I occasionally suffer from cold sores. It’s not often, but even once in a blue moon is too much as far as I’m concerned. Years ago I suffered through it just trying to keep my lips hydrated and hoping the offensive intruder would go away quickly. But since then, I’ve become really interested in herbs, essential oils and natural healing.
The last time I had one was about 4 years ago and I did a little (a lot of) online research. I found a lot of folk remedies for cold sores and I tried most of them. Someone suggested that as soon as you feel one coming on to apply an ice-cube to it and keep it there as long as possible. I faithfully followed those instructions and kept ice on my lip for at least an hour at a time, several times a day. But it didn’t work. The sore stayed warm and a blister formed. I read on.
One website advised using bleach (can you imagine?) on cold sores. I tried it. Every evening before bed I would apply the caustic substance to my lip. The cold sore availed. I read to try chap-stick, ear wax (yuck) and a few other things. None worked. I suffered through. The cold sore lived out the length of its stay as it saw fit and took probably 2 -3 weeks to disappear altogether. I was so glad when it faded away. There is a stigma associated with having cold sores and that makes them highly embarrassing, especially at work.
Luckily I’ve been cold sore free for the last 4 years. But wouldn’t you know it? This past Christmas vacation I got another one. One morning I was drinking tea and where the cup touched my bottom lip I could feel a strange sensation. I investigated and sure enough, it was that weird ‘pre-cold sore’ feeling. I have learned since the prior cold sore that a good defense against them is Lysine. Lysine is an essential amino acid that you can buy in supplement or topical (lip balm) form. I immediately started supplementing with Lysine. I want to caution you though that I’ve also read that prolonged use of Lysine may compromise you immune system functionality. So I don’t recommend taking it all the time. But short-term use does seem to help kick cold sores in the butt.
After I took the Lysine, I got online and did some more research. Now that I’m aware of herbs and oils and things, I started my search there. Two remedies stood out to me because the explanation of how they work makes sense. One is to use peppermint essential oil in vodka to dry out the cold sore.
PEPPERMINT & VODKA COLD SORE TREATMENT
According to a study at University of Heidelberg, peppermint essential oil (EO) has antiviral properties which means it actually helps kill the herpes virus that causes cold sores. Peppermint also has analgesic properties and is known to alleviate pain as it is absorbed through the skin. Since vodka is an alcohol, it has a drying affect on the skin which proves helpful in the beginning stages when a cold sore is trying to form a blister.
Since I use EO’s and vodka regularly in my infusions and tinctures, I had them both on hand. I made up the tincture and began using it right away. If you don’t have these items, you can easily purchase them and they both have long shelf lives. Plus peppermint oil has many other uses, including keeping pests at bay. You can apply a few drops of peppermint oil to a cotton ball and put them around windows and doorways to repel ants, spiders, mosquitoes and even mice. I buy peppermint oil from Swanson Vitamins online. It’s organic, which is very important; it means there are no chemicals added to it, nor are the plants that are used to make the oil genetically modified. Also, you can’t beat the price.
The recipe I used for the peppermint vodka tincture is:
- 8 – 10 drops of organic peppermint EO
- 2 drams of vodka (2 drams equals 1/8 of an ounce)