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.