How to Get Rid of Fever Blisters (Cold Sores): Effective Home Remedies (Science Based)

Best Home Remedies for Cold Sores

Millions of people suffer from fever blisters (also known as cold sores) every year. These often unsightly blemishes are not only a source of embarrassment for most people, but they can also be extremely painful. Fever blisters are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus (HSV-1) which causes groups of small blisters to appear on and around your lips.

According to Dr. Gregory Thompson on WebMD, if you get infected, the HSV-1 virus stays in the body for the rest of your life, however, not everyone who has the HSV-1 virus gets cold sores. Usually, factors like stress, a weakened immune system, strong sunlight, or hormonal changes can cause fever blisters to flare up.

The virus is passed on if another person comes into contact with the fluid from the fever blister, most commonly by kissing or sharing eating utensils.1

The first symptom of a fever blister is usually a tingling sensation around the affected skin area. You may also have a sore throat, fever, and swollen glands. This itching feeling around your lips then turns into a burning feeling and becomes painful before a blister develops. When the blisters break, fluid comes out and then a crust will form over the top. They usually heal themselves within 2 weeks.

Although there is no reason to feel embarrassed, most people tend to have negative associations with having a cold sore on their lips. There are, however, certain home remedies that can help you prevent or treat fever blisters to minimize their impact on your daily life and get rid of them faster.

Natural Remedies for Fever Blisters (Cold Sores)


Raw honey has powerful antimicrobial properties which are effective in treating the HSV1 virus which causes fever blisters. In addition, honey can also speed up healing and also reduce pain and inflammation.

In a study published in the Medical Science Monitor, a topical application of honey was found to be safe and effective in lesions caused by the HSV1 virus.2 In this study, honey was shown to be more effective than acyclovir, a pharmaceutical cream normally used for herpes infections.

It is important to realize that some of the honey sold in supermarkets is processed. If you want to use honey then you should select a product that contains all of the natural ingredients normally present in honey. Raw honey or Manuka honey are two types of honey best suited for healing purposes.

To use honey to help heal a fever blister quickly, you should apply a small amount of honey to the cold sore three to four times a day. Use an ear bud or clean applicator to ensure you do not contaminate the honey while applying it.

You can also safely use honey to treat other infections or inflammatory conditions of the mouth. For example, many people suffer from angular cheilitis, which is an inflamed cracked corner of the mouth. You should apply a little raw honey to the affected area on your lips several times a day until the lesions are healed completely.

Using honey, and not just for eating, is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

In the past, I wrote about the health qualities of honey and about the fact that you can use it as a natural remedy for shingles.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is a powerful antibacterial and antiviral compound which can help kill the virus that causes fever blisters.

Hydrogen peroxide is extensively used in commercial settings, in our homes, and in medical practice to help prevent or kill viruses and bacteria. Most homes these days have products that contain hydrogen peroxide for cleaning purposes. You can get medicinal grade peroxide from your local pharmacist or drug store which can be used topically.

In a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, hydrogen peroxide was shown to be able to kill the HSV1 virus that causes fever blisters.3

To heal a fever blister fast, you could add a few drops of 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide to a cotton swab and gently wipe it over the affected area. This may sting a little, but this is the natural astringent properties of hydrogen peroxide which are helping to kill the infection. Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day until your fever blister has disappeared completely.


I have already mentioned in my eBook “The Herbal Remedies Guide”, that you can use echinacea for various medical conditions. Echinacea is also an excellent home remedy to prevent fever blisters from developing in the first place because it boosts your immune system and helps your body fight off any kind of infections.

Echinacea has been used for centuries for its ability to boost immune function to help protect against possible infections.

In a study published in Plant Medica, researchers proved that extracts of echinacea were effective for killing the HSV1 virus because of their antiviral properties.4

Echinacea extracts (like this one) and supplements are available online and can be purchased at your local health store or pharmacy. To use echinacea for the prevention of fever blisters you should follow the instructions on the label.

You should also start taking echinacea at the first sign of a fever blister to boost the body’s immune system so that it can fight the infection more effectively.

Vitamin C

Most of us have heard of the power of vitamin C for boosting immune function, but you may not be aware that vitamin C can be taken internally as well as being applied for topical use on fever blisters.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and a study published in Medical Hypotheses, showed that vitamin C has definite antiviral properties. The study said that a topical vitamin C paste was very effective in treating lesions caused by the herpes simplex virus (the virus which causes fever blisters).5

To take advantage of the curative, antioxidant, and antiviral properties of vitamin C as a topical application, you can make your own vitamin C paste to treat fever blisters.

Add a few drops of water to vitamin C powder (like this one) to produce a simple paste. Apply the vitamin C paste to the bump on your lip 2 – 3 times a day until the blisters have dried up. Always apply the paste to a small test area first because vitamin C paste may cause skin irritation.

To boost the antiviral properties of vitamin C, you can make the paste by adding a little honey. This will help to soothe the discomfort caused by fever blisters on your lips and help you get rid of them quicker.


Propolis is a powerful natural remedy to treat fever blisters and help them heal quicker. As with natural honey, propolis contains powerful antiviral properties which are beneficial for any type of skin complaint, including cold sores.

Propolis is a product produced by bees, and they use it as a glue in the hive. Propolis, a natural product from beehives, comprises a complex of chemicals, the most important group being flavonoids, which play a role in antiviral protection.

According to one study on the effect of propolis on the HSV1 virus that was published in the Journal of Phytomedicine, propolis prevents the replication of the virus. This means that propolis is an effective natural treatment to stop virus that causes fever blisters from developing and spreading.6

Raw honey often contains propolis and you can purchase propolis extracts (like this one), which you can apply topically to help treat the cold sore and to help prevent the cold sore from developing and spreading.


L-Lysine is an essential amino acid, and amino acids are the building blocks of biological processes in the body. Studies published in the Alternative Medicine Review found that the topical use of a cream containing L-Lysine was able to prevent or reduce the replication of the fever blister virus.

In this small trial of 30 patients, the L-Lysine cream cured fever blisters in 40% of the patients within 3 days, and within 6 days, 87% of the patients had experienced complete relief from their fever blister symptoms.12

Foods high in L-Lysine include chicken, turkey, and fish. Although not strictly a home remedy, ensuring your diet contains sufficient lysine or investing in a lysine cream (like this one) can help you to prevent or treat fever blisters.

Essential Oils for Fever Blisters

The topical application of essential oils has been a part of traditional healing for centuries. Many of the essential oils used today offer antimicrobial or antibacterial properties which can be used to relieve the symptoms of cold sores.

In a study published in the Journal of Phytomedicine, peppermint oil was found to prevent and protect against the fever blister virus. This study showed that peppermint oil was even effective against drug resistant forms of HSV1.7

In another study published in the same Journal, Sandalwood oil was also shown to be effective in killing off the HSV1 virus which causes fever blisters.8

If you want to use essential oils to treat your fever blisters, be sure to invest in high-quality essential oils that offer the purest form of the oil.

Mix a drop or two of the essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil (such as jojoba or coconut oil). Apply several times a day to the fever blister to reduce the swelling and redness and to heal the blisters. Once again, use an applicator or dropper to apply the oil to avoid contamination of your oils.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, you can find useful information in my e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.

Coconut Oil

Anecdotal evidence suggests that organic and unrefined coconut oil might be effective for treating the symptoms of fever blisters. Coconut oil is an effective agent for treating a wide variety of infections and other conditions and can be effective for treating fever blisters.

Many studies into coconut oil show that its many beneficial properties can effectively treat a wide variety of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. It is also a natural moisturizer and therefore can help to relieve the discomfort caused by cracked lips and crusty blisters.9

As soon as you feel the initial tenderness or a tingling sensation on your lip you should apply a little coconut oil with a cotton bud to the affected area. This allows the antiviral properties of coconut oil to go to work immediately on the fever blister to help shrink it and prevent the blister from “popping” and getting all weepy and nasty.

Stress Reduction

Stress can cause your immune system to become weakened and make you more prone to developing infections.10 If your immune system is low or compromised, the herpes virus can come out of dormancy and cause fever blisters to appear on your lips or as a bump inside your mouth.

Reducing stress in your life is one natural way to prevent fever blisters and enjoy better health in general. You can use these 7 meditation techniques to reduce stress, exercise, and avoid the causes of stress.


Ice may not reduce the duration of a breakout, but it can ease the discomfort and inflammation of fever blisters. Apply a cold pack directly to the sores to reduce the swelling and redness associated with fever blisters.

Other Alternative Treatments for Fever Blisters

There are many additional natural and alternative treatments for fever blisters:

Aloe Vera has been found to be effective against the fever blister virus in a trial done on genital herpes in men.11

Rhubarb and Sage have also been used for treating fever blisters. Licorice, vanilla, and witch hazel may also help cure fever blisters.

Anecdotal evidence suggests using other home remedies such as applying garlic oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda to the cold sore, however I couldn’t find research about these applications and their efficacy in treating fever blisters.

If you do suffer from regular cold sores, then make sure you boost your immune system with vitamin C and herbal extracts like Echinacea to help treat fever blisters from the inside out as well (also read my article on how to boost your immune system naturally).

Fever Blister Precautions

There is some confusion about when and for how long fever blisters are contagious and what precautions you should take during an outbreak. Here are a few guidelines you may want to follow to avoid spreading cold sores or making an existing infection worse:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact (avoid kissing) when a fever blister is visible or when it’s healing as the virus can be spread in this way (a fever blister must be completely healed for it not to be contagious).
  • Do not share drinking glasses, straws, utensils, toothbrushes, or lip-care products until your fever blister has completely healed.
  • Wash your hands after you touch a fever blister. It is possible to spread the virus to other parts of your body if it remains on your fingertips. For example, rubbing your eyes after touching a fever blister can transfer the virus to this area, resulting in serious problems.
  • Don’t itch or pick at cold sore scabs! I know it’s hard to leave a fever blister alone, but if you don’t it will prolong healing, increase the risk of scarring, and potentially spread viral particles to other areas.

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