While there are prescription medications and over-the-counter products available to help treat cold sores, there also are many homeopathic remedies available. The goal of a homeopathic remedy for cold sores is similar to those other remedies: to ease the pain and heal the sore as quickly as possible. Some of the most popular homeopathic cold sore remedies include camphor oil, cornstarch, one type of mint, and the amino acid lysine.
Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), though, in some cases, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) can also cause sores on the mouth. This virus is common, and it is estimated that nearly 90 percent of the population carries HSV-1. It is easily spread through kissing, sharing drinking glasses, and touching. Once a person has HSV-1, he will carry the virus for life, even if he does not show any future signs of it. HSV-1 is most infectious while a cold sore is present, and viral shedding occurs immediately upon the sore breaking out; once it scabs over, the site is no longer infectious.
Camphor oil is a popular homeopathic remedy for cold sores. It should be applied immediately when a tingle is felt in the lip, because this is often the first sign that a cold sore is developing, though it can still be useful if applied while the sore is visible. A small amount should be placed on the fingertip and gently rubbed into the sore or the area that is tingling. Your hands should be washed immediately after application to avoid spreading any of the virus to other parts of your body or to others.
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Another common homeopathic remedy for cold sores is cornstarch. A small amount of cornstarch can be mixed with water to form a paste. This paste is then applied directly to the sore. The starch helps shrink the affected area and also provides a soothing feeling. Ice can also be used to help numb the area and provide some pain relief.
A paste of the mint Melissa officinalis is yet another homeopathic remedy for cold sores. This has been reported to help speed the healing process of the sore by about five days. While this isn't instant relief, it does provide a quicker healing time and helps reduce the pain felt from the sore.
Lysine is an amino acid that also has been reported to be effective in the treatment of cold sores and HSV-1. Supplements of this amino acid are available in most health food stores. If taken upon feeling the first tingle of a cold sore, it can also speed the healing process and reduce the appearance of the sore.