Shirley Wenger is a professional journalist and editor who has been working in the publishing industry for more than 15 years. She is an award-winning...Read more

Cold sores, although uncomfortable, are common: about 90% of us will have at least one cold sore at some point in our lives. The good news is that there are many effective natural remedies for cold sores that speed healing, provide symptom relief, and potentially prevent future outbreaks.

Cold Sores

Diet and Lifestyle


  • Incorporate Lysine into the Diet

Lysine, an amino acid, speeds cold sore healing and may prevent future outbreaks. Lysine is an excellent natural cold sore treatment packed with antiviral properties that accelerate the healing process of a virus called Herpes Simplex 1 that causes outbreaks. Proteins such as yogurt, fish, and cheese, as well as fruits like mangoes, pears, apricots, and apples,  are all excellent sources of lysine. Alternately, take a lysine supplement, preferably on an empty stomach.

  • Avoid Arginine-Rich Foods

Avoid foods that are high in arginines, such as seeds, nuts, cola, coffee, and chocolate; these foods exacerbate the virus and extend the length of the outbreak. However, eating lysine-rich foods and including lysine supplements in your diet block some of the arginine’s effects.

  • Avoid Stress

Evidence suggests that cold sores occur more frequently when people experience stress, whether it is physical, emotional, or environmental. In some cases, stress also extends the length of outbreaks. Sufficient rest and exercise, including meditation, also serve as a great stress reliever.

Symptom Relief

There are several simple and effective natural remedies for cold sores that provide immediate symptom relief.

  • Aloe Vera

The juice of aloe vera, a succulent plant that many people grow in their homes, applied directly to the cold sore soothes pain, inflammation, and burning. Moreover, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can speed healing. If you do not have an aloe vera plant, you can purchase aloe vera gel, an equally effective natural cold sore treatment.

Sliced of aloe vera leaf

  • Ice

Placing an ice pack directly on your cold sore provides immediate pain relief and reduces swelling. Remember to limit the application to no more than 15 minutes to avoid damaging the skin. Repeat this practice up to six times a day.

  • Sunscreen

Finally, placing sunscreen over your cold sore protects it as it heals. In addition, for many, repeated outbreaks appear after excessive exposure to the sun, so wearing sunscreen on the affected area every day, aids the prevention of cold sores.

While cold sores may be an uncomfortable nuisance, there are many safe, natural remedies you can use to treat them, relieve their symptoms, and prevent future outbreaks. Nature provides you with all the tools you need to feel better, right away.


Shirley Wenger is a professional journalist and editor who has been working in the publishing industry for more than 15 years. She is an award-winning writer and her work has been featured in various publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time Magazine.

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