20 Best 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 blends for cold sores remedies
  • How to use these essential oils properly so that you won’t experience any unpleasant side effects

What Causes Cold Sores?

Cold sores or fever blisters have nothing to do with cold or fever and take up to 10 days to recover naturally.

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].

Once you have a cold sore, you become incredibly contagious. People coming in contact with you can get these too if they are prone to HSV. So, no kissing your loved ones until the yellow crusts over the blisters fall off completely.

But, the thing is not all of us are vulnerable to HSV virus.

Only 90% of the people get affected by it. If you are blessed, you will get it once, and your body will grow an immune system against it.

The cold sores can make you severely self-conscious and turn you into a PR nightmare.

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. Take these home remedies to save yourselves the pain, itchiness, and irritation. Following these, you can protect others from the risk of getting the sore as well.

Related: 12 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Cold Sores Naturally

What are Essential Oils?

If you are somebody whose olfactory nerves are working correctly, you must have smelled the beautiful aroma or fragrance of any flowers, fruits or plants now and then. [3]

These smells are naturally occurring volatile aromatic compounds. We find these in different parts of the plant, say, seed, stem, flower, kernel, root, leaves, flowers or any other part. [4]

These aromatic compounds are called essential oil and are volatile. Due to the volatile nature of this oil, if stored, these oils start losing their fragrances gradually. [5,6]

Scientists have identified around 3000 different types of essential oils until this day. Most of these are helpful for humans in different ways.

We use a number of these for DIY skin, hair care products, and various home remedies. [7]

If you are somebody whose olfactory nerves are working correctly, you must have smelled the beautiful aroma or fragrance of any flowers, fruits or plants now and then. [6]

These smells are naturally occurring volatile aromatic compounds. We find these in different parts of the plant, say, seed, stem, flower, kernel, root, leaves, flowers or any other part. [7]

These aromatic compounds are called essential oil and are volatile. Due to the volatile nature of this oil, if stored, these oils start losing their fragrances gradually. [6,7]

Scientists have identified around 3000 different types of essential oils until this day. Most of these are helpful for humans in different ways.

You can use these for DIY skin and hair care products, and various home remedies. [8]

20 Best Essential Oils for Treating Cold Sores Naturally

The anti-viral qualities of different essential oils help to fight the symptoms and severity of cold sores. In some cases, use of essential oil can reduce the number of days, the infection lasts.

In most of the cases, using essential oils are better than using antibiotic, as essential oils have fewer side effects.

Here are 19 essential oil remedies which work miracles while managing cold sores:

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:

  • 2 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

12. Chamomile Oil

It would be wise if you start using chamomile essential oil, as soon as you feel the first sign of cold sore.

This essential oil decreases the amount of herpes absorption into the skin at a different rate than antibiotics. Moreover, this oil fights the drug-resistant strains of herpes and helps to soothe the skin when applied.

Using the diluted version of this essential oil will alleviate the pain and heal the sore quickly.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 drops of chamomile oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute chamomile oil in the carrier oil
  • Apply it on the cold sores using a cotton ball.
  • Repeat daily till you get relief.

13. Oregano Oil

Pop quiz for you. How often do you see any insects or pests on the oregano plant?

The answer is, almost never. The reason behind it is, essential oregano oil has extreme anti-microbial quality. [13]

Applying diluted oregano oil with sterilized cotton on your sore will kill the virus inside the blister. Moreover, if used in a severe case, it will alleviate the severity of the situation in no time and soothe the pain and inflammation. [13]

While essential oregano oil is one of the most effective ways of managing cold sores, it is far more expensive than the other remedies.

But, do not shy away from it, if you have a severe cold sore and are ready to spend accordingly to get rid of it as soon as possible. It will be worth it!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 drops of oregano oil
  • Cotton ball

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour oregano oil on a fresh cotton ball.
  • Apply the oil on the inflamed areas.
  • Repeat regularly to get rid of cold sores fast.

14. Geranium Oil

Geranium is another essential oil that you can use for cold sores. This oil possesses astringent, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. [14]

This oil is mostly used to restore skin balance. In case of cold sores, it is used to dry up the blister and promotes quick healing. On the top of that, it can shrink the size of the blister in no time.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 drops of geranium oil
  • Some water
  • Cotton ball

Recommended Directions:

  • If you have sensitive skin, mix 3-4 drops of water with 2-3 drops of the essential oil, before applying it on the sore. Keep using, until the condition is gone.

15. Hyssop Oil

Hyssop essential oil comes from Hyssop tree, which is abundant in Mediterranean region.

It is one of the mildest natural oils there are. So, if you have sensitive skin, this is the perfect solution for you. You can apply this essential oil directly on the sore. [15,16]

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 drops of hyssop oil

Recommended Directions:

  • You can apply the oil directly on the sores using a cotton ball.
  • You can also add 2-3 drops of hyssop oil to your herbal tea and soothe your cold sores.

16. Myrrh Oil

We get myrrh essential oil by drying up the resin which the farmers gather from the Commiphora Myrrha tree.

Along with having many medicinal properties, myrrh essential oil works magic against cold sore, and if you use it, you can avoid the risk of further scarring. [17]

You should use the diluted version of myrrh essential oil and wash your face properly before applying the essential oil.

You can use this 2-3 time a day until the scar fades away.

17. Bergamot Oil

You can use a diluted version of bergamot essential oil to fight against outbreaks of cold sores.

Some people claim that bergamot is toxic and can be the reason for child death. The claims are baseless and irresponsible. [18] You can add the oil extracted from the peel for managing your cold sore problem.

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 drops of bergamot oil
  • 5ml of carrier oil (olive or jojoba oil)

Recommended Directions:

  • Apply the diluted mix of the oils around your cold sore.

18. Anise Oil

The anise essential oil can be one of your remedy options when it comes to the cold sore. This specific essential oil possesses antispasmodic and anti-viral property. [19]

You need to make sure, whether you are allergic to it or not. Initially, apply the diluted version of it.

If your skin does not show any sign of irritation, you can go ahead and apply 2-3 drop of the crude oil on the sore. If you use it correctly, you will not even feel the slightest tingle of these annoying and disgusting blisters.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2-3 drops of anise essential oil

Recommended Directions:

  • In case you don’t have a sensitive skin, apply the oil directly on the sores using a cotton ball.

19. Thieves Oil

Thieves oil is not one of your directly extracted essential oil. Instead, it is a complex essential oil blend. Cinnamon, clove, rosemary, lemon, and eucalyptus are the main ingredients of this essential oil blend.

We are blending here 5 different essential oils, each of which separately contains medicinal characteristics like antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

It is easily understandable that how rich the blend is as per pharmaceutical properties. Some people find it to be the best remedy for cold sores, as it is all in one type of deal. You can opt for this if you have all these ingredients handy.

Apply the blend with Q-tip on and around the affected area.

20. Synergistic Blend

This is another one of these essential oil blends.

This blend also contains various pharmaceutical properties and ideal for cold sore


You are going to need 8 drops of tea tree oil, 6 drops of chamomile oil, 3-4 drops of

lavender oil, 3 drops of lemon oil and 8 drops of geranium essential oil.

What You’ll Need:

  • 8 drops of tea tree oil
  • 6 drops of chamomile oil
  • 3-4 drops of lavender oil
  • 3 drops of lemon oil
  • 8 drops of geranium essential oil
  • Air tight glass container

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix all the oils and preserve the oil blend in a container.
  • You can soak a Q-tip on the oil and treat cold sores whenever you need it.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Using Essential Oils for Cold Sores

  • There are numerous essential oils out there with the same pharmaceutical property. Not each one of these will work for you. Again, if something works for someone else, does not necessarily mean, it would work for you as well. So, find out which suits your skin and use only these to avoid further skin problems.
  • Always use a sterilizes and clean cotton swab or bud to apply the essential oil on your skin. Do not forget to dispose of the used cotton bud or swab and be very careful so that the used swab does not touch any of your body parts.
  • In case of strong essential oils, use water or carrier oils like olive oil and coconut oil to dilute the oil before using.
  • In case of having sensitive skin, you should dilute even the milder oils, just to be safe.
  • If your cold sore is severe, painful, and does not go away even after using home remedies, you need to see a doctor.

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 oil home 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.

Read Next: 19 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Cold Sores Naturally