I’ve been walking around feeling like the elephant man lately. Sporting the worst cold sore I’ve ever had – the worst in the history of the world (at least, it certainly feels that way). It’s given me the opportunity to experiment, testing the effectiveness of two natural cold sore remedies.
If you’re a fellow sufferer, then you know just how awful these things are. Painful, unsightly and smack bang in the middle of your face at the least convenient time.
While it’s difficult to avoid getting a cold sore if you’ve got the virus, the good news is that you don’t need expensive creams from the chemist to treat the sore, and these rarely work anyway.
There are two effective natural and inexpensive remedies that help reduce the severity and speed up the healing of cold sores, which you probably already have at home: tea tree oil and coconut oil.
The important thing with a cold sore (and something I failed to do this time round) is to treat it as soon as you feel one coming on – at that first ‘tingle’ or throb.
Stage one – tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is antibacterial, antifungal and helps dry out the cold sore.
During the first stages of a cold sore, at that first tingle and before it dries out/ stops weeping and ‘scabs over’ for want of a less offensive turn of phrase, apply tea tree oil undiluted directly to the affected area using a cotton tip three or four times a day.
I’ve found that using tea tree oil can reduce the first stage of a cold sore from two or three days to 12 – 24 hours, especially if you treat it quickly.
When it comes to essential oils, if I’m using them to clean the house, then I buy the cheap ones at the supermarket. And while they probably work for cold sores too, for personal use, I buy high quality essential oils. They are a little more costly, but also more potent, and so last longer. At the moment I buy my quality essential oils from here*, where you can find organic tea tree oil.
Applying tea tree oil can sting a little bit and it’s not something you want to be licking, but it’s one of the most effective remedies I’ve ever used (including Zovirax) for reducing the duration of a cold sore.
You may also like: 7 Effective Natural Remedies to Soothe a Sore Nose
stage two – coconut oil
While tea tree oil is my tried and true remedy, I recently read that coconut oil (the extra virgin, unprocessed stuff) is also useful when treating cold sores due to it’s anti-viral properties, so I thought I would put it to the test.
Once the cold sore had reached stage two (scab stage – sorry to the squeamish), I applied the coconut oil each evening to one half of my top lip (yes, the cold sore covered most of my top lip– blame it on all the nose blowing due to accompanying cold) to see if it made a discernable difference to the healing time.
And the result?
The side that I applied the coconut oil to healed days before the other side. While all trace of the cold sore had disappeared from the coconut oil side, it was still there in all its unsightly glory on the non-coconut oil side.
And so I can confirm with my little experiment that coconut oil does encourage the healing process.
If you’re unlucky enough to be infected with the cold sore virus, then the occasional outbreak is inevitable and something to be born stoically. However, you can reduce the severity and duration of the cold sore by applying tea tree oil and later coconut oil to the affected area.
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