7 Natural Cold Sore Remedies

7 Natural Cold Sore Remedies

Cold sores are a common occurrence on many people and there are a variety of treatments that can be applied. Most will instinctively visit their local pharmacy and obtain an over-the-counter treatment to attempt clearing a cold sore. These treatments often contain numbing agents to reduce any pain that might be associated as well as keep the area bacteria-free and the nerve firing at bay. However, these 7 natural cold sore remedies may offer a deeper healing application that just may be able to address the root cause while quelling symptoms at the same time.

Check out what Nature’s medicine cabinet offers and you might be able to reduce your cold sore compromise and maybe even stop cold sore outbreaks altogether.

Mostly a Virus

Cold sores are often caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 67% of people carry. This is not to be confused with HSV-2 which is the genital herpes virus. However, it is important to note that HSV-2 can be transferred to the face and HSV-1 to the genitals so be sure and keep your hands clean and no kissing during these outbreaks. There are some other connections between certain nutritional deficiencies that may also contribute to cold sores or a weakening of the immune system which could trigger HSV-1 activation. These   natural cold sore remedies are able to address minimizing HSV-1 outbreaks by supporting the immune system as well as increasing nutritional compromise.

The Lysine-Arginine Factor

Lysine is an amino acid that has been linked to potentially alleviating herpes virus outbreaks. Arginine is also an amino acid but this amino acid is linked to triggering outbreaks. Therefore, if you are prone to cold sores (as well as HVS-2) it may be advantageous to reduce your arginine intake and increase your lysine intake.

A study by Brazilian researchers published in the resourceSciELO,

“In the present study, it can be concluded that it is possible to alter the balance of the lysine-arginine in the body with increased intake of lysine and this contributes to the control of recurrent herpes labialis [another term for cold sores].”

Foods with Lysine:

  • Tofu
  • Parmesan cheese (also Romano, gruyere, gouda, provolone)
  • Milk
  • Non-fat yogurt
  • Canned beans (particularly navy, black red, pinto, white)
  • Split peas

Foods high in arginine which are recommended to be avoided if prone to cold sores:

  • Nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chocolate
  • Spirulina
  • Squash
  • Oats
  • Wheat

The dosage for lysine supplementation is recommended by Healthline at one gram three times per day if having an outbreak or one gram per day as a preventative. Check with your doctor before taking lysine.

Vitamin Boosters

The combination of vitamins that may contribute to preventing and in some cases shortening cold sore duration have shown significant results. These vitamins, which you could be deficient in if continually having outbreaks, are:

B – Taking a B complex supplement could be helpful as these vitamins can support nerve health, antibody production, and boosting the immune system. These are what make up the entire B vitamin complex:

  • Thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
  • Biotin (vitamin B7)
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Cobalamin (vitamin B12)

B vitamins can also be found in these foods:

  • Eggs
  • Salmon and trout
  • Milk and cheese
  • Legumes
  • Avocados
    Dark leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach
  • Citrus fruits
  • Bananas

E – According to a study of cold sores, oxidative stress and vitamin E posted by Science Daily it was found that,

“Increased exposure to UV radiation releases free radicals in the body. These put the body under oxidative stress, which weakens the immune system. And that in turn allows the herpes virus to prosper. Scientists have now shown for the first time that higher doses of vitamin E can reduce the stress on immune cells.”

It is best to take a vitamin E supplement daily for cold sore prevention being as many foods high in E are not recommended to eat when dealing with HSV-1.

C – Vitamin C has long been an excellent source of safe health benefitting supplementation. According to a study by the Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland

“…the duration of pain caused by herpes labialis [another term for cold sores] was shortened by 51%, from 3.5 to 1.3 days…when patients were administered 1 g/day of vitamin C together with bioflavonoids [class of phytochemicals]…Furthermore, when vitamin C treatment was initiated within 24 hours of the onset of the symptoms, only six out of 26 patients (23%) developed herpes vesicles, whereas with later initiation of vitamin C, eight out of 12 patients (67%) developed vesicles”

High doses of vitamin C can be tolerated by the body (about up to 5000 mgs) but always check with your doctor before administering. Foods with good amounts of vitamin C include:

  • Bell peppers
  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons
  • Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi
  • Guava
  • Tomatoes
  • Cantaloupe

D – It is estimated that half the American population is deficient in vitamin D. This is problematic given all the systemic assistance vitamin D can offer. Plus, we need sunlight to produce vitamin D so given that most are not in the sun much, many are not getting enough.

When it comes to cold sores, research of vitamin D and cold sores published in the journal Viral Immunology stated that,

“…the study established a significant association between low serum vitamin D levels and the presence of RHL [recurrent herpes labialis]. 

It is best to take a vitamin D3 supplement (not just D) once per day. Dosages vary ranging from 1000 to 10,000 IUs (international units). Talk to your doctor for the proper dosage recommendation for you.

F – What is referred to as “vitamin F” is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid. This combination has shown in helping reduce cold sores and suppressing HSV-1. Foods containing these fatty acids include:

  • Vegetable oils (flaxseed, canola, and soybean oils)
  • Seeds (flax, chia, sunflower, and hemp seeds)
  • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, and pine nuts)
  • Navy beans
  • Avocadoes
  • Soybeans (edamame)

Vitamin F can also be taken in supplement form as the above mentioned fatty acids.

The Z Factor

The mineral zinc has long been an immune boosting powerhouse.

“The results of this study indicate that, zinc deficiency can be considered as a risk factor for increasing the duration of herpes labialis lesions. Therefore, the evaluation of serum zinc level in the subjects with RHL [recurrent herpes labialis] and subsequent administration of zinc are recommended in these kind of patients.”

It is best to take a zinc supplement daily for cold sore prevention being as many foods high in zinc are not recommended to eat when dealing with HSV-1. Also never take zinc on an empty stomach.

If you suffer with cold sores try these 7 natural cold sore remedies to see if Nature’s medicine chest is the way to go.