Q. For about 15 years, I’ve gotten an ugly cold sore on my upper lip at the end of the summer. It is always painful, and it takes at least a month to heal.
The remedies I tried didn’t help much. Last week, I woke up to find a familiar bubble on my upper lip that signaled the start of a cold sore. I’d read on your site about sauerkraut juice so I rubbed some onto the spot several times a day. Within a few days, the sore had begun to heal. In less than a week, my cold sore has gone from threatening bubble to the final healing stage. I am floored at how well and quickly this worked.
A. Other readers have reported that sauerkraut juice speeds healing of canker sores. We’ve never heard of it helping cold sores before. Thank you for sharing your story.
There are medications to speed healing of cold sores, which are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). Acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir are prescription pills, while acyclovir and penciclovir are available as creams for topical application.
Many people find that the dietary supplement l-lysine is quite helpful for non-prescription prevention and treatment of cold sores. You can learn more about that at PeoplesPharmacy.com.
Besides taking supplemental l-lysine, many cold sore sufferers find that reducing arginine intake is helpful. Arginine is essential for HSV-1 replication. It is found in nuts, peanuts, wheat germ, chocolate and eggs.
One other dietary factor that seems useful is reducing the amount of refined carbohydrate. Pushing blood sugar and insulin levels up rapidly seems to put the immune system at a disadvantage. Eating a low glycemic-load diet may help keep the balance close enough that natural remedies such as l-lysine or lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) can work on a cold sore.