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.

Join Over 115,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Al
    USA
    Reply

    Ear wax for cold sores is a tried and true method. I am living proof that it works. Yes, it sounds gross but as others have said, it does work and it is from your own body. This is not just a home remedy. I used Abreva but that seemed to make the infection spread in my case! And it costs a lot of money for that tiny tube of ointment! After hearing about the earwax I, in desperation, tried it. It is an amazing natural way to rid yourself of cold sores once and for all!

    I also do not use any store bought remedies for athletes foot fungus. Guess what, your own urine will kill that fungus and it will not return! Most of us take a shower these days. Simply pee on your feet before you turn the shower on. Let it sit a minute or two then take your shower. You will never have that problem again and will save hundreds of dollars! I know this works because I have been athletes foot fungus free for over 20 years.

  2. Monica
    IL
    Reply

    I have my ear wax on one right now. And yes, the tingling has stopped after 5 mins.

  3. Sarah
    Minneapolis
    Reply

    I am so glad I read this!!! I’m going try it and I pray to God I have the same luck!! Thank you!

  4. Roxanne W.
    Pensacola Florida
    Reply

    It really works. I know it sounds nasty but it’s your earwax and it comes from you so you can’t go wrong. Please try it you won’t be disappointed.

  5. jessica
    Brampton
    Reply

    My grandmother told me to use ear wax about three years ago, I didn’t care how gross it sounded because I wanted the pain and embarrassment to stop, to my surprise, it had worked!

    Happy to say I rarely get a cold sore anymore and if/ when I do start to get that lip tickle, I get out a Q-tip, get some (of my own) earwax and apply to the area…. if you want it to stop you must put the earwax on it right away (so it doesn’t get any bigger) and bam!! Its gone within a day or two :) Please to whom may be reading this, if you or anyone you know have the pain and embarrassment of cold sores, there is a solution! Earwax! Thanks grandma xoxo

  6. Anonymous
    Reply

    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

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.