Tea oil tree is extracted out of the leaves of a small tree native to Australia and has been used for centuries by Aborigines to treat skin and health ailments. Due to its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and wound healing properties, using tea tree oil for cold sores has now become a popular home remedy to treat this problem as it is a natural and effective solution.
Does using tea tree oil for cold sores work?
The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of this oil are already beneficial to treat and speed up healing, but according to a 2001 study, it also shows promising results fighting the herpes simplex virus type-1 directly.
Using tea tree oil for cold sores is then a treatment, rather than a trick to reduce the discomforts and pain of this problem.
How to use tea tree oil for cold sores
As with any essential oil, you should not apply this oil directly to the cold sore. Since it has a high concentration level, you need to dilute it with a carrier to avoid irritating the skin.
Coconut or jojoba oils are good options to use as carriers. The basic formula to dilute this oil is the same as with any other: 10 drops of oil for each 1oz of a carrier.
Just dip a cotton swab in the mixture and dab it gently over the cold sore. Repeat twice a day, but no more as it could irritate the skin.
Other essential oils for cold sores
Applying tea tree oil for cold sores seems to be the ideal natural treatment since this oil shows promising results fighting the virus that triggers the sores.
Nevertheless, there are other essential oils that can support a faster healing and reduce the visibility and symptoms that make cold sores such a painful and distressing ailment.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil is mostly known for its soothing and relaxing properties and these also apply to cold sores.
It won’t do anything against the virus, but it can calm the skin to reduce the itchiness, the pain and the general discomfort that cold sores trigger.
Preliminary research as also shown that this oil might have anti-inflammatory properties that could help speed up the healing process, but this effect requires further research.
Remember to dilute the oil in a carrier, just as you would do with tea tree oil.
Peppermint essential oil
Just like the tea tree oil, peppermint essential oil also contains properties that can fight the herpes simplex virus type-1 directly, according to a preliminary 2003 study.
Furthermore, it works just like the lavender oil too, soothing and calming the skin, reducing the symptoms, while promoting a faster recovery.
Lemon balm essential oil
According to a 2014 study, lemon balm essential oil can inhibit the progression of the herpes simplex virus type-1. It can then prevent the spreading of the virus and restrict it to a small area, particularly if applied early on.
Its effect over the already infected cells as yet to be studied.
Ginger, Thyme, Hyssop, and Sandalwood essential oils
These 4 essential oils were grouped together in a 2007 research to evaluate their effect over cold sores.
They all had similar performances, protecting the healthy cells from being contaminated and thus restricting the infected area of the herpes simplex virus type-1. As with lemon balm oil, their effect over the infected cells was not consequential.
However, they also showed potential to speed up healing as their have mild anti-inflammatory properties.
Chamomile essential oil
Chamomile is another plant mostly known for its calming properties. However, a 2008 study concluded that it can also act directly upon the herpes simplex virus type-1 by restricting its capacity to expand and spread the infection.
3 Other ways to get rid of cold sores fast
Not a fan of essential oils or are you short on supplies? Fear not. There are other tricks you can use to get rid of cold sores faster.
Lemon balm tea
If you don’t have lemon balm essential oil, make your way to the tea cupboard! The nutrient concentration is lower and it won’t work as quickly and efficiently as with the oil, but it will still provide support for a faster recovery.
Just dip a compress on the tea and apply it directly to the cold sore. Try to use cold tea and leave the compress for about 10 minutes at a time. The lower temperature will also help to reduce swelling and redness.
Aloe vera doesn’t have any effect on the virus that is producing the cold sore. However, due to its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, it can reduce swelling, the pain and the itchiness.
Applying salt water to the cold sore will create an uninviting environment for the virus to thrive, which in turn will speed up the healing.
Nevertheless, salt water should be your last resource. Yes, it will help to tame the virus, but it will also be very painful over the sensitive skin. Furthermore, it can dry up the skin even more and increase the wounded area, even if the virus remains restricted.
Prevention is always better
Regardless of how well essential oils work to speed up the healing, cold sores will always generate scabs that can crack and bleed as you move your lips and muscles around your mouth.
The best course of action is always prevention. There are several “well-known culprits” that can trigger the virus to infect the cells. Check them out in the video below and learn to identify the causes you should be avoiding.