cold Sores

1. Melissa Oil

This essential oil is also known as lemon balm oil and comes from a plant called Melissa officinalus. Studies show that lemon balm oil can reduce swelling and redness from cold sores, promote healing and probably even prevent recurrence. However, it does not significantly reduce pain or wound scabbing.

2. Peppermint Oil

Some studies on essential oils for cold sores suggest that peppermint oil may help stop herpes virus from multiplying. However, lab studies have yet to show if it helps cure cold sores. Avoid applying peppermint oil to a small child's face, as it might cause serious reactions.

3. Tea Tree Oil

This essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties against certain strains of herpes virus. Just be careful not to swallow this oil. Discontinue use if signs of allergic reaction (rash, swelling) occur.

4. Other Essential Oils

These include roman chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, geranium, and bergamot, which may control blistering from cold sores. To use these oils, mix 6 drops with a small amount (about 5 ml) of Grapeseed orTamanu oil. Dab a small amount of the mixture on your blister with a cotton-tip applicator.


1. Avoid applying oil directly to open sores, especially if they cause irritation, rashes, or burning. You may be having an allergic reaction to essential oils for cold sores or you may be using a big concentration. Try diluting the essential oil before applying to your skin.

2. It is best to consult a doctor to confirm if you have Herpes simplex sores. Ask the doctor about using essential oils to treat your sores.

3. Be careful when using essential oils if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as for using them on children. Talk to your doctor first before these products.

Essential Oils Based Recipes for Cold Sores

There are different ways to use essential oils for cold sores:

1. Use It as an Astringent Lotion

Combine 3 drops of tea tree oil/lavender oil/melissa oil with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. Apply on affected area frequently until condition improves. Avoid using on broken skin.

2. Use It for Body Massage

In a bowl, combine 10 drops of geranium oil, 10 drops of lavender oil, 8 drops of lemon oil, 2 drops of thyme and 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (such as argan, sesame, coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, grapeseed, or macadamia oil). Use to massage your whole body, including the face and neck. 

3. Use It as a Healing Lotion

This is best used when the cold sore starts to show signs of fading away. Combine 3 drops of tea tree oil, 3 drops of bergamot oil, 4 drops of lavender/myrrh oil, and  5 tsp of calendula/hypericum infused cream. Apply frequently, while making sure to allow time for sore to dry out between applications.

4. Use as a Protective Lip Gloss

Make our own lip gloss to heal cold sores and protect your lips from outbreaks in the future. First make a lip gloss base by melting 1 ounce of white beeswax in a double boiler. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil, 10 drops of jojoba oil, and 5 drops of carrot seed oil. Then make an essential oil base by blending 8 drops of geranium oil, 8 drops of tea tree oil, 6 drops of german chamomile oil, 5 drops of lavender oil, and 3 drops of lemon oil. Take 20 drops of this essential oil base and blend with the lip gloss base. Let cool and place the mixture in a glass container. Apply to your lips three times a day.

Other Home Remedies for Cold Sores

Aside from the essential oils for cold sores, there are other home remedies you can use:

1. L-lysine

Also called lysine, this amino acid helps prevent the multiplication of herpes virus and prevents outbreaks. Apply directly as an ointment or cream to your cold sores. Consult your doctor about using L-Lysine products from a drugstore and follow directions on the packaging.

2. Ice Cubes

Cold sore viruses are likely to multiply in wet, warm places such as the mouth. Apply ice to your blemishes. It is also best to begin treatment immediately when you feel a tingling sensation around the mouth to stop a cold sore from erupting. Repeat every 10 to 15 minutes for a few hours.

3. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera can help dry up your blisters and promote healing. Simply apply a small amount of gel with a cotton swab on the blisters several times a day until they dry up.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

This common household chemical is often used to disinfect wounds and scrapes. However, it can also help dry up your cold sores. Soak a cotton swab in a small amount of 3-10% hydrogen peroxide and apply on the cold sore until stinging sensation stops. Repeat frequently to dry up blisters and reduce swelling. Avoid swallowing hydrogen peroxide.

5. Tea Bags

The use of tea bags for cold sores is an old home remedy. Simply apply a warm, moist tea bag onto the affected skin to reduce pain and promote healing.

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