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Ear Wax and Lysine for Cold Sores

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It is estimated that almost two-thirds of American adults are infected with the virus that causes cold sores or fever blisters. A red lesion on the lip or near the mouth can be embarrassing and painful. People seem to stare and back away. Finding a remedy for cold sores can be challenging. Here's an unusual approach.

Q. I am 24. I have had cold sores two or three times a year since I can remember. It's more than just an annoyance. When I have a festering wound on my lip, my life comes to a screeching halt. I can't go anywhere. Since I work at a restaurant as a bartender, every second is agony. It's the worst part of my life for sure.

Ever since I can remember I have been searching everywhere high and low for remedies and I have come across so many different ideas. From regular doses of apple cider vinegar, to regular doses of fresh garlic, to echinacea and goldenseal. I used to carry Abreva with me everywhere and lysine lip balm and garlic pills and lysine pills.

I used to go to the whole foods market and get raw organic garlic and just eat it whole in hopes of suppressing the virus. Nothing has ever worked as good as what I have been doing for the past year or so.

I have had only one but it was when I tried stopping to see what would happen and it was in a spot I have never had it and of lesser severity than usual. I know this is going to sound gross but for some crazy reason ear wax has been the single solution that I have grown to trust. After me trying everything in desperation to help control my outbreaks rubbing a little of my own ear wax has proven to be most effective.

I also take Lysine in moderation about 500mg a day... double to 1000mg if I feel very stressed or if I get a sunburn or just feel that tingle. I still got them on occasion when I was only using Lysine but now since I use a combination of the two I haven't had one in at least a year which is a crazy long time for me.

There is hope

A. The virus that causes classic cold sores is herpes simplex 1 or HSV-1. Doctors call these outbreaks Herpes simplex labialis (HSL). Doctors prescribe antiviral drugs such as acyclovir, famciclovir or valacyclovir for both cold sores and genital herpes infections with good success.

We thought your idea was pretty far out there, but after a little digging in the medical literature we discovered that Russian scientists have identifed ear wax (cerumen) as having some anti-herpes activity. Here's the abstract from 1995.

"The cerumen (earwax) of some mammals possesses antistaphylococcal, antimicrococcal and antiherpes activities. The cerumen of two thirds of individuals, irrespective of their species identity and sex, has antiviral properties. The mean chemotherapeutical index in the studied groups follows a significantly decreasing sequence: dogs, humans without signs of herpes infections, rabbits, and humans with clinically expressed herpes infection. Cerumen of almost 25% of humans of the compared groups displays the immunostimulating activity. The cerumen of all studied individuals contains yeast-like fungi. A suggestion is put forward that the products of their metabolism stimulate local release of interferon-like substances by the lymphoid tissue in the cerumen."

There is a great deal of support for the idea of using l-lysine to prevent or control herpes outbreaks. You can find more stories about this amino acid for cold sores here. Some people even report that l-lysine works against shingles pain. Shingles are also caused by a herpes-type virus. It is not the same virus that causes cold sores, though. Rather, shingles are triggered by the virus that causes chicken pox, Varicella zoster virus (VZV). We encourage people to seek immediate medical attention at the first signs of a shingles outbreak (burning, pain, tingling or numbness especially on one side of the body followed by a red rash or blisters). Immediate treatment with an antiviral drug can cut short the outbreak.

Although we have not been able to find any scientific support for l-lysine against shingles, some visitors to this web site have reported good results. Here is a link to some reports.

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31 Comments

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Just checked my vitamin catalog. They have a lysine ointment. Anybody try this on psoriasis??

I have also found lysine supplements to be helpful during times of cold sores. Someone had recommended it but I was interested in knowing why it worked, and found information that it can stimulate the immune system, and that lysine compounds were actually being used in HIV patients to beef up a certain part of their immune responses. I figured if it helped people in those serious viral related circumstances, maybe it could help an immune response to other viral manifestations.

However, I was also told by a different person not to take it continually, that there was some evidence of developing tolerance, just to take it when I felt a cold sore coming on. I haven't researched whether that's true. Like the other commenter, 500 mg twice a day for the first 3 days, along w/abreva and lysine alternating topically, and quit the lysine when the cold sore is gone. Of course I don't know for sure that this strategy works, but coincidentally my cold sores would only last about 3-5 days vs 2-3 weeks.

At the first sign of a cold sore, I run a little water over a chewable vitamin c tablet and then hold it on the cold sore for several minutes. Leave the sticky residue on the sore to dry. Do this several times a day, especially right before bed. I still get a cold sore, but it is much smaller and lasts just a couple of days.

Pray Tell, HOW does one get access to their Ear Wax ? Is that something a doctor needs to extract ?

It is surprising that your comments on shingles fail to mention that there is a vaccine for it which is safe and effective (see 4/24/12 article in NY Times). It is approved for all people over 50 and may be covered by insurance.

Shingles can be painful, nasty and expensive and long-lived. Only 10% of eligible people are vaccinated. Do it.

Coconut oil is said to be anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Would eating and applying it help? I do not have this problem, thankfully, but I am rather put off by the thought of applying ear wax to my lips.

I have read that the protein in nuts (arginine) encourages the growth of herpes virus. Too many beer nuts at work?

Cold sores are connected with the sun also: In Switzerland they call it Solar herpes! I cannot get enough ear wax for myself, so if you can think of something else, beside Abreva, let us know. Thank you

I have been using 500mg lysine daily to prevent/lessen painful mouth ulcers. I had a permanent ulcer on the tip of my tongue that hurt constantly. My orthodontise removed it and recommended lysine daily and doubling it whenever I felt a mouth ulcer coming on. I have been on lysine over 12 yrs now and "It works"!

The ear wax remedy was passed on to me by my grandmother who was born in the late 1800's. I never really tried it because I just thought it sounded too strange. She knew how to make cures for many illnesses, but passed before I was old enough to learn from her. It's amazing how much our grandmothers knew about medicine.

I have suffered for years with cold sores and now may have to try this old remedy. Thanks for the info.

Many years ago I suffered with frequent outbreaks of fever blisters but have had very few in recent years if using the following method. Somewhere along the line someone suggested holding an ice cube on the area at the very first tingle indicating the onset of a new outbreak. Hold the ice over the spot for about 10 minutes and after removing do not move your lip until the numbness from the ice is gone - approx. 5 minutes. You will feel lots of little tingles in the area as it "thaws" - and I suspect freezes out the virus. Almost 99.9% of the time a blister never even surfaces! My experience has been that this only works if it is done within the first couple of hours of when you first suspect the onset of a blister.

You are not taking enough L-Lysine. When you first feel the itchy feeling on your lip, take three 1000 mg. L-Lysine tablets. Then, take one 1000 mg. tablet every hour of the day or until the itchy feeling goes away. You will never even raise a blister. I have been doing it for twenty years. Not one blister. What a relief to know you don't have to go through that. Before I learned this, I had fever blisters (that is what we always called them) very often. It was so bad. Now, I want to know why all doctors don't know this and tell their patients. If I can know it, why don't they. No one in the world should ever have another fever blister. The cure is simple and readily available.

Nuts, especially almonds, are high in arginine and arginine, an amino acid, needs to be
in balance with lysine to prevent herpes blisters from becoming active. I got my last
one (always in the left upper lip/corner of the mouth) after being in the pool exercising and not drinking enough water. Kiwi does work! I take 500mg lysine immediately and another 500 before bed until the sore is gone in a week or less. I also apply a cream with phenol and camphor (found it at the $store, some spanish concoction.)
It seems to go to the root and dry it up. I keep it moist and no cracking and bleeding.
Eat the Kiwi!

I have used Abreva successfully for about 6 years when I could get it on early. When the sore was already there, it didn't help as much. After reading about Milk of Magnesia for other skin eruptions I thought I would try it the next time I got a cold sore. It dries it up quickly. I dab it on with a q-tip several times a day. Still waiting to try it on poison oak. Thankfully, I haven't had that!

I have suffered from fever blisters since I was a child. I always had one on the day school pictures were taken! A couple of years ago while I was in the elevator at a hospital, a tech saw my blister. He said coat it in Dial antibacterial soap and leave it on to dry. A blister will not reappear on the same spot. I've tried it, but I still get them in other spots; just not as frequent. It seems to work. I've also used all the other items previously mentioned by others, as well as rubbing a Tums over the blister.

I use to get frequent cold sores or fever blisters after going to the dentist. I mentioned this to my dentist and we decided that I could be allergic to the latex gloves that they use. Now they use latex free gloves and I have not had a cold sore since. Hope this might help others.

I have suffered from chronic cold sores since I was 20 years old. About 6 months ago I started taking 400 mg of SAM-e & have not had an outbreak. I also use lots of lip balm to keep my lips moist.

I was told by my dear, sainted mother to just get it from BEHIND my ear on the tip of a finger.

I've used Milk of Magnesia to clear up poison ivy.

I used to have poison ivy all over me after clearing all the weeds/grass from my mowers in the Texas winds, and had to go get the shot to clear it up.

One weeekend, out of desperation, I first wiped all the rashes down with rubbing alcohol and then rubbed Milk of Magnesia all over them. Unlike with Calamine lotion, all the 'weeping' was stopped, there was no more spreading, and best of all, the itching stopped too! It all cleared up quickly.

Now it's the first thing I grab as soon as the tiniest blisters appear.

Years ago when I spent much time in the sun, I used to get the blisters until I started applying vitamin E (from a capsule) at the first tingle. There was never a breakout when I applied the E.

I can't wait to try some of these remedies! I've only recently suffered from cold sores (within the last 10 years) after contracting them from my husband. I never realized how contagious they were! Of course, he gets these small little blisters and I receive these large, welt-like blisters that look like I've been in a bar fight. One friend of mine told me about Herpicin L lip balm that I use when I feel that first "tingle" on my lip. And, for the most part, it works - as long as I apply it super fast. I actually use the lip balm daily, so that probably helps. But I also get the sores in the philtrum (that groove between your nose and mouth), and also in and/or around my nose.

I started suffering from cold sores about 3 years ago. These are the most miserable and embarrassing things on the planet! I want to crawl underneath a rock when I get one of these. I had heard about taking L-Lysine during an outbreak and as a preventative measure. When I get one of these I swear it lasts 10 days. I have been taking L-Lysine for years now, and I learned within the last year that I wasn't taking enough as a preventative dose. For me, it doesn't matter what I do once I get one, it's there to stay for a while. The prevention is key for me. I've been taking anywhere from 2-3 grams (2000-3000mg) of L-Lysine daily for about a year now, and it has prevented outbreaks. If I miss a day, I notice it right away. Hope this helps! I buy the crap out of some L-Lysine, but it's well worth it!

EAR WAX!! I have had coldsores since I can remember as a kid. I haven't had one in about a year now, and I notice I get them when I don't have lip balm and lick my lips often. Our mouth has a ton or bacteria and to top it off the sodium in our saliva dries our lips out the more often we lick them. I think the best remedy I have discovered for mine is ear wax, I know it sounds gross but it works. just dig in ur ear and wipe that gunk on ur sore, immediately u will feel it tingle less. If ur cold sore is already big then your shloud ice it for a while, then use some type of alcohol and hold it on ur lip, it burns a little but its worth it. Hold it for about 5 min then put ear wax on it... usually will be gone or really tiny by the next day.

Hello!

This Ear wax remedy has been passed down for 4 or 5 generations of women in my family! We use it for eye styes that are generally caused by a mild staph infection getting into the follicles of the eyelashes. Getting rid of infected makeup can keep re-occurrences. I actually just presented a poster at my grad school about ear wax being an effective traditional folk remedy!

I couldn't believe the research that supported my family's remedy!! Amazing. You can harvest your own ear wax carefully with a curette. Pretty simple and a great and inexpensive way to self treat! :)

I use to get coldsores every winter or when lacking sleep or stressed. I found that Blistex medicated lip ointment helps. If applied at the first tingle the sore either is stopped completely or is much smaller in size and seems to heal quicker.

I don't know if it's a coincidence, but the last 3 times I've felt the buzzing, tickling sensation that comes right before a cold sore, I've applied Meleuluca right on the area and it never materializes. Lysine also has been affective for me before I get one....

I, too, suffered cold sores and canker sores as a child and young adult. I was told to use L-lysine. At the start of a tingling sensation I take 1000mg right away then take 1000 mg in the A.M. and P.M. Usually, the cold sore disappears within a day or two.

I woke up this morning with a small bump on my lip and freaked, because everyone knows what the bump can turn into. I put hydrocortisone 2% (not an over-the-counter strength I don't think) and took (3) 500mg Lisine tablets. about 2 hours later I took (2) 500mg Lisine again, and repeated that at 1pm, 4pm & 8pm. (If that is alot of Lisine to take in a day, I am not aware, and the only side affect I got was gas which could've been unrelated, haha.)

I drank a bunch of water throughout the day at work also and before bed I put a little more hydrocortisone 2% on it. I woke up this morning to a smaller bump and no tingling. I put hydro 2% on it again this morning and took (2) Lisine tablets and plan to do so throughout the day.

I have heard about Lisine before and have taken it in the past and would highly recommend looking into the. In the past I bought that Abreva stuff (for $20! mind you) and I still felt like I had to wait the thing out for a week plus. People who don't get them can't understand how embarrassing they are, so its nice that there is a place where people can share there remedies and experiences etc.

Lisine FTW!

My father was raised by his full blood Cree Indian grandparents. He put ear wax on all 5 of his children.

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You would use a Q-tip!

I actually have tried ear wax as a remedy. I thought it sounded crazy when I first heard it myself. As soon as I feel that first warm tingle I (sounds gross) put my pinky in my ear & rub it around then rub on what soon will be a festering red embarrassing sore. I figure no one needs to know so no shame in helping me help myself and others the embarrassment of seeing my awful sore.

I now have been using this remedy for a few years now @ the first sight of a sore & to my utter excitement, I haven't had a red swollen festering sore since. Just a slight warm bump that goes away in a day or two. I usually do it several times a day when no one is watching, (I really don't have much wax but just a rub & a rub seam to work) really when ever I think about it. I usually feel a little sting, so after the first time I thought that was a good sign so I continued. I know it sounds really gross but so are a festering cold sore. What is worser than worse? Try it it really works.

Past Festerer

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