Beat a Cold Sore Fast


(Click here for my original post of this article)

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.


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)
Mix the peppermint and vodka together in a 2 dram bottle, or any small container with a lid. You’ll need to keep it covered to protect the potency and also so you can shake the mixture before each use. The oil and alcohol will separate, so do be sure to shake it vigorously before applying. Otherwise, the oil will lay on top and you’ll be applying undiluted EO to your lip. That’ll wake you up!
If you can’t measure out 1/8 of an ounce of vodka, don’t worry about it. I would say 2 drams roughly equals a half a shot glass full. As long as you’re in the ballpark, you’re good. You aren’t going to ruin the tincture if you’re off a little on the amount of vodka.
I used this over Christmas break and I am telling you, this little beauty works. I had that cold sore on the run in a day. It never blistered and never came to a head. The feverish warmth that cold sores typically have went away in the first day. The peppermint had a nice tingling effect on my lip that felt really good. I applied it whenever I thought about it, probably 5 – 10 times a day for 4 days. Now that the affliction was drying up and scabbing over, I moved on to stage two.


Neem oil is pressed from the seeds of the Neem evergreen tree of India. It’s highly regarded in the ancient Indian healing modality called Ayurveda. It’s great for skin and hair. It’s said to heal and lighten scars and banish acne. Now, I’m not going to lie to you, Neem is really stinky. Some people describe its smell as like garlic or peanuts. To me it smells like rotten onions. And it has a really bitter taste. So if you’re applying it to your lips, you’re going to notice the acrid, nasty taste of it. But it’s so worth it. It will reintroduce moisture to the cracked and scabbed area where the cold sore was and return your lips to a supple, healthy look and feel.
There’s no recipe for the Neem. You just purchase some online and apply it neat (or straight, no dilution) to the cold sore. I would apply it once a day, right before bed to give it time to work and also so I could sleep through the taste of it. I also bought the Neem oil I use online at Swanson’s. If you don’t know what you’ll do with the remaining bottle of the Neem oil, I suggest you add a few drops in your current hair care and skin products. Mix it in with your face cream or shampoo and / or conditioner. Adding a few drops into other fragrant products will dilute the Neem and hide the unsavory smell of it.
One last thing I’ll mention is that Neem oil is solid at room temperature. You’ll need to warm it up before adding it to other products. You can warm water on the stove and then set your bottle of Neem into the pan for a minute to liquefy it or just hold it in your closed hand for a few minutes to sufficiently melt it for use.
This is my newly discovered regimen for cold sore killing. It’s absolutely worked for me and I intend to use it again, should another cold sore raise its ugly head. I hope it works for you, too. If you have any questions regarding this article or questions about natural healing with herbs and essential oils, please comment below and I’ll response as soon as I’m able.
Ailora Blue