I’m celebrating! Which is always a good thing to do in winter. What am I celebrating you ask? That I can’t remember how long ago I had my last cold sore. Well I did stop and think about it and realised it was about 3 years ago. For someone who has dealt year in and year out with not 1 but often up to 3 cold sores a year I’m thrilled to think that I may have killed this horrid virus once and for all. And my treatment and cure I believe is coconut oil.
Coconut Oil Treatment and Cure for Cold Sores
What is a cold sore.
Cold sores or fever blisters are the visual outworking of the herpes simplex virus. Here’s an explanation from wikipedia:
Herpes simplex (Greek: ????? herp?s, “creeping” or “latent”) is a viral disease from the herpesviridae family caused by both Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Infection with the herpes virus is categorized into one of several distinct disorders based on the site of infection. Oral herpes, the visible symptoms of which are colloquially called cold soresor fever blisters, is an infection of the face or mouth. Oral herpes is the most common form of infection.
They are ugly, painful and if severe enough will destroy even the most beautiful lip line. Most people contract the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1, when they are children and usually they have it for life. It’s contracted usually through saliva or direct contact with the blisters. However it’s possible that it can also be transmitted even when there are no blisters as the virus lives in the skin cells of the lips. (Type 2 HSV is transmitted through sexual contact and causes sores and blisters around the genital area).
The outbreak of blisters on the lips, mouth, gums or around the nose area are just one of the symptoms of the virus. You can also experience:
- Sore Throat
- Swollen neck glands
What triggers an outbreak.
- Weather conditions such as over exposure to the sun or windy weather.
- The flu or other viruses or illness.
- Stress both emotional and physical.
- Hormonal changes such as menstrual period.
Cold sore symptoms
- Usually tingling or itching a day or 2 before hand.
- Blisters appear.
- Blisters can burn and itch.
- Blisters usually burst in a few days or so.
- A crust forms over the blister and then falls off after a few days.
- Takes up to 10 – 15 days to completely heal.
The above symptoms can vary between individuals. I can’t say I had much luck in blisters bursting and forming a crust within a few days. Here’s what I experienced:
- Tingling and itching
- Blister would form within a day
- Blisters would burn and itch.
- Blisters would not burst without treatment.
- A crust forms and at this point the skin around the crust would get dryer and dryer. The crust would get tighter and tighter and eventually spilt and bleed.
- The crust would take up to 2 weeks to shrink and eventually fall off leaving very raw and vulnerable skin behind.
- This process could take anywhere up to 3 weeks.
Cold Sore Preventions
- Avoid long periods of being in the direct sun. Cover up face and lips with a hat, sarong and plenty of lip balm to keep lips protected.
- Avoid windy conditions where possible. Cover lips well with lip balm (paw paw cream works the best for me).
- Replace your toothbrush. Toothbrushes can harbour the virus in the bristles, so treat yourself to a new brush after the outbreak has healed.
- Deal with other stresses in your life. The herpes simplex virus lies dormant in the nerve cells just waiting for the trigger to set them off. Try and get plenty of rest, and avoid excess consumption of alcohol.
- Avoid passing the virus on by not sharing toothbrushes, food items and kissing especially when you have an outbreak. Some researchers say that even when the virus is dormant you can still pass the virus through kissing!!
Cold Sore Remedies – What treatments are available for cold sores.
There are many natural remedies and pharmaceutical treatments available for treating cold sores. These are just a few that I’ve found while researching. I’ve written pro’s and con’s next to them. When I was very young I remember using some horrible liquid that I would paint onto the cold sore which would burn my lip more than I think the cold sore would. Many websites and practitioners advise that if you don’t interfere with the cold sore it will heal naturally itself. After my experience I tend not to agree with this; here’s why. The entire lip that the cold sore is on is impacted. The skin becomes dry and cracked and if left unattended will result in spilt lips and skin cells that are stressed and unprotected to further outbreaks. Instead it’s best if you can catch the beginning of the cold sore with the first tingle and start treatment right away.
- Ice the cold sore – the environment of the cold sore is hot, so keeping it cool by putting ice on it stops the growth of the blister and reduces pain and duration of the virus outbreak. I wished I had heard about this back in my younger days. Not sure how well it works but it’s worth a try.
- Vasoline or paw paw cream coverage – if the environment of the cold sore is hot and moist, then this remedy doesn’t work in the early stages. A jelly ointment will only make the cold sore sweat and therefore grow further. I know this one personally as I’ve tried it. The time to use this is around the surrounding lip area to keep it from drying out and then later on when the blister has crusted in order for it to not dry too much and then spilt and bleed.
- Pain relief – Ibuprofen, asprin or another type of pain killer could assist when the blister is at it’s most painful. Never tried any of these so can’t really comment.
- Milk – Try soaking a cotton pad in milk and holding it over the blister to relieve pain. Can’t comment on this one either.
- Lemon Oil – dabbing the cold sore with lemon oil using a cotton tip. Do this 2-3 times a day. Can’t comment, other than be careful as this may sting.
- Salt – wet your finger and then dab a small amount of salt on it. Place the salt onto the blister and press down gently for a few seconds for the salt to enter the cold sore. Haven’t used this but trust that salt could make a difference as it has such good healing properties especially for areas like the mouth. If the cold sore is further under the lip and more under the gum, a salt water solution could be used to swish around your mouth and then spat out.
- Tea bags – Soak a tea bag in hot water and then let cool. Apply the tea bag directly to the cold sore for 5 to 10 minutes. Re apply every 1-2 hours, using a fresh tea bag each time. Can’t comment as I haven’t tried this, but I would give this a go.
- Propolis – a substance used by bees to “cement” their hives together, propolis has been found to be a good preventative for cold sores. I have used propolis on mouth ulcers for a few years now, and it works wonders. I would think it would work the same way on a cold sore. Dab a small amount on using a cotton bud. It will sting a little at first but will numb the pain within seconds. Reapply whenever the numbness wears off. Propolis can be found in most health food stores.
- Lysine – is a amino acid found in meat, eggs, cheese, brewers yeast, wheatgerm and fish. Lysine has been found to inhibit the spread of herpes simplex virus. However Lysine has to compete with another amino acid called Arginine, which is found in chocolate, peanuts and almonds. The ratio of Lysine needs to be higher than Arginine, therefore it’s a good idea to reduce and cut out those foods containing Arginine, at least for the duration of the cold sore outbreak and increase your intake of the foods containing Lysine. A Lysine supplement can be taken and is available from chemists or health food shops. Lysine supplements taken on a daily basis may help in preventing further outbreaks. I have used Lysine for most of my life. As I got older the outbreaks were certainly more controllable but certainly not preventable.
- Zinc – If you suffer from cold sores than your immune system will be weakened by the virus. Boost your immune by taking a Zinc supplement during and perhaps on a more regular basis to shorten the duration of the outbreak and hopefully prevent any further ones. You can measure your Zinc levels by having a blood test or by taking a liquid zinc drink. The drink is swilled in your mouth and your reaction to it will identify whether you are Zinc deficient or not. If what you taste is bitter and just plain awful, you are probably not Zinc deficient, however if the drink tastes sweet – then you are. Zinc supplements are available at health food shops. I have used Zinc supplements on and off for most of my life. Not sure if they helped as a preventative or not.
- Zovirax -
Zovirax antiviral cream contains an antiviral ingredient (aciclovir) that works to stop the virus replicating or works to treat the virus.
Only Zovirax antiviral cream contains MAC-P®, an absorption accelerant which helps the cream penetrate 5 x faster* so the antiviral (aciclovir) can reach the site of the infection more quickly.1
* 24hr aciclovir penetration compared to other aciclovir cream.
- While I don’t often recommend pharmaceutical products, when you are in a desperate situation, and cold sores often would make me feel quite desperate, then a treatment regardless of it’s origin feels like the lifeline especially when it works. Zovirax is that product. If you can catch the cold sore at the tingle then you will at least reduce the duration of the outbreak – but it won’t perform miracles. It won’t prevent another outbreak and in my experience the outbreak that I was treating would still last up to 2 weeks and if I didn’t get to it on the onset (tingle) then it only managed to help numb the pain and nothing else. This was all before I started using coconut oil.
Why Coconut Oil Treats and Cures Cold Sores
The fact that coconut oil is anti viral, anti fungal and anti bacterial is what makes it such a valuable treatment for the Herpes Simplex Virus. The other important fact is the MCFAs in coconut oil. Often people who suffer with cold sores, canker sores or even peptic ulcers are under extreme stress either physically or emotionally. This effects their immune system and digestive system. Cold sores, canker sores and ulcers are all caused by bacteria causing viruses. Many doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat the virus. Recently I heard of a friend who was diagnosed with Helicobacter Pylori (which is the virus bacteria that causes stomach ulcers), who was prescribed 8 antibiotics per day for 2 weeks. The antibiotics not only killed the bacteria, but would of killed all good bacteria in the gut that is needed for eating, digesting and aid production of hormones needed to feed the brain and other parts of the body.
Coconut oil offers another approach without harming the good bacteria. H. pylori (ulcers), streptococcus (bacteria that causes canker sores), and herpes simplex virus (cold sores), which are all associated with various types of ulcers are killed by the MCFAs in coconut oil.
Bruce Fife – Coconut Cures (my parenthesis)
I am convinced that since I started taking coconut oil daily (1-3 tablespoons) I have been cured of the herpes simplex virus, a virus which most believe is yours for life once contracted. After my last cold sore (some three years ago) I have not had one outbreak. That’s pretty radical for a girl who used to get a minimum of 2-3 per year.
Using Coconut Oil for Cold Sores
This is what I did.
When you feel that first tingle apply coconut oil to the area using an orange stick or cotton bud. Important – do not use your fingertips as you may end up infecting other areas. Repeat the application once every hour. The cold sore should quickly crust and shrink within 2-4 days. Keep applying coconut oil along with paw paw cream to avoid the lip splitting and bleeding.
Bruce Fife recommends the following. Since I haven’t had anymore I have not had the chance to try this but would highly recommend it.
Take a Lysine tablet and crush into a powder. Add coconut oil and mix into a paste. Apply the paste to the infected area as soon as the tingle begins. Cover with micropore tape and keep it on overnight. Take a maintenance dose of coconut oil (about 3 tablespoons a day) and 500 mg of Lysine 3 times daily for two weeks.
The blister should not form but shrink and die off even without forming a crust. And just think you could be on the way to beautiful lips once more!
I hope this information has been helpful. Leave a comment or ask a question.
Disclaimer: I am not a trained medical professional or a self proclaimed health guru so please see a doctor or health professional if you have any serious concerns about your health.