Fight Cold Sores with 5 Natural Treatments

Although cold sores are a chronic infection whose symptoms will disappear on their own after a week or two, you can try some natural treatments to alleviate discomfort and speed up the healing process
Fight Cold Sores with 5 Natural Treatments
Maricela Jiménez López

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 26 May, 2022

Cold sores are the most common form of the herpes virus. They’re characterized by the appearance of small blisters on the surface of the lips, which are highly contagious.

This infection is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), one of the most widespread herpes viruses in the world.

Cold sores are often accompanied by a fever or allergies, but the symptoms disappear after a few days without producing any serious complications.

The level of discomfort can vary from person to person depending on how strong your immune system response is.

These symptoms can be controlled with some topical treatments that will speed up the healing of the affected tissue.

How are cold sores spread?

Cold sores are caused by an infection of the herpes simplex virus. This microorganism only produces the disease in humans.

Its transmission mainly occurs through contact between people through saliva, the skin, or the lips. The virus can also be transmitted indirectly, by sharing items for personal use for example, such as lipstick, towels, or soap.

If a person has visible herpes sores, the potency of the virus is considerably stronger and there’s a greater chance of infection.

Most people become infected during childhood, but because the virus remains in the body, outbreaks can occur at any time in life.

Symptoms of cold sores

cold sores
The main symptom of a cold sore is a reddish sore or blister that may contain a yellowish, clear fluid.

Before the sore appears, however, you may experience:

  • An itching sensation on the lips or the skin around the lips,
  • Burning on the lips,
  • Tingling on or around the lips,
  • A sore throat,
  • Mild fever,
  • Swelling of your lymph nodes,
  • Natural treatments to fight cold sores.

Most of the time, cold sore symptoms disappear by themselves over the course of one or two weeks. Some natural treatments can be used to control the discomfort and speed up the healing, however.

Let’s take a look at some!


1-Black tea

Black tea
The tannins contained in black tea help speed up the recovery of the skin around the lips when there are sores caused by herpes.


  • 1 teaspoon of black tea (5 g)
  • 1/2 cup of water (125 ml)


  • Add the black tea to half a cup of boiling water and let it steep.

Mode of application

  • When the beverage cools, dip a piece of cotton and soak the affected area.
  • Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse.
  • Repeat this process twice a day.

2-Plain yogurt and lemon

The probiotics in plain yogurt are useful for regulating the pH of the skin around your lips. These substances enhance your body’s defenses and help fight the virus that causes this infection.


  • 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt (60 g)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (5 ml)


  • Combine the yogurt with the lemon juice and place it in the fridge to cool.

Mode of application

  • When it’s cold, apply this treatment to the affected area.
  • Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse.
  • Use this treatment twice a day.

3-Green tomato and baking soda

Green tomato and baking soda
A green tomato mask with baking soda can help stop the herpes infection and speed up the recovery of the skin around your lips.


  • 1/2 of a green tomato
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda (5 g)


  • Cut the tomato in half and mix it with the baking soda.

Mode of application

  • Rub this treatment on your lips and around the edges, and let it act for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water and repeat twice a day.

4-Apple cider vinegar and honey

The organic acids in apple cider vinegar combined with the antiviral compounds in honey help stop the symptoms of cold sores.



  • Mix the apple cider vinegar and honey.

Mode of application

  • Apply this treatment to the affected area and leave it on for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse and repeat this process three times a day.

5-Salt and tea tree oil

Salt and tea tree oil
Salt contains antiseptic properties that help disinfect your skin. Its compounds work well with the antimicrobial and antiviral powers of tea tree oil to fight a cold sore outbreak.


  • 1 teaspoon of salt (5 g)
  • 4 drops of tea tree oil


  • Mix the salt and tea tree oil together.

Mode of application

  • Apply this treatment to your lips gently.
  • Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse.
  • Use this twice a day.

Choose the treatment that looks the most appealing to you and give your skin some extra help against the infection. If you are unable to control it, use an antiviral treatment prescribed by a doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.