Cold Sore Solutions
By Ann Nix
Five natural treatments that really work

Cold sores are painful and often embarrassing. These small blisters that occur around the lips and mouth are commonly confused with canker sores. However, unlike canker sores, they’re contagious. They’re caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus (not the type 2 virus that causes genital herpes). The virus can be picked up by kissing someone with a blister, or just by touching something an infected person has come in contact with, such as dishes or towels.

Without treatment, cold sores typically last seven to 10 days—which can feel like an eternity to the cold-sore sufferer. These natural remedies (and accompanying product suggestions) help cold sores heal and disappear fast.


1. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), an herb from the mint family, has antiviral and calming properties. In a German study, lemon balm cream was shown to cut cold sore healing time in half—just five days, compared to 10 days in a control group. It contains a chemical compound called eugenol that has antiviral properties and also helps to numb tissues and reduce pain.

Enzymatic Therapy Cold Sore Relief with Allantoin provides soothing relief for any stage of a cold sore, and also contains lemon balm.


2. Lysine
Lysine is an essential amino acid used to make the protein needed to produce infection-fighting antibodies. Supplements and topical applications of lysine have been found to inhibit the spread of the herpes simplex virus. In a study from Southern California University, a topical lysine ointment healed cold sores in three days in 40 percent of study participants, and in 87 percent in six days.

Solgar L-Lysine 1000 MG As a supplement, the recommended dosage for cold sores is 1,000 mg, three times per day.


3. Oil of Oregano
Oregano oil (Origanum vulgare) is known to be antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial. In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, oregano inhibited the replication of the herpes simplex type 1 virus. Oregano oil can be dabbed on cold sores every few hours, or as needed. It can also be taken internally when mixed with water; follow label instructions.

North American Herb & Spice Oreganol Super Strength is a concentrated extract of oregano oil from wild, non-GMO sources.


4. Bee propolis
Propolis is a resinous substance produced by bees to seal their hives and keep germs out. Research demonstrates that this strongly antibacterial and antimicrobial substance is active against herpes simplex type 1 virus. It is available in capsules, extracts, and ointments. Use according to label instructions.

Quantum Health
Super Lysine+ Cold Sore Treatment combines bee propolis with lysine and other soothing ingredients. It was shown in a clinical trial to reduce the duration of cold sores by 50%.


5. Reishi and Astragalus
Reishi mushroom has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. It is most commonly used to boost immunity, and preliminary research shows its antiviral properties help to inhibit the spread of the herpes virus. A typical dosage is 600 mg, once or twice a day. Its effects are enhanced when taken with the Chinese herb astragalus, which is also used to strengthen immunity.

NOW Foods Astragalus Plus Extract combines astragalus with reishi is based on an ancient Chinese formula used to fortify the body's defenses.

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