Whether you refer to them as fever blisters or cold sores, an outbreak of them is never enjoyable. Fever blisters stem from a viral infection and appear as small, fluid-filled blisters that usually cluster around the mouth. They are symptoms of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), and are contagious through contact. As there is no cure for HSV, the only thing you can do when fever blisters occur is try to treat them. In this article, we will take a look at a few essential oils which have the potential to be number one on your list of the best essential oil for fever blisters!
How to Stop the Spread of Fever Blisters
Fever blisters are contagious. It isn't hard for the herpes simplex virus to transfer from one person to another. However, there are a few things you can do to help stop the spread of HSV:
- Avoid touching, scratching, and picking at your cold sores. This may allow the virus to spread to other parts of your face. Also, touching someone else means the risk of passing it on to them
- Frequently wash your hands. The more clean your hands are, the less likely it is that you will pass the virus on to someone else
- Avoid sharing your towel, soap, lip balm, or toothpaste with others. These actions are the main causes of the spread of HSV
- Avoid kissing, hugging, and other activities that involve physical touching during an outbreak
What Makes Essential Oils Effective?
Research tells us that essential oils can be effective against fever blisters in a few different ways: direct virucidal activity (meaning they kill virus cells), inhibiting the functions that allow virus cells to multiply, or by interfering directly with HSV cells and inhibiting cell adsorption. Many of the current medicinal treatments for fever blisters imitate these same mechanisms. However, due to viral mutations, a lot of these same medications are becoming ineffective. Because herbal remedies are cheap, easy to produce, and generally have low levels of side effects they are beginning to attract more attention. While some essential oils can directly impact fever blisters, others work to offer potential relief from symptoms.
Best Essential Oil for Fever Blisters: 10 Best Oils for Cold Sores
Chamomile essential oil comes from a daisy-like plant that is native to many different regions of the world. There are two main varieties when it comes to essential oils: Roman/English and German chamomile. Either one of these can be a great option to fight cold sores! Researchers have concluded that chamomile might be effective in battling fever blisters, as experiments showed high antiviral activity against drug-resistant strains of the virus. Chamomile is also known for being gentle on the skin, meaning it may be appropriate for those people with sensitivities.
Preliminary studies indicate that clove bud essential oil may contain antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Though it may not be the best essential oil for fever blisters, it definitely deserves a spot on the list. You can not put clove oil directly on the skin, so ensure that you always dilute it first before applying. In addition to being a potential antiviral agent, anecdotal evidence indicates that clove oil can also help relieve pain.
Eucalyptus essential oil has a long history of medicinal use. It is an effective anti-inflammatory and is also capable of working as an analgesic. It also might be the best essential oil for fever blisters, as there is actually research to back up its effectiveness. While not a proven treatment, studies indicate eucalyptus oil is capable of virucidal activity against HSV.
Famous around the world, ginger is good for more than just the kitchen. Coming from the rhizome of the ginger plant, ginger extract is a good choice for battling cold sores. Not only do studies show that it may be effective at reducing symptoms, but it is also a warming oil. This means it warms up skin upon application. If you dilute ginger oil and apply it topically to fever blisters, the warmth may offer some relief from pain.
Lavender essential oil might not be the best essential oil for fever blisters in particular, but it offers other attributes that give it a place on our list. It is an oil that is commonly used to fight pain, inflammation, redness, and swelling. All of these things can be side effects that occur during a fever blister breakout.
Studies show that oregano essential oil offers antiviral activity against the herpes simplex virus that causes fever blisters. Oregano oil has been used for medical purposes for many years, and many people swear by its numerous benefits and uses. Anecdotal evidence indicates oregano can speed up healing, along with reducing pain and swelling. It is very important to dilute oregano oil before using it topically, as applying the oil raw can cause burning and skin irritation.
Peppermint essential oil comes from the plant botanically known as Mentha piperita. It is actually a hybrid of two different mint plants: spearmint and watermint. Though it is number eight on our list, peppermint oil is one of the top essential oils for fever blisters. It is very high in menthol, which is one of nature’s most powerful analgesics. Menthol is also a cooling agent, so using peppermint oil for cold sores can potentially help to cool the area, numbing and dulling pain.
Containing similar properties to oregano oil, thyme essential oil also shows some evidence of being an effective antiviral agent against HSV. Research, however, is quite limited, and more human trials need to be done.
Many people claim that tea tree essential oil is the best essential oil for fever blisters. This is because it contains antiseptic and antiviral properties. Though not clinically proven, tea tree oil may be an effective natural treatment for cold sores by drying the blisters out and then helping to prevent further bacterial infection.
A study in 2011 found that anise star essential oil showed extremely high antiviral activity towards HSV. The results show that it reduced virus infectivity by over >99%. Researchers believe this relates to the constituents that make up the essential oil, such as sesquiterpenes like b-caryophyllene.
The Best Essential Oil for Fever Blisters: Using Oils Safely
- Any essential oil can be irritating to the skin if you do not dilute it first. Use a carrier oil of your choice, and follow proper dilution guidelines before applying.
- We recommend always doing a patch test before applying essential oils to the skin. Put the diluted combination onto a small area—such as the inside of the wrist—and leave for a day before continuing with further use
- When applying your diluted mixture of essential oils to a cold sore it is best to use a cotton swab and to ensure you thoroughly wash your hands both before and after
- Never ingest essential oils, they are intended for external use only due to their potency. This includes taking care not to lick your lips after you’ve applied an oil mixture
Fever blisters are never an enjoyable thing to have to deal with. Not only are they unsightly, they are often painful, with symptoms including itching and burning. We hope that somewhere on this list you will find the best essential oil for fever blisters for your particular needs. Be sure to take care when using oils, and follow all the necessary precautions! Feel free to leave a note in the comments section below with your favorite oils for treating cold sores!