Cold sores suck! Unfortunately, some people are plagued with them while others manage to never experience a cold sore during their entire life.
Cold Sores are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV). Once you have been exposed to this virus you are infected for life. Infection usually occurs when the virus enters through small breaks in the skin, typically when lips are chapped or have cracking.
If you have the virus, cold sores can develop due to a variety of reasons:
- Emotional and physical stress
- Colds or other respiratory infections
- Exposure to the sun or wind without protection
- Hormonal changes (menstruation, menopause, pregnancy)
It is important to keep your hands OFF of that cold sore! Not only will this speed healing but it will also ensure that you do not spread the infection to someone else. Kissing is off limits of course! Towel sharing, cup sharing, and utensil sharing too. In addition, you might want to use caution when oil pulling with a cold sore. Once your cold sore is scabbed over, you should replace your toothbrush, lipstick, or anything else that has touched that area during an active outbreak. The fastest way to reintroduce the virus is to use something that still has cold sore contamination.
Coconut Oil For Cold Sores
Quick disclaimer – I am required to clearly state that I am not a licensed medical professional nor do I pretend to be one on this site. Take what I write as a launching off point to do your own research. My advice, experience, and suggestions are not to be considered medical advice.
Coconut oil is the most plentiful natural source of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) or Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA). Of all the numerous pathogens that are destroyed by MCFAs, lipid-coated viruses and bacteria such as the herpes virus seem to be the most open to attack. MCFAs easily subdue lipid-enveloped viruses and bacteria because they easily penetrate the organism's outer covering. As they enter, MCFAs weaken the herpes virus by breaking down its already nearly fluid outer layer to the point that it literally splits open, spilling its insides and killing it.
This means that coconut oil has some pretty amazing results when applied to a burgeoning cold sore. If you catch it in its infancy, applying coconut oil to the cold sore (with a q-tip and not finger-tip) will keep the cold sore from “popping” and getting all weepy and nasty. It basically attacks the virus in the blister stage and immediately works to start shrinking the blister without it actually opening up and draining.
And don't forget to consume a therapeutic dosage of coconut oil during an active outbreak! While I cannot give specific “dosage” information, as each person is different, a therapeutic dose would typically be double or triple your normal coconut oil consumption.
Other Natural Cold Sore Treatments
Coconut oil is not the only natural cold sore remedy. In fact, there are several other ways to fight back against an outbreak. Here are a few of the more successful treatments:
Garlic is a very helpful remedy for elimination of cold sores both in cases of their first and repeated occurrence. If you notice the very first signs of infection, slice garlic and simply hold it over the infected area for about 2 minutes. The procedure should be repeated at least 3 times daily.
Aloe Vera reduces both irritation and pain of cold sores. Apply its gel directly to the sore as often as needed.
Tea bags: Applying warm tea bags to the affected area is an effective remedy. The tannic acid in the tea acts against the virus and prevents it from developing further. Doing this for five days continuously is known for making the sores disappear.
Lemon balm: A member of the mint family, this potent herb has been used for centuries to reduce anxiety and stress, common triggers for cold-sore flare-ups. Studies have shown that this herb reduces redness and swelling after only two days. Steep 2 to 4 teaspoons of crushed lemon balm in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow the “tea” to cool and dab it on your cold sore with cotton balls throughout the day.
Honey has been proven shorten the duration of cold sores 35 percent better than acyclovir, the active ingredient in prescription herpes antiviral treatments. Research from New Zealand found that four different types of honey were able to kill the virus in test tubes, suggesting that any unprocessed, raw honey (which has the highest levels of antiviral compounds) might help treat a cold sore.
CBD Oil: Many people report that dabbing a bit of CBD oil on a cold sore several times daily has sped healing and kept future outbreaks at bay.
There are laundry list of other cold sore remedies like salt, peppermint oil, ice, and olive leaf extract, but in my research I have found that these are not as effective as the natural treatments listed above.
How have you successfully treated a cold sore? Any tips or tricks to share?