Painful cold sores can occur once-in-a-lifetime or several times a year. They are contagious and insufferable for quite a long time, especially if left untreated. The good news is that there are some very potent natural remedies for it. I’m talking about essential oils for cold sores (fever blisters). They’re good antivirals and anti-inflammatory agents, among others.
In this article, I’m going to cover topics like:
- Symptoms that tell you a cold sore is starting to take shape.
- Some of the best essential oils for fever blisters. With pros and cons to understand what their effects would be on you.
- How to use these aromatic oils on those nasty, painful sores on your lips or around the mouth.
- Blend recipes to use right away and prevent further complications.
- More facts about cold sores (a.k.a. fever blisters). Learn about the causes, the symptoms and the viruses that cause the condition. You will also learn about the development stages of a cold sore.
- Plus tips and good practices to help you prevent the infection in the first place.
Best Essential Oils for Fever Blisters (Cold Sores), with Recipes
Cold sores are also known as fever blisters or oral herpes. Herpes (simplex 1) is actually the name of the virus that’s causing the blisters. Until the blisters break and form a crust, the virus is highly contagious.
Left untreated, fever blisters will clear up alone. But that can take up to 2 weeks to happen. The conventional treatment uses antivirals (cream and pills) and painkillers. They can soothe the symptoms and speed up the recovery.
Generally speaking, cold sores appear on the lips or around the mouth. They look like a cluster of small blisters, filled with liquid. They can also be very painful. That area will start burning at first. It will also feel itchy and stingy, after which the affected area becomes red. Cold sores are also accompanied by fever.
The most effective treatment lotion is the one you apply when the symptoms first occur. There are lots of good antiviral essential oils. You can use them for fever blisters treatment without side effects too. Let’s see what makes them so.
What Can Essential Oils Do for Cold Sores? Are They Really Working?
Essential oils for cold sores are natural plant extracts. They’re very concentrated, with a complex chemical composition. These oils are stored in a plant with the purpose of helping them survive.
If damaged, the oils help the plant regenerate. They can also protect it from the harmful UV rays. Some can even emit a specific odor to signal danger and to keep away predators.
Generally, each type of aromatic essence has some antiviral and antibacterial effects. But some of them are stronger in that department. The chemical profile of an essential oil depends on many factors:
- The geographical area.
- The weather conditions.
- The harvesting time.
- Processing method.
- Their storage.
All these can affect the chemical profile of an essential oil for fever blisters. That is why some plant extracts have various chemotypes (ct.). For example, we have Rosemary ct. cineole, ct. camphor, ct. verbenone, ct. pinene, etc.
The chemotype is given by each plant’s major constituents. That’s what also gives them different properties and effects on our health.
What matters most is that many essential oils are great:
- They’re soothing.
- They can calm down itching sensations.
- They’re also good at calming down redness and irritation.
- They can strengthen the immune system and help it fight the Virus Simplex 1 (VHS-1).
- Essential oils can also help lower the fever. But this effect is not as powerful as that of a medicine. This means that if you have fever, you should not rely only on aroma oils to lower it.
- Aromatic oils can moisturize the fever blisters and the lips. That leads to a faster healing.
I’ve chosen 3 of the best essential oils for cold sores on lip that work well in all types of fever blisters. Take a look at their pros and cons and decide which one is what you need.
1) Star Anise Essential Oil
Botanical name: Illicium verum.
This Chinese anise is a very popular oil for cold sores. In 1996, in the U.S, they discovered an antiviral molecule from star anise. It is called “oseltamivir phosphate” and it has the power to stop the spreading of viruses like influenza.
Further research has been made on star anise and its antiherpetic effect proven.
- Star Anise essential oil is an antiherpetic. This means it can reduce and suppress the viral infection with herpes simplex 1. This can prevent cold sores. It has a chance of >99% of preventing herpes infection if used as preventive measure or at the start of the fever blisters.
- The oil has antiviral, as well as anti-inflammatory effects. These properties can soothe itchiness, burning and pain.
- It is also antispasmodic, which helps in calming down the throbbing infection.
- Star Anise is one of the best oils for cold sores, but it has estrogen-like effects. Thus, it should be avoided by pregnant women especially. Or by those who take hormones as part of a treatment.
- It is also not recommended to persons who suffer from breast cancer.
- In high dose, Star Anise can cause seizures.
Why I like it:
First of all, Star Anise has a pleasant fragrance, which makes it popular in Aromatherapy. Secondly, besides being effective in cold sores treatment, it also has many other uses. The oil can be used for digestion, for varicose veins and to regulate menstruation. Plus, it also diminishes general fatigue, anxiety and depression.
2) Melissa Essential Oil
Botanical name: Melissa officinalis.
This essence is one of the best for diffusion because of its pleasant, fresh and citrusy aroma. Not only is it calming for the nervous system, but the oil is also effective in case of fever blisters.
- The oil of Melissa has been found to have a direct antiviral effect on herpes viruses.
- Just like Star Anise, it is highly effective as a pretreatment of HSV 1 and 2. The second type of Herpes simplex refers to genital herpes, an STD.
- Melissa is a good anti-inflammatory, which soothes heat sensations and redness.
- It is also calming and mildly sedating.
- Melissa oil should not be used by people with hypothyroidism. Treatments with hormones for thyroid can also interact with this essential oil for fever blisters.
- For the most sensitive people, Melissa can cause coughing or tears.
Why I like it:
Besides the obvious anti-cold sores effect, the oil can also lower the blood pressure. Melissa is also often recommended in stressful times or panic attacks.
3) Lavender Essential Oil
Botanical name: Lavandula angustifolia.
Lavender is the most popular aromatic essence in Aromatherapy. It is mild yet effective in so many situations! And it can also be used by almost everyone, including children (in the smallest dose). In this case, you can again put Lavender oil on cold sores.
- Lavender contains beta-caryophyllene, a substance found to have strong antiviral effects on herpes.
- The oil is mostly appreciated for its regeneration properties. It can speed up the blisters’ healing without too much scar tissue.
- The scarring process is enhanced by its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
- Lavender can also sedate and calm down pain and itchiness.
- Lavender essential oil should be avoided by people with serious cardio-vascular problems.
- The same applies to people with asthma or seizures.
- Avoid using Lavender in a too high a dosage as it will excite the nervous system. That leads to insomnia and nervousness, among others.
Why I like it:
Lavender is a great essential oil for cold sores, especially in synergies. It can add to the other oils’ properties and can speed up the skin’s healing. It’s always great to count on such a remedy to help you get rid of the scars too.
Not to mention all the emotional benefits Lavender has. It can calm down the mind and the body and help you sleep better while convalescing.
Other great essential oils for cold sores:
- Tea Tree
All essential oils for cold sores on lip, or anywhere else must be tested for allergies. Dilute a drop of EO in some carrier and massage it into the inside of your forearm. Allow for a day to pass before any widespread use.
Do not use on children and elderly people without medical guidance. Pregnant and nursing women should also check with their doctor first.
Now you know what essential oils are good for cold sores. It’s time to learn how to use them properly.
How to Use Essential Oils for Fever Blisters
Essential oils are concentrated essences that need dilution before topical application. This is the best way of enjoying the antiviral and antiherpetic effects of essential oils.
Once the blisters burst, you should apply diluted oils carefully. Always wash your hands well after touching the sores to avoid spreading the virus.
A blend should contain more essential oils for cold sores. That will have a more potent effect on the virus itself and its symptoms. Mix up to 30 drops of essential oil per OZ. carrier oil for the most potent anti-cold sores serums.
For the treatment to be effective, the application of a blend should be done 5 times a day. The treatment should be done for 5 continuous days.
A blend meant to deal with the scar tissue should be applied for a few more days afterwards. It can be just Lavender with some carrier oil or a more complex mixture.
Some of the best carrier oils for cold sores are:
- Sweet Almond,
- Black seed.
Of course, any other carrier (vegetable oil) you have at hand is great for dilution. But the ones on the list above have anti-inflammatory and skin regenerating properties.
Also, don’t forget that these antiherpetic essential oils work better if used in prevention. You can diffuse essential oils for cold sores to prevent the activation of the herpes simplex 1 virus. The best ratio would be between 7 – 10 drops of essential oils per diffusion.
Add them to the water recipient of your diffuser or nebulizer, and leave the device on for 30 minutes. Make sure the air is well-ventilated at the time of diffusion. The air can get saturated with active molecules and cause headaches or nausea.
Also, avoid diffusing oils continuously! Inhalations that last more than 60 minutes can get you excited, nervous, restless, etc.
Essential Oil Blends for Cold Sores (Fever Blisters)
This section is always the best part, in my opinion. I like mixing and blending various oils and waiting for them to work. I’ve prepared a few simple therapeutic recipes to use for cold sores. Pick whichever you find doable or more to your preferences.
Anti-Cold Sores Blend Recipe
- Lavender essential oil: 10 drops
- Melissa essential oil: 7 drops
- Star Anise essential oil: 7 drops
- Jojoba/Olive oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Always give the blend a good shake before each use. That will activate the molecules and make it work faster. Apply a drop or two on the cold sore and massage the blend gently into the affected area. Repeat 5 times a day.
4 – Oil Blend Recipe for Fever Blisters
- Peppermint essential oil: 7 drops
- Myrrh essential oil: 7 drops
- Niaouli essential oil: 7 drops
- Star Anise essential oil: 7 drops
- Tamanu oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Apply as soon as you feel the stinging, heat, itching and pain in a lip or gums. If you notice the fever is rising too, it’s a clear sign of virus manifestation. Apply every 2 hours in the first day.
Cold Sores Disinfecting Recipe
- Peppermint hydrosol (floral water): ½ Oz (15 ml)
- Alcohol: ½ Oz (15 ml)
- Tea Tree essential oil: 10 drops
- Star Anise essential oil: 10 drops
Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake it well before each use. Wet a cotton pad or a cotton swab with this disinfectant and tap the affected area a few times. Continue with a cold sores blend.
Cold Sores (Fever Blisters) – Stages, Causes, Symptoms and Preventive Tips
Also known as the “cold sore virus”, herpes simplex 1 (HSV 1) can remain inactive for a very long time. Some people might carry the virus but never experience the symptoms of the infection. Others might actually get cold sores several times in a year. It all depends on the immune system and various causes.
The herpes simplex 1 can be activated by:
- Intense fatigue.
- An infectious disease.
- An emotional shock.
- A diet imbalance.
- Weakened immune system.
- A violent traumatism.
- Some wounds.
- Intense sunlight/excessive sun exposure.
The HSV 1 appears usually on the lips or around the mouth. But it may sometimes affect the gums too. This is no reason though, to confuse cold sores with mouth ulcers (canker sores)! Mouth ulcers appear on the soft tissue, on the inside of the mouth. They can be very painful. Unlike cold sores, mouth ulcers heal faster and they’re not contagious.
The symptoms or signs of a cold sore that can be soothed with essential oils are:
- The usual cluster of red blisters.
- Mouth (lip) pain.
- Lip swelling.
- Tongue pain and/or swelling.
- Sore throat.
- This is generally because water drinking is painful if the throat aches.
Luckily, all these symptoms can be managed with some good essential oils for cold sores. Their anti-inflammatory, antiviral and pain killing effects will help with most symptoms.
The development stages of cold sores:
- Stinging, itching and burning around the mouth or on the lips.
- Pain soon follows, as well as high body temperature.
- It follows their full development.
- Then they burst open and ooze. That’s when they’re highly contagious.
- Soon after, a crust starts to form and close the sores.
- It all ends with the falling off of the scab/crust. A process that may take up to 2 weeks.
If left untreated, the virus may lead to complications. But that doesn’t happen as often as one might think. People with weakened immune systems are more prone to complications caused by the herpes simplex virus.
The virus may spread to other parts of the body (hands, fingers and eyelids). The cold sore infection may also spread to the brain and cause encephalitis. But this is part of the extremely rare cases though.
Most of the times, using essential oils for cold sores can be enough to prevent or treat fever blisters. Plus, they also heal alone, even if it takes more time. Nonetheless, it’s always wise to see a doctor too.
Cold Sores Prevention Tips
If you’ve got recurrent fever blisters, they’ll usually form in the same spot. Here are a few things you can do to prevent further infections.
- Use and diffuse antiviral essential oils for fever blisters periodically. They can keep the virus at bay or inactive.
- Manage and control the level of stress in your life.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure.
- Also, avoid eating too much chocolate, nuts (of all kinds) and peas.
- The herpes simplex virus can settle on all mucus membranes of the body. The risk is especially high during intercourse.
- Wash your hands after each contact with the affected area.
- Do not kiss or touch anyone while healing from a cold sore.
- Try to avoid sharing towels, cutlery, makeup, etc. with others.
- Avoid touching sensitive areas that are also prone to herpes infection (genitals, eyes, etc.).
Fever blisters are not fun, especially since they can come back again and again. Basically, if you have it, anything can activate the virus infection. This is why you need to rest well, take vitamin supplements, eat balanced and manage the stress in your life. If they don’t prevent the infection, these changes may at least help you heal faster and get fewer episodes.
Diffusing essential oils for cold sores is always a good idea. They can prevent the activation of the cold-sore virus or speed up its healing.
Do you have a preferred natural remedy for fever blisters (cold sores)?