Cold sores • Natural home remedies
The herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) causes cold sores, otherwise known as fever blisters.
Cold sores may appear anywhere on your body but most often on the outside of your mouth. The blisters that form will break and ooze. A scab will form and eventually fall off in less than two weeks. Because the virus resides in the nervous system, stress is a powerful trigger.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
- Blisters with fluid
- Pain, often
IS IT CONTAGIOUS?
They are highly contagious and may even spread to other parts of your body as well as to others.
The CDC reported in 2010 that 54% of people between 14 and 49 had HSV-1 infections.
Cold sores go away on their own but your doctor may prescribe a medication to ease pain or an antiviral medication to speed healing.
Some of the topical treatments will dry out the sores and some will moisten them. It’s up to you to figure out which is best for you.
A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease . To promote a healthy immune system, and balance your hormones, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.
FOODS THAT PROMOTE HEALING
- Black beans
- Fermented foods
- Lysine-rich foods
- Nutrient-dense foods
- Probiotic foods
- Soy milk
FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID
- Arginine-rich foods while infected
- Cereal grains
- Coconut meat
- Coffee and tea may trigger outbreaks
- Nuts and seeds
TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS
- Lemon balm
HERBS AND SPICES
- Aloe Vera
- Lemon balm
- Licorice powder paste applied topically
- St. John’s Wort
Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath.
- Lemon balm
- Tea tree
OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS
The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.
- Lysine if you are prone to sores
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
You may not feel like sipping if your mouth hurts, but water helps to flush toxins from your body. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ ounce to 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.
Stress can be a trigger for an outbreak and exercise is good for stress, so keep moving. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. Good health means good immunity. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can do without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.
Since stress can be a trigger for an outbreak, be sure to stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow. See the post for Stress for some relaxation techniques.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO
- A water-based zinc solution may encourage healing.
- Apply natural ointments using a fresh cotton swab, being sure not to contaminate the container.
- Applying ice may help.
- Don’t let your toothbrush touch the tube.
- Get a new toothbrush at the beginning, middle and end of the outbreak.
- If you break the cold sore, apply witch hazel.
- Keep the sore clean.
- Keep your toothbrush dry (probably not in a damp bathroom).
- Spirit of camphor, topically.
- Wash hands regularly to avoid contaminating others.
A few of these will be helpful if your cold sores are stress-related:
- Chinese Medicine
- Follow the suggestions for keeping your toothbrush clean.
- Keep your hands away from the sores except when treating.
- Wash hands regularly but don’t spread the virus by using other’s towels, etc.
- A wholesome, balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- Low stress levels
- Quality sleep