5 Home Remedies to Help Treat Cold Sores

The instant you notice the first symptoms of a cold sore, you’ll be ready to start fighting. After all, practically all of these remedies are already in your home!
5 Home Remedies to Help Treat Cold Sores
Karla Henríquez

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Karla Henríquez.

Written by Ángela Aragón

Last update: 30 May, 2022

Cold sores are an unpredictable and annoying problem. Luckily, they don’t pose a serious risk to your health, but no one wants to be seen with this type of wound on their lip. If you ever get cold sores, you’ve probably found yourself wondering if there are any home remedies to help deal with them. But first, it’s worth learning a bit more.

At the beginning of an outbreak especially, cold sores cause burning and pain that prevents you from eating or speaking comfortably.

Plus, you often have to use creams or ointments that can make them look even worse. So, it’s completely understandable that something so apparently harmless and insignificant can cause such discomfort.

There’s also no definitive theory as to why we get them. The unfortunate truth is that this is a virus that you get for life.

But, for the record, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to have cold sores all the time. You can actually have this virus without ever showing any symptoms.

Once the symptoms do show up, though, you usually will have more than outbreak over the course of your life. Triggers can include things like:

  • Stress
  • A weakened immune system
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Fever

In these instances, most people apply chemical ointments to the affected area. But today, we’re going to show you some home remedies you can use to help treat your cold sores without relying too much on chemicals.

The best home remedies for cold sores

1. Rub garlic on the sore

It might seem strange, but it’s really very reasonable. It’s definitely one of the simplest (and smelliest) home remedies to help treat your cold sores.

Garlic has impressive antibiotic and antiviral powers. So, simply rubbing garlic over a cold sore blister is a highly effective solution.

Don’t worry if it stings at first – it won’t last long and it’ll help you get rid of that unsightly cold sore.

2. Milk

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. This means that one of the potential triggers could just be an unbalanced diet.

Keep in mind that you get two essential amino acids through the food you eat: lysine and arginine. Lysine generally prevents cold sores from forming, while arginine feeds the virus and causes it to reactivate.

Milk is rich in lysine, so it’s a great thing to use if you want to alleviate and prevent the onset of cold sores.
What should you do?

  • To take advantages of the benefits of milk, dip a cotton ball in it and apply it to the affected area on a regular basis until it disappears.
  • This might be a more attractive method for getting rid of a cold sore, since it doesn’t come with a bad smell.

But in the end, they’re both good solutions.

3. Aloe vera

The gel from the aloe vera plant can help dry and heal a cold sore. To achieve the desired effect, you have two options.

You can buy aloe at a natural store and apply it with a cotton swab.

However, if you have the plant at home all you need to do is open the leaf and rub some the gel on the sore.

In no time, this simple technique will help you get rid of your cold sore without chemicals, odors, or pain.

4. Table salt and water

This method takes a bit more effort, but it’s very effective. As you know, salt is exceptional for healing, so don’t forget to use it if you have this problem!

What should you do?

  • Place a pinch of salt on the tip of a wet finger.
  • Place your finger over the sore for two minutes.
  • Moisten a cotton ball in warm, salted water and press it to your lips for a few minutes.
  • Repeat this procedure until the sore heals.

5. Increase your intake of vitamins C and E

Combining good nutrition with the solutions we described above is your best bet.

To speed up your recovery and strengthen your immune system, you have to increase your consumption of the following:

  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Avocados

In specialty stores, you can also buy pure vitamin E made for applying directly to your skin.

We recommend following a diet that contains plenty of these vitamins to prevent cold sores, especially during the changing of the seasons.

With these simple tips, treating a cold sore will be a much less painful process for your body. Plus, you won’t have to wait until you can get to a pharmacy to start your treatment.

The instant you notice the first symptoms, you’ll be ready to fight cold sores with these simple home remedies.

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.

  • Weber, N. D., Andersen, D. O., North, J. A., Murray, B. K., Lawson, L. D., & Hughes, B. G. (1992). In vitro virucidal effects of Allium sativum (garlic) extract and compounds. Planta Medica. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-961504
  • Snoussi, M., Trabelsi, N., Dehmeni, A., Benzekri, R., Bouslama, L., Hajlaoui, B., … Papetti, A. (2016). Phytochemical analysis, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Allium roseum var. odoratissimum (Desf.) Coss extracts. Industrial Crops and Products. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indcrop.2016.05.048
  • Das, S. (2011). Exploitation of antiviral activity of traditionally used medicinal plants. Journal of Antivirals and Antiretrovirals.

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