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How to Get Rid of Cold Sores Quickly

Updated on December 12, 2017
ChristinS profile image

Christin is a natural health and wellness advocate with 20 years' of experience studying and working in the health and supplement industry.

How to get rid of cold sores | fever blisters quickly and easily
How to get rid of cold sores | fever blisters quickly and easily

Natural Remedies for Fever Blisters

Cold sores, commonly called “fever blisters” are painful mouth sores that appear around the mouth. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). The sores are very common and highly contagious. By age ten, up to 60% of children are carriers of the virus.

Cold sores appear 3 days to a week after exposure to the virus and can last as long as three weeks. The virus that causes them remains in the body and will lie dormant until it is triggered again by a fever, viral infection, stress, or other depression of the immune system.

A typical outbreak lasts around 10 days, more severe outbreaks can last much longer.

Because cold sores are caused by a virus, there is no cure, however outbreaks can be prevented and shortened naturally by lifestyle choices, diet and nutritional recommendations and herbal remedies.

Cold sore outbreaks that occur frequently could be a sign of low thyroid function and should be checked out by a medical professional.

Developmental Stages of Cold Sores

The cold sore has six developmental stages. When you can catch them early, it is easier to minimize the duration and severity of the outbreak.

Stage one: the sore isn't visible yet, but there are itching or prickly sensations around the affected area

Stage two: redness in the area and swelling starts.

Stage three: blisters begin to form

Stage four: the sores begin to become painful and the sore begins to crust over as it enters the next stage.

Stage five: this stage lasts for several days and the ulcer is fully developed and crusted over with a hard scab.

Stage six: the sore can last for several more days, but is generally no longer scabbed over, but still red and swollen.

Nutrients and Supplements for Cold Sores

L-lysine: An amino acid that fights the virus that causes fever blisters. It should never be taken by pregnant women and should never be taken for longer than a few months at a time without a break.

B-complex vitamins: A good B-complex is a great supplement to take in general. B vitamins are used by the body for so many processes. They provide good energy, enhance metabolism and reduce stress. They are important for healing and for immune system function.

Vitamin C: The most important anti-oxidant for boosting immunity. It can be found naturally in many plant-based foods. You can also supplement with it during cold/flu season to keep your immunity high. Vitamin C works best when it is divided into several daily doses instead of taken all at once.

Acidophilus/Probiotics: Probiotics are found naturally in fermented foods. Illnesses deplete the body of “good bacteria” that help cleanse and protect the body. Supplements can help maintain good intestinal flora which in turn boosts immunity and inhibits the development of pathogenic organisms like the virus that causes cold sores.

Garlic: Eat it in your food (fresh is best) or take it in supplement form. Garlic, onions and other sulphur rich foods are amazing blood cleansers that act as natural immunity enhancers.

Zinc: Zinc lozenges are easily found during cold/flu season when cold sore outbreaks are most frequent. Zinc stimulates immune system function. Be careful to never overdose on zinc however as it can backfire and deplete the immune system when overused.

Eat a diet rich in raw fruits, vegetables and fermented foods that help give the body an adequate supply of nutrients and maintain healthy levels of intestinal flora.

Herbal Remedies for Fever Blisters

Herbs that help cleanse the blood and can prevent or reduce an outbreak include:

  • Red clover
  • Goldenseal
  • Pau d'arco
  • Echinacea
  • Astragalus.

Astragalus is my favorite because it can be taken for several months at a time to boost immunity and prevent illness. I take it throughout cold and flu season every year. The others in this list are for short term use only, particularly goldenseal which is extremely potent. Goldenseal can be taken for a week to ten days at a time. Echninacea should only be used in short bursts because it loses its effectiveness when taken long-term. Red clover is the mildest of these herbs and makes a delightful tea. It has a wide variety of nutrients and is used to treat many conditions.

Essential oils can be made into salves or creams easily and used to treat sores. Here is a recipe for comfrey salve that is very simple to make and is excellent for healing all types of skin sores. You can use the same base recipe and add any of the following oils to aid cold sores specifically: lemon balm (melissa oil) can minimize outbreaks and has anti-viral qualities (and it smells nice too!) tea tree is an excellent antiseptic, anti-viral oil good to keep on hand for a variety of purposes. Bergamot is also helpful and has a lovely citrusy smell.

Hinoki, also known as Japanese Cypress has the lingan yantein which has been shown to inhibit the herpes virus at the DNA level, preventing the virus from replicating.

Astragalus capsules are very affordable and very potent. They are a great supplement in the winter months especially to boost immunity and prevent contracting colds, the flu, and other viruses. I love the Nature's Way brand. I use the subscribe and save feature on Amazon Prime to save even more. Their products are affordable and potent.

Other Ways to Prevent Cold Sores

  • Avoid excessive sunlight which can trigger outbreaks
  • Take steps to reduce and manage stress. Stress often acts as a trigger.
  • Don't pucker up if your partner has a cold sore in any stage of development. They are super contagious and are easily spread by contact.
  • Wear a lip balm or gloss with SPF year round. It protects from the summer sun, but also the cold winter winds that can also trigger outbreaks.

How do you avoid cold sores? Do you have any tips or natural remedies I haven't included? Feel free to leave a comment!

© 2013 Christin Sander


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    • moonlake profile image


      5 years ago from America

      I use to get awful cold sores. They were painful and large and very embarrassing. The doctor gave me some pills I took for five days and I have not had one since I can feel one starting to come on but it never does show up. I did try every home remedy I could find but it didn't help. Voted up on your hub.

    • tebo profile image


      5 years ago from New Zealand

      I like your suggestions for combating cold sores. I suffer from this virus but find if I use SPF 15 lip balm all year round I can keep them at bay as you suggested. Your remedies if they do occur are very helpful thank you.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      5 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      I have heard that if all else fails you can mix a paste of boiled water with instant coffee powder at first sign of a cold sore and it should keep it at bay. Not as natural a solution as yours' but I have a friend who swears by it. Voted up, shared and pinned

    • elayne001 profile image


      5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I have found that I get a cold sore when I am run down and stressed. First thing is to rub it with frankincense botanical oil - it usually stops the progress. Otherwise, it usually has to take it's course and can be very painful. You have some great suggestions.


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