10 Essential Oils for Cold Sores for Effective Healing

Cold sores are commonly characterized as recurrent crusting lesions that affect the lips and the mouth. Often, cold sores are caused by herpes labialis – a viral infection of the mouth. Cold sores clinically represent a fluid-filled blister-like lesion that is highly contagious. The outbreak of the blisters leads to ulcer formation that is tender to touch. Often, the ulcers scab, creating an unpleasant crusted surface on the skin around the lips. Typically, the treatment of cold sores includes a full course of topical antiviral therapy that lasts for at least ten to 12 days.

However, there are alternative treatments that have proven to be active and soothing as compared to traditional medication therapy. One such treatment is the use of essential oils. Essential oils are natural extracts of herbs and plants that have fewer side effects as compared to the antiviral drug.


Moreover, essential oils provide instant pain relief and soothing effect. Some of the conventional essential oils used to treat cold sore include lavender, tea tree oil, lemon balm, and clove oil. Today’s article will highlight the treatment of cold sore with the ten best essential oils.

What is a cold sore?

Cold sores, commonly known as fever blisters, are highly contagious oral lesions that develop around the lips. Some of the common locations of cold sores include –

  • Lip commissures
  • Edge of the mouth – vermillion border
  • The lower portion of the nose

Typically, cold sores occur as painful fluid-filled blisters that break and form tender ulcers. As the ulcers heal, they scab and create a crusted appearance on the surface of the skin. Patients with cold sores complain of extreme pain and discomfort. (1)

What causes cold sore?

Cold sores are usually caused by herpes labialis – a viral infection of the mouth caused by herpes simplex virus – 1 (HSV-1). HSV-1 lesions are typically characterized as chronic conditions as the infective agent can permanently reside in the host’s body. this opportunistic virus has the potential to weaken the immune system and develop fever blisters, also known as cold sores. (2)

What are the ten essential oils that can heal cold sores?

Typically, ten essential oils show excellent results in healing cold sores. They are listed below –

Lavender oil

Lavender oil is one of the oldest natural remedies used for curing cold sores, skin irritations, and bruises. Lavender oil reduces pain and discomfort. Moreover, it is well known for decreasing the inflammation of the skin instantly.

Often lavender oil is diluted with a carrier oil to prevent any skin reaction for first-time users. However, it can be used as an undiluted mixture as well. Usually, one to two drops of lavender oil can be gently applied to the lesion.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint is well known for its ability to inhibit HSV-1 activity. Moreover, studies have revealed that peppermint oil is very effective in treating recurrent herpes infections. Usually, a few drops of peppermint oil can be diluted with almond oil and applied to the cold sore. (3)

Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus oil consists of anti-inflammatory properties, which instantly helps to subside the swelling caused by a cold sore. In doing so, eucalyptus speeds up the process of healing and cures cold sores within a few days. Eucalyptus oil is usually diluted with a carrier oil and applied on to the surface of the affected skin.

Chrysanthemum oil

Like eucalyptus oil, chrysanthemum is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is best used to treat small areas of the skin affected by cold sores. Like any other oil, the chrysanthemum is diluted in a carrier oil before application. (4)

Chamomile oil

Chamomile oil usually interrupts the absorption of herpes virus into the cells. It is beneficial for treating cold sores in patients who are resistant to antiviral drug therapy.

Clove oil

Clove is well known for its antimicrobial and antiviral activity against infectious agents. It is also a natural pain killer. However, clove oil, when applied directly, may cause mild skin irritation. Therefore, it must be diluted with gentle oils like coconut oil before application.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is used to kill or stop the growth of the herpes simplex virus. It is used with caution because tea tree oil is usually potent in its pure form. Therefore, it is diluted with a carrier oil to reduce skin irritation. (5)

Hyssop oil

Hyssop oil is an essential oil that decreases the viral activity in cold sore. Moreover, it helps to relieve pain and discomfort.

Lemon balm oil

Lemon balm oil, also known as Melissa extract, has rich antiviral properties, especially against herpes simplex virus. Lemon balm oil also prevents the absorption of the virus into the cells. It is used in a diluted solution and applied with a cotton swab at least three to four times a day. (6)

Thyme oil

Thyme is another essential oil with antiviral properties that kills and stops the growth of the herpes simplex virus.

Take away message

Cold sores are a painful and irritating oral condition caused by herpes simplex virus -1 infection, also known as herpes labialis. It usually forms around the commissures and borders of the lips. Cold sores form as fever blisters that break and develop into painful ulcers around the lips and mouth. These lesions are highly contagious.


Typically, such lesion is treated with antiviral drug therapy. However, some natural remedies to cure cold sores include the use of essential oils. Essential oils reduce skin inflammation and provide instant pain relief. Moreover, they have fewer side effects as compared to those of antiviral therapy, such as skin rash, skin irritation, and discomfort.

Some of the conventional essential oils used to cure cold sores include clove oil, lemon balm oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, and chrysanthemum oil.


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