Lemon balm, stop a cold sore, natural remedy for cold sores

Whether you call them cold sores or fever blisters, these lesions may pop up when you get sick. A respiratory tract infection or exposure to wind or sun may bring them out. No one knows exactly why a cold may triggers them. However, people use quite a few home remedies to stop a cold sore. There is even some science to support certain remedies.

Can You Stop a Cold Sore with Lemon Balm?

Q. I cure my cold sores with lemon balm. This has worked for me for years. It comes as a salve. I apply it once or twice a day as soon as I feel a tingle. Luckily, the cold sore never appears.

What Is Lemon Balm?

A. Lemon balm, or Melissa officinalis, has traditionally been used against cold sores. These are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1).

Scientists have studied lemon balm extract and found that it helps keep HSV-1 from penetrating cells (Astani, Navid & Schnitzler, Phytotherapy Research, Oct. 2014).  A review of research concluded that Melissa officinalis and certain other botanicals hold promise against HSV-1 (Moradi, Rafieian-Kopaei & Karimi, Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, Sep-Oct. 2016). These scientists point out that more studies are needed. Nonetheless, you seem to have found a good remedy for your own use.

Other Home Remedies to Stop a Cold Sore:

Other readers have found that drinking buttermilk at the first sign of a fever blister may keep it from forming. Many are enthusiastic about the supplement l-lysine as a way of preventing cold sores or speeding their healing.

Perhaps one of the most unusual herbal remedies to stop a cold sore is asafetida.  Although most Americans now are unfamiliar with this herb, it was used in the early 20th century as if it were a talisman against colds. Like lemon balm, asafetida does have antiviral activity.

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  1. Hank

    I get a cold sore about every 5 yrs or so. After research, here of course on Peoples Pharmacy, I’ve taken everyone’s advice and gotten the cream L-Lysine and started taking 1000mg 2x daily; also applied coconut oil and ice to the area. Don’t know exactly which one is working but after just 2 days it’s in drastic reverse and going away quickly and never became more than a swelling inside the lip area. Now that we know the added benefits of L-Lysine it’s now a daily regimen after the cold sore has gone away. We’re in our 60’s, so it hopefully couldn’t hurt and might stave off getting Alzheimers since there’s a chance the two are related. Thank you to all who added and shared their very valuable information.

  2. Raul
    Bogotá Colombia

    Yo he sufrido de herpes labial toda mi vida y realmente lo Único que me ha ayudado es un medicamento que se llama Virex de laboratorios Biogen (Colombia) el componente es Aciclovir se consigue en unguento y pastas. Yo he usado mucho es el unguento. Si logro darme cuenta de su aparición e inmediatamente me pongo el aciclovir de inmediato es probable que lo queme antes de aparecer las primeras bejigas Yo me lo coloco cada hora para quemarlo a pesar de que la recomendación es cada 4 horas. Si salen la bejigas nada que hacer. Colocando el unguento su vida hasta sanar en mi caso es de 8 a 10 días. Ya nada detiene su desarrollo.

  3. Harry

    As soon as I feel the tingle that tells me a cold sore is on its way I apply Surgical Spirit direct to the area. This prevents it developing any further and works every time for me. Istrongly suggest others try this and hope it has the same result for them

  4. Gail

    I put echinacea tincture on the spot I feel sore is going to erupt and it prevents. If it is already started, echinacea will help it heal. Also acts as an aesthetic so good for that too. Works on all manner of skin lesions. Very common usage in Europe, particularly in Germany.

  5. Caffem

    I just got a cold sore for the second time in my life, and I’m now in my 50s. Using a combination of L-Lysine (approximately 5,000-8,000 mg/day) for 3+ days and Abreva ointment 5-6 times/day helped it heal very quickly. Love this newsletter and the fact that it is evidence-based as well as anecdotal!

  6. Lea

    At the first tingle, I’ll soak a cotton swab with peroxide and hold it on for several minutes, then do it again several times that day. Even if the blister had already formed, it’ll go away again, and the breakout is stopped in its tracks. This has worked for me for years, and I get fewer episodes now than I used to.

  7. Marlene
    New York

    Don’t waste your money on drugs and chemicals. Just keep putting ice on a cold sore when it starts tingling and begins to form.

    • Kara

      No, Ice does not work. It might numb the pain or itching for awhile but, no, it does not stop an outbreak.

  8. Patann
    St. Louis Mo

    I take lysine and have not had a cold sore for a couple years. Another thing I did was, at the very start when I felt one beginning, I would put ice on the area and it always worked.

  9. Larry M
    Raleigh, NC

    I’m tired of reading about ways to suppress cold sores or heal them more quickly. How about writing about ways to permanently eradicate the HSV-1 from the body?

    If medical science can figure out how to vaccinate for herpes zoster (chickenpox/shingles), why isn’t someone working on a vaccination for herpes simplex?

    • Hank

      I agree completely! But as long as Pharmaceutical Companies make lots of money from their medications, then they’ll never create a vaccine. It all comes down to money or only have it where the rich and powerful can afford it. That’s my opinion anyway.

  10. Food Pharmacist

    As a young pharmacist back in the 80’s, a patient handed me a script her doctor gave her before leaving the office. It said to take 6 l-lysine (500mg) tabs the first day, 5 tabs the second day, 4 tabs the third day, 3 tabs the fourth day, 2 tabs the fifth day, & 1 tab the sixth day. Continue with 1 tab if the cold blister was still there. Even though this did not then, nor does not now require a prescription, it helped me as a pharmacist to believe what she was saying. I have had at least one cold blister every winter from the time I was a child, but after starting this regimen at the FIRST sign of getting one, it has considerably decreased the severity & duration. It seemed as if each time I got one, it wasn’t nearly as bad, and now I haven’t had one in a decade or so. I now use it as part of a protocol with other antivirals.

  11. Aya

    It’s always good to look at the triggers as well. For me it is eating too many cashew nuts.

  12. Sally

    I am 80 years’ old and have suffered from cold sores my entire life. In my youth, one spring skiing trip left me with my entire upper lip covered with sores. A doctor at the time thought that piercing the sores and applying white iodine would help, but it was very painful.

    Through the years I have tried all sorts of remedies including taking the very expensive antiviral medication Zovirax. Last week I found the perfect solution when I started getting a very ugly sore that was even extending below my lip. Before going to bed I applied a small amount of colloidal silver gel to my lip, and by morning the sore had started to dry up and never got any bigger. It was amazing. This particular silver is only 10 ppm which is very important and available online. I’ll never be without it!

  13. Rebecca
    Lansing, MI

    I have never heard this, but a 50mg Iron tablet stops my cold sores every time. It makes sense: cold sores are more common in females, often come just before menstruation and often stop at menopause. Iron really helps!

  14. Tom
    Cary NC

    Putting ice on a newly forming cold sore has worked every time for my wife.

  15. Fred
    Hardy, VA

    I have been plagued with cold sores throughout my life, and they are inside my mouth (not easily accessible to any ointment that needs to be applied). I have discovered that Lidocaine, using it as a mouthwash, works wonders in just a a day or two.

    • Caroline
      NE Georgia

      So does colloidal silver water, 10ppm.

  16. April

    Where do I get this salve with Lemon Balm in it? Is it made with pure ingredients? Organic etc.?

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