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How to Heal a Cold Sore Quickly

  • Publish Date : 2009/03/23 - (Rev. 2018/10/11)
  • Author : Dr Jenny Tylee

Synopsis: A number of home remedies to get rid of cold sores fast using household herbs.

Main Document

What Exactly is a Cold Sore?

Herpes labialis, also called cold sores among other names, is a type of herpes simplex occurring on the lip, i.e. an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). An outbreak typically causes small blisters or sores on or around the mouth. The first infection may have the symptoms of swollen glands, a general feeling of being unwell and painful mouth ulcers. The sores typically heal within 2 to 3 weeks, but the herpes virus remains dormant in the facial nerve branches, following orofacial infection, periodically reactivating (in symptomatic people) to create sores in the same area of the mouth or face at the site of the original infection.

Subsequent attacks occur mostly when the person is run down and they start with a tingling and itch on an area around the lips and nostrils, then tiny blisters appear. These blister break and weep. They then crust over and gradually disappear. Scratching will spread the virus and it can lead to a bacterial infection. The virus lives permanently in the nerve endings of many adults and children. Cold sores or Lip Herpes are contagious and care should be taken not to spread them to other parts of the body or to other people.

There are several cold sores home remedies that are known to be effective. Individuals who are prone to having cold sores should benefit from these natural cures. Treating cold sores should be taken seriously because they can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort.

The following may activate the virus:

  • Poor diet (even if only in the short term)
  • Dietary triggers such as chocolate and peanuts
  • Mental or physical stress and fatigue
  • Rubbing or chafing of the skin
  • Illness
  • Menstruation
  • Depleted immunity or being 'run down'

What You Can Do to Treat Cold Sores

Knowing how to heal a cold sore quickly could be critically important if you have an important event in the near future. There is no good time to have a cold sore. But why do cold sores always seem to happen at the very worst possible time?

Herpes simplex virus (HSV), or cold sore, lesion on the middle of upper lip and a second cold sore on the upper right side of mouth.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV), or cold sore, lesion on the middle of upper lip and a second cold sore on the upper right side of mouth.

Most often, cold sores occur because of physical or mental stress. Anxiety about an upcoming wedding, job interview, or other special event in your life will create stress. This stress will affect your pH balance, your hormones, and your immune system. Quite often illnesses such as cold and flu will also trigger a cold sore.

The herpes virus has an early warning system because it lives in your nerve cells. It can sense the slightest change in your temperature, stress levels, immune strength, and pH balance. When the conditions are favorable, the virus will head to the surface along your nerve fibers. Once at the surface, it will create new virus through its replication procedure thus producing the cold sore blister.

Your body knows how to heal a cold sore and will do so without any additional help or expensive cold sore treatment. Provided you do not get a secondary bacterial infection, the duration of your cold sore could be three to four weeks. If you are like me, you do not want to suffer that long. The quicker you heal your cold sore, the sooner you can get on with your life.

The cold sore virus needs three things to successfully replicate.

1. The virus needs plenty of arginine in the cell.

Arginine is a protein that is a critical building block for creating new herpes viruses. Lysine, another protein, has proven helpful in healing and preventing cold sores. Lysine does this by replacing some of the arginine in the cells, thus reducing or preventing the cells ability to create clones of the virus.

Basically, if the herpes virus gets to the surface and cannot find enough arginine in the cells, it often retreats. Many folks eat high lysine foods prior to or during a cold sore event, and avoid high arginine foods. For many folks, healing cold sores fast has been as simple as taking 1,000 milligrams to 3,000 milligrams of lysine in capsule supplements during an outbreak.

High lysine foods to eat are most meats and dairy products. Cheese, milk and yogurt are excellent. High arginine foods to avoid would be nuts, seeds, grains, and chocolate. You need to find your own personal balance here for healing cold sores.

2. The cold sore virus also needs a warm, moist environment.

Applying ice as soon as you feel that first tingle or itch will greatly reduce or delay the cold sore. Delaying the cold sore just a few days can get you through that important event. Any cold object will do - such as a can of Coke. The quicker, the better.

3. The herpes virus prefers an acid environment.

When in tip-top health, your pH balance should be around 7.4, which is slightly alkaline. When it drops below 7 on the pH scale, then your system is turning acid. Any stress, flu, colds, or too much sun will cause your body to move toward the acid side of normal. Avoid eating acid foods, such as tomatoes, citrus, carbonated soda or anything with vinegar if it will touch the cold sore area. You want nothing acid around that sore. Following this rule alone for healing a cold sore, along with continual cleaning of the wound with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, could cut your cold sore healing duration by 50%.

4. When treating cold sores it is important to boost the immune system - thus assisting the body to combat the virus.

  • Cleanse your body of toxins so that the immune system is able to function at its best.
  • Make sure that you eat a diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and kohlrabi, garlic and onion, chili, ginger, sprouted seeds and beans and use cold pressed seed and vegetable oils. These all assist the immune system.
  • Have plenty of garlic or use a garlic supplement or other natural antibiotic such as olive leaf extract or grapefruit seed extract.
  • Take vitamin C (specifically calcium ascorbate - this is a non-acidifying vitamin C).
  • Take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement.
  • Manage your stress levels. Progressive relaxation and creative visualization will be of assistance with stress anxiety or depression. There are also many herbal remedies that you can use to deal with stress.
  • Direct application of lemon balm or extract is also one of the cold sores home remedies. Lemon balm or extract is effective in reducing the symptoms associated with these. Furthermore, lemon extract has properties that are known to help increase the healing process of blistered skin.
  • Salt can also relieve and treat cold sores. Using your slightly moistened index finger, apply common fine salt directly on the cold sores by gently pressing on them for about 30 seconds. Pressing the fine salt on the affected area can help you treat the blisters more effectively. To achieve faster relief, follow up this procedure with application of aloe vera or any topical oil directly over the area.
  • One of the commonly used cold sores home remedies is ice. Application is simple. Apply ice along the affected area. Treat them by slowly rubbing the ice for a few minutes to the infected area of the skin. Repeat application every hour.

5. Home Herbal Remedies.

Herpes simplex virus (HSV), or commonly known as a cold sore, lesion on the lower lip, second day after onset.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV), or commonly known as a cold sore, lesion on the lower lip, second day after onset.

The following herbs will support your immune system and should be taken in conjunction with the recommendations above: Echinacea, golden seal, cleavers, plantain, bayberry, burdock, huang qi, nettle, wormwood, calendula, myrrh, poke root, dandelion root, licorice

The following herbal formula has been found to be helpful:

  • 2 parts cleavers
  • 2 parts echinacea
  • 1 part oats
  • 1 part poke root

Method: Combine all the ingredients. Take 1 teaspoon of the herb blend and place into a suitable sized saucepan and add one cup of boiling water. Allow this to stand for 10-15 minutes. Strain out the herbs. Drink 1 cup of this tea twice per day.

The following can also be applied externally:

  • A lotion of echinacea with or without myrrh.
  • You can also try melissa oil, lavender oil, calendula tincture, myrrh tincture, and golden seal tincture.
  • Another choice for cold sores home remedies are tea bags. Simply apply the tea bag on blistered skin within several minutes. Repeat after one hour. Doing this on an hourly basis maximizes its effect. Modify this method by gently pressing the warm bag over the affected area or blisters for about half an hour.

Cold sores are an infection of the herpes simplex virus. They are an indication that the immune system is not functioning as effectively as it could. These are many things that you can do to deal with cold sores but the most important are to cleanse the body of toxins and boost immunity.

Cold Sore Statistics

Herpes labialis is endemic throughout the world. A large survey of young adults on six continents reported that 33.2% of males and 28% of females had herpes labialis on two or more occasions during the year before study.

  • The lifetime prevalence in the United States of America is estimated at 20 to 45% of the adult population.
  • Lifetime prevalence in France was reported by one study as 32.4% in males and 42.1% in females.
  • In Germany, the prevalence was reported at 31.7% in people aged between 35 and 44 years, and 20% in those aged 65 to 74.
  • In Jordan, another study reported a lifetime prevalence of 26.4%.

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