11 Essential Oils for Cold Sores Relief: Benefits and User Guides

Do you have red inflamed blisters around your mouth?

It’s possible that you have cold sores.

Also called fever blisters, cold sores are marked by clusters of red, swollen and painful blisters on the lips or around the mouth that may break or leak fluid [1].

This problem can heal on its own within a few days or up to two weeks. You can use essential oils for cold sores to get relief fast at home.

In this article, you’re going to learn:

  • What causes cold sores
  • How to combat this viral infection with the use of essential oils
  • How to prepare essential oil for cold sores remedies to control the spread of the infection
  • How to use these essential oils properly so that you won’t experience any unpleasant side effects

What Causes Cold Sores

Cold sores are caused by a viral infection of the herpes simplex virus [2].

This virus comes in two types: herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) and herpes simplex type 2 virus (HSV-2) [2].

The HSV-1 is the more common cause of cold sores [2].

This viral infection is highly contagious and can be transmitted from one person to another through kissing or sharing of utensils [2].

It’s a good thing that this condition can be treated using natural remedies such as essential oils.

Essential Oils for Cold Relief

Following is a list of essential oils for cold sores relief with recipes and user guides. Let’s take a look at these.

1. Peppermint Oil

Most people know peppermint oil for the cooling effect that it leaves on the skin.

It’s also popular as a breath freshener.

It’s about time that people get to know more about what this versatile essential oil can do for your health.

This oil is obtained from an herb that belongs to the mint family [3].

Scientific research has shown that it has numerous therapeutic effects such as treating dyspepsia, alleviating irritable bowel syndrome, and reducing colonic spasm [3].

Its primary compound called menthol also produces relaxation effects in the gastrointestinal tract, which is why it is deemed helpful in many digestive related problems [3].

For those who are suffering from cold sores, peppermint oil can also come in handy.

In a study that was conducted in the University of Heidelberg in Germany, researchers analyzed the virucidal properties of peppermint oil against herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 using a method called plaque reduction assay [4].

It was found that at 0.002 and 0.0008 percent of peppermint oil, it successfully reduced HSV-1 and HSV-2 activities by up to 50 percent [4].

Apart from this, this oil decreased viral plaque formation by 82 percent and 92 percent respectively [4].

This goes to show that peppermint oil has “high levels of virucidal activities” against both viruses [4].

That’s not all.

This oil also works to inhibit even drug-resistant viruses, which makes it a suitable treatment for recurrent cases of cold sores [4].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the two oils in a bowl.
  • Use a cotton bud to apply the mixture on cold sores.
  • Leave it on for at least one hour before wiping it off.
  • Repeat once a day for up to one week.

Also Read: 8 Reasons to Use Peppermint Oil for Hair

2. Tea Tree Oil

In Australia, tea tree oil is one of the most frequently used home remedies.

The popularity of this oil as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial has also spread to other parts of the world in the recent years.

Now, it’s commonly used in countries in Europe, Asia, and North America.

If you’re having a hard time dealing with those painful blisters around your mouth, you might want to try using tea tree oil.

In a 2001 study, researchers assessed the antiviral properties of tea tree oil against herpes simplex virus [5].

It was discovered that at a minimum concentration of 0.0006 percent, tea tree oil can effectively neutralize viral growth and spread by up to 50 percent [5].

The viral suspension tests showed that tea tree oil has strong toxicity effects on herpes viruses, killing these microorganisms and preventing them from forming plaques [5].

Like peppermint oil, it is also a good solution for cold sores that keep on coming back.

In another study done in the same year, tea tree oil was used topically on the cold sores of patients with compromised immune systems [6].

It was concluded that recurrent herpes attacks can be resolved with the topical application of 6 percent tea tree oil gel [6].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute tea tree oil with olive oil.
  • Using a cotton pad, dab mixture on the affected areas around the mouth.
  • Press gently.
  • Repeat remedy three times a day for one week, or until fever blisters are gone.

Also Read: 12 Incredible Health Benefits of Tea Tree Oil (Backed by Evidence)

3. Eucalyptus Oil

Scientists have long acknowledged the important role of eucalyptus in alternative medicine.

Highly effective in combating respiratory ailments like tuberculosis, asthma, COPD, and bronchitis, eucalyptus oil is the go-to solution when these problems set in.

It has been confirmed in research that the oil is capable of dilating the blood vessels to let more oxygen get into the lungs, and in turn, alleviate difficulty in breathing.

Chest congestion, as you know, is one of the major problems encountered by those who are diagnosed with respiratory diseases.

For cases of cold sores, you can also use eucalyptus oil.

Its antiviral activities against herpes simplex virus type 1 have been validated in the same study that investigated tea tree oil [5].

According to the findings of the study, eucalyptus oil at 0.0008 percent can inhibit the activities of HSV-1 by 50 percent [5].

It can also control plaque formation by up to 93 percent [5].

That’s how potent this essential oil is so it’s safe to say that it can be a reliable solution even for chronic cases of herpes oral infections.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 5 drops of eucalyptus oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Add eucalyptus oil to olive oil.
  • Apply oil blend on the skin around the mouth.
  • Let it sit for one hour before wiping it off.
  • Be sure not to get any inside the mouth.
  • Do this technique twice a day for one to two weeks.

4. Sandalwood Oilsandalwood-oil-acne

When you’re having a hard time focusing, or when you’re all stressed out, sandalwood can help.

This oil helps by calming your senses and giving you a clearer perspective of things.

It can also do so much in improving your overall physical health.

There are so many therapeutic benefits that you can get from sandalwood oil.

Here’s one that’s quite surprising though:

It’s also a potent antiviral agent.

Researchers from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina report that they tested the antiviral activities of sandalwood oil against both HSV-1 and HSV-2 [7].

They discovered that the oil inhibited the replication of both types of viruses [7].

Its effects were more potent against HSV-1 [7].

It’s interesting to know though that sandalwood does not kill or destroy the microorganisms but only neutralizes them and prevents them from spreading and multiplying [7].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 5 drops of sandalwood oil
  • 1 tablespoon of organic facial cream

Recommended Directions:

  • Add both oils to organic facial cream.
  • Mix well.
  • Apply the cream on the skin with fever blisters.
  • Do this every night before sleeping.
  • Rinse the cream the next day when you wake up.
  • Repeat every day until the cold sores disappear.

5. Clove Oilclove-oil-for-scabie

When a toothache hits you, the first remedy you’ll probably think of using is clove oil.

This is because clove oil contains compounds that are naturally analgesic.

This means that it can provide immediate relief from pain and discomfort.

It can do the same thing for you if you are bothered by the appearance of cold sores around your mouth.

As you’ll probably agree, these swollen blisters are quite painful and distressing.

However, this is not all the clove oil can do for you.

It also has the ability to inactive the replication of the virus, as reported in a study published in the Phytotherapy Research Journal in 2007 [8].

Eugenol, the active compound in clove oil, was responsible for inhibiting the various strains of HSV-1 [8].

Its antiviral activity was stronger compared to the other compounds tested in the study [8].

When eugenol was present, the viruses were incapable of replicating [8].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of clove oil
  • 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine clove oil and aloe vera gel.
  • Blend well.
  • Using a cotton pad or ball, spot applies the mixture to your cold sores.
  • Spread it evenly on the other parts of the skin to prevent infection.
  • Do this three to four times a day for one week.

6. Lemon Balm Oil

Lemon balm is a perennial plant that was first cultivated in Asia Minor, southern parts of Europe and North America [9].

As it has become increasingly popular as a home remedy, it has also become widely distributed in the Mediterranean regions [9].

This herb is used not only as traditional medicine but also as a food additive, ornamental plant, an ingredient in cosmetic products [9].

Its essential oil has been proven highly effective in combating tumors, controlling bacterial infections, soothing pain, and even prevent serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease [9].

German researchers also discovered that it has strong inhibitory effects against herpes simplex viruses [10].

According to the report, the monoterpene aldehydes citral in lemon balm oil was effective in suppressing the activities of the herpes virus [10].

At a dilution of 0.0004 percent, lemon balm inhibited the activities of the virus by 50 percent, and their plaque formation by 98.8 percent [10].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of lemon balm oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils.
  • Apply oil blend on infected lesions.
  • Repeat remedy twice a day for one week.


7. Marjoram Oil

Marjoram oil may not be as popular as tea tree oil or peppermint oil when it comes to treating ailments.

However, it’s good to know that it also has many valuable uses for people’s health.

If you’d like to get rid of your cold sores, this is another essential oil that can help for this purpose.

A 2003 Japanese study reveals that all the essential oils tested including marjoram oil inhibited the growth and spread of HSV-1 at a concentration of 1 percent [11].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of marjoram oil
  • 2 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Mix well.
  • Apply the mixture on the cold sores.
  • Leave it on for one hour before washing it off.
  • Repeat twice a day for one week.

8. Lemongrass Oil

In Aromatherapy, lemongrass oil is used to treat bacterial infections, keep insects at bay, alleviate muscle pains, and boost digestion.

When it comes to cold sores, it’s one of the most effective essential oils that you should try.

In a Japanese study that investigated the anti-herpes properties of many essential oils, it was found that lemongrass oil has the most potent effect [11].

It was confirmed that at a concentration of 0.05 percent, lemongrass can inhibit the viral formation by up to 80 percent [11].

What You’ll Need:

  • 10 drops of lemongrass oil
  • 2 bowls of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Add lemongrass oil to water.
  • Splash your face with this mixture.
  • Wash your face with this every day for one to two weeks.

9. Ginger Oil

Ginger is commonly used as a spice in Asian cuisine.

What makes it even more popular apart from its pungent taste and aroma is the fact that it’s replete with all sorts of benefits for the health.

Its oil extract, meanwhile, has been found to have antiviral effects that work on those strains that cause herpes infections.

A 2006 study confirms that HSV-1 is highly susceptible to the antiviral effects of ginger and that it works even on strains that have grown resistant to medications [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of ginger oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute ginger oil with almond oil.
  • Apply oil combination on cold sores.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Follow this remedy once a day for one week.

Also Read: 10 Health Benefits of Ginger Oil That You Should Know About

10. Thyme Oil

The leaves and flowers of thyme are often used for treating stomach ache, arthritis, colic, cough, bloating and diarrhea.

Its oil extract meanwhile can be an excellent solution for herpes infections.

Thyme oil is one of the essential oils tested for antiviral activities against HSV-1 [12].

It was found that all the essential oils possessed strong virucidal activity against strains of HSV-1 that have grown resistant to acyclovir [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of thyme oil
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine thyme oil and honey.
  • Apply to cold sores.
  • After 10 minutes, wash it off with warm water.
  • Repeat every other day for one week.

11. Lavender Oil

lavender essential oil, one of the most widely used essential oils all over the world can come to your benefit to get rid of cold sores.

The use of this oil has been going on for centuries to deal with many serious health problems. Lavender oil possesses strong properties to fight off skin irritations, rashes, and bruises.

Some studies show its amazing performance in treating skin problems associated with pain and inflammation. You can use this oil for your cold sores without any worries.

Lavender oil will help to reduce the pain and provide relief from the inflammation of the sores.

What You’ll Need:

  • Two drops of lavender oil

Recommended Directions:

  • If you are using lavender oil for the first time in your life, you should better dilute it with a little carrier oil and apply to check for reactions. If it suits you well, you can opt for undiluted lavender oil and apply directly to the cold sores.
  • Repeat daily till you get relief.

Also Read: 11 Health Benefits of Lavender Oil That You Should Know

Bottom Line

Cold sores should be treated immediately.

Even if this problem can sometimes be resolved without treatment, it’s better not to take any chances.

Use the essential oils for cold sores remedies mentioned in this article to get rid of this condition.

Hope this article was helpful to you. Use these remedies and share with us your experience. Also, if you have any questions or confusions, feel free to ask us by leaving a comment in the comments section below.

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