HeHerb Basics: Natural Cures for Cold Sores

Natural cold sore treatments can help to heal canker sores fast.


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Cold sores can be painful, long-lasting, and embarrassing. If you’re about to develop a cold sore, you may feel tingling or itching in the area that the sore is about to erupt—usually at the corner of the mouth, but sometimes inside the mouth or on the nose. Usually, the sores will clear up by themselves in seven to ten days, but try some of these natural suggestions to help them heal more quickly.

Avoid foods rich in arginine, an amino acid that may stimulate the virus that causes cold sores. Arginine-rich foods include nuts, seeds, grains, raisins, chocolate, and gelatin.

At least one study has shown that the combination of vitamin C, zinc, and flavonoids can boost your immune system enough to speed the healing of cold sores and prevent recurrences. Take 2,000 mg of vitamin C, 25 mg of zinc, and 1,000 mg of flavonoids daily until the sore has healed.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has impressive antiviral properties, and studies have shown that lemon balm ointment speeds the healing of cold sores. The ointment is available at health-food stores; apply it two to four times daily.

Garlic (Allium sativum) also has antiviral properties that may help stop recurrent sores. The moment you feel a cold sore coming on, try taking twelve capsules of deodorized garlic, then take three capsules every four waking hours for the next three days.

Source: Castleman, Michael. Blended Medicine. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale, 2000.