How To Get Rid Of A Cold Sore Naturally—And Fast

I get cold sores, aka Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1), and if you’re among the population that gets them (after all, half the population has tested positive for HSV-1 antibodies, according to a 2013 Journal of Infectious Diseases study), you know how embarrassing, painful and overall annoying they can be. I’ve tried everything—from just about every product on the market to prescription (pricy!) Zovirax. I’ve found that Blistex—probably the cheapest cold sore remedy out there—often works best.

But then I started reading about natural methods to get rid of cold sores, many of which promise that they’ll clear up cold sores in just a few days. I haven’t been able to test these out yet, but will the next time a cold sore strikes.

1. Peppermint Essential Oil

I’m a huge fan of peppermint essential oil, so this’ll be the first remedy I try next time a cold sore appears. Plus, peppermint essential oil has lots of other therapeutic effects, like the way it reduces anxiety and eliminates headaches, and smells lovely to boot.

peppermint photo
Photo by ewen and donabel

2. Geranium Oil

Other people swear by geranium oil to get rid of a cold sore, which you can apply with a cotton ball or Q-tip.

geranium photo
Photo by wplynn

3. Aloe Vera Gel

Who knew that you could grow your own cold sore medicine right at home? Just take some aloe vera gel and apply it right onto the cold sore. As you may know, aloe’s great against burns, cuts and skin issues, so it makes sense that it works against cold sores, too.

aloe vera photo
Photo by Herbolario Allium:

4. Milk

Yep, milk. Not only will it help with the pain, but it should quicken the healing, as well. Just let a glass of whole milk sit out for about 10 minutes (other sources say 1 percent or whatever you’ve got on hand will work, too) and then soak a cloth in the milk. Apply it against the sore for at least 10 minutes. (And if you don’t want to waste the remaining milk, you can drink it afterward. A win-win!)

milk photo
Photo by JeepersMedia

5. Tea Tree Oil

A coworker of mine used to swear by tea tree oil for her cold sores, and many people agree with her. You can apply it right onto the sore 3-4 times a day. But be sure to apply with caution and not to get it into your mouth, as it’s toxic (which may deter you from trying it, as it would me).

tea tree oil photo
Photo by .angels.