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Friday, November 27, 2009

Lemon Balm for Cold Sores

by Sadge, at Firesign Farm
It's cold and flu season here. I usually stay pretty healthy, but one of my first warnings that I might have picked up a virus is getting a cold sore. Monday afternoon, while I was out working in the garden (too much sun can also be a trigger), I could feel the beginnings of a tender spot just inside my lip. I don't have time to be sick (does anyone? stress can also be a trigger). So I took quick action to stop the virus in its tracks. Lemon balm to the rescue!

Cold sores, herpes outbreaks, and shingles are all caused by the same virus family, and lemon balm is a great anti-viral herb. Lemon balm is an easy-to-grow perennial, a member of the mint family. It returns every year in my herb garden. It makes a nice summer tea, but I cut and dry most of it for winter use.

Whenever I feel the start of a cold sore inside my lip, I boil up a really strong detoction of equal amounts of dried lemon balm and water. Monday evening, I boiled together half-cup water with a handful of dried lemon balm for about 10 minutes. After it cooled, I strained it, soaked a cotton ball in the dark brown liquid, and held it inside my lip for a few minutes. After reapplying the soaked cotton ball a few times through the evening, I diluted what was left with a cup of water, heated it in the microwave, added a spoonful of honey (also an anti-viral and anti-bacterial), and drank the tea before bedtime. Lemon balm is also a calming and relaxing herb, helping to lower stress levels, so it makes a nice warming bedtime tea anytime. By morning, the cold sore was gone.

13 comments:

KC said...

Thanks for that tip. That can be the next herb I plant.

Anonymous said...

I find it extremely unlikely that you managed to cure a cold sore in one night like that! the medical profession is baffled by herpes and has only come up with a few drugs (namely Aciclovir) that shorten the life of the cold sore but none of them can make a cold sore go away in just an evening! perhaps what you had was something else? otherwise you would be sitting on a gold mine with that solution... (as a cold sore sufferer i have tried just about everything herbal and otherwise and NOTHING works in an evening)... it is one nasty virus

Toria said...

Anonymous, while I agree that it is unlikely that she cured a cold sore that already developed inside a day, I think if you read carefully, she felt the cold sore developing & applied this to prevent the cold sore fully forming. I know if I can start treating mine before they form, I can sometimes avoid them, or at least lessen the severity.

Anonymous said...

Hm, doesn't sound like a true "cold sore," more like an aphthous ulcer, if it really was on the "inside of the lip." Herpetic lesions do not erupt on non-keratinized mucosal tissues such as the lining inside of the cheek or lip. I have seen and experienced aphthous ulcers resolving quickly with better teeth cleaning, warm salt water rinses and such. I don't doubt the lemon verbena helped.

Anonymous said...

It was Lemon Balm, not Lemon Verbena.

Anonymous said...

I also suffer from this ailment and will try your tip. I have a trick of my own that sometimes works. If I can catch it at the "tingly hurty" stage I spend a few hours applying ice to the spot and if I'm lucky it does not "erupt". Maybe we could combine the two treatments and make ice cubes of lemon balm?? And yes stress is usually a factor and sunlight so maybe just chilling in the shade is enough to let our bodies do what they need to do ;-)

Jackie @ Lilolu said...

I will be sure to try this home remedy the next time I feel a cold sore coming. If it doesn't help then at least I'll have a tasty tea. Thanks for the tip.

Sadge said...

I welcome the skepticism from Anonymous(s). I get to learn too. I've never heard of an aphthous ulcer so I looked it up. Also known as a canker sore, that sounds like what I had. The facts:
5 p.m. an open sore inside my bottom lip
6, 7, 8, 9 p.m. 10 minute applications of cotton ball, sopping wet with lemon balm detoction
10 p.m. drink remaining detoction, diluted with honey
8 a.m. next morning sore healed

Anonymous said...

Anyone tried Lemon Balm salve?

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

natural is the only way to go. I would much rather do this than go get some drug from the doctor. I dont want anything toxic going into or onto my body.
You gotta give her credit for trying something out and it working. Herbs are amazing and I will always choose them over any medication.

Ria said...

I knew that lemon balm was good for stress, but I didn't know it could be used for cold sores and the like. I'm going to make good use of that information this winter, that's for certain! Thanks!

Sarah said...

I thought shingles were from the Chicken pox virus. If you do end up with what you think is shingles (more like a rash-less like a cold sore), you should go to a dr. The virus can damage your nerves!

Sarah said...

Oh, and I meant to say thanks for the tip too :P
I've had aphthous ulcers since I was very little. It's not from poor hygiene (believe me!)-I get them from eating something like a chip that barely pokes my lip, from hormone changes, from citrus, and sometimes from too much toothpaste (I stopped using anything with SLS a long time ago). My mom used to put campho-phenique on them when I was really little. Ouch. I've never done that voluntarily :P

I've tried lots of different remedies without much success. The doctors and dentists always try to prescribe pain killers. No thanks! Lemon Balm is one thing I haven't tried, though! I hope it works next time I feel one starting up!!