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Cold Sore Treatments

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Your best offense is a strong defense! Maintaining a strong, healthy immune system + avoiding known triggers can help you avoid outbreaks or reduce their duration if they do occur. Ensure a healthy diet, balanced lifestyle, and high-quality restorative sleep to help your system keep the cold sore virus in check.

Medical Treatments

Depending on your age, overall health, and personal preferences, treatment options may include topical antiviral creams and/or oral antiviral medications.

Natural Treatments

Many natural compounds including herbs and dietary supplements may be beneficial and provide supportive therapy, both to help avoid recurrence as well as reduce severity or duration if an outbreak occurs.

Though there is no known cure for eradicating the virus from the nervous system, the good news is that outbreaks tend to become milder and less frequent over time, as the immune system establishes a new equilibrium with the virus present.

Topical Support - these can be applied directly to cold sore:

Aloe vera gel - soothing, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, healing

Licorice root salve - antiviral action, anti-inflammatory, healing

Essential Oils: Lemon Balm (Melissa), Ravensara - antiviral action

St. John’s Wort Oil - antiviral action, helps repair and protect nerves

Herbs & Supplements


Lysine is an essential amino acid, which means that the body is unable to manufacture it itself and must, therefore, obtain it through the diet or by supplementation. Research has shown that lysine decreases replication of the virus associated with cold sores and blisters, which may help lessen the severity of outbreaks and their duration. Lysine is often used for prophylaxis to help prevent cold sore recurrence, as well as during an active infection. Suggested dosage during an active infection is four grams daily in two divided doses.

St. John's Wort

St. John’s wort may help alleviate associated nerve pain and strengthen the nervous system overall. It can be used as an infused oil applied topically to the affected area, as well as oral supplementation of a herbal extract. St. John’s wort provides a calming effect to the nervous system, which may help reduce outbreaks as the cold sore virus is often activated when under stress.

Licorice root

Licorice root contains a compound called ‘glycyrrhizin’ which has been shown to reduce inflammation and soothe irritation of the mucous membranes. Licorice is also recognized for its ability to regulate the stress hormone cortisol, which may play a role in stress-related cold sore outbreaks.

Baical Skullcap, Huang Qin

This species of Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) is a perennial herb native to northern China and to Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia. It is a highly valued herb that has been used in traditional Asian medicine for over 2000 years for supporting the nervous system. Huang Qin, as it also known, is considered to ‘open the channels’ (meridians) and ‘clear heat’ (inflammation, infection) to help detoxify the body.

Suggested Products

Trilex™ Cold Sore Remedy

Herp Gold

St. John's Wort

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Paulina Nelega, MLT, RH

Registered Clinical Herbalist

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