Over the years, I’ve had a few friends request blends and protocols to help them deal with their cold sores. It took a little bit of time to perfect my go-to recipe, but now that I’ve tested a variety of blends and found one that really works for the majority of people who have tried it, I thought I’d share the recipe and its variation options (along with a few other tips) with you today.
STEP ONE: HERBAL OIL
The first thing you’ll need to do to make an herbal aromatherapy oil for cold sores is infuse a carrier oil with herbs. I have a whole article written about the different ways you can do this (click here to read it). The herbs you’ll need are St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), and Calendula (Calendula officinalis).
St. John’s Wort
Infuse the fresh flowering tops into your carrier oil using one of the methods described in this article. You must use fresh flowering tops, not dried, in order to extract the analgesic (pain relieving) hypericin from the plant material.
St. John’s Wort has analgesic and antiviral effects that will help to both reduce the pain caused by the cold sore and combat the virus causing the cold sore.
Calendula flowers will need to be dried before infusing into your carrier oil and since I use Calendula infused oil in so many preparations, I recommend infusing them in a separate jar than your other carriers. Calendula oil benefits from a short application of heat before straining. You can do this over a double broiler on the stove (low heat) or you can leave the jar outside for a couple of hours on a sunny, summer day to allow the sun to do the work for you. The heat will help extract even more of those skin-healing resinous compounds from the Calendula.
Calendula is going to add a layer of skin-repairing, soothing properties to the herbal oil base of the blend. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Lemon Balm can be infused into its carrier after it has been freshly dried. You want to use plant material that has been harvested within the last month or two for the best effects, since dried Lemon Balm loses many of its aromatic components quickly.
Lemon Balm is a specific herb for the virus that causes cold sores and is a potent antiviral that will help to both treat and prevent the cold sore.
Which oil to use?
You can use whichever carrier oil you have on hand. I prefer Sunflower seed oil because it’s a nice, lightweight oil that isn’t too greasy-feeling on the skin, but olive oil, jojoba, coconut oil, etc. would all work just as well.
Blending the base recipe
Once your herbal oils have finished infusing and have been strained, create your base recipe by combining them as follows:
- 3 parts St. John’s Wort infused carrier oil
- 3 parts Lemon Balm infused carrier oil
- 2 parts Calendula infused carrier oil
This is your finished base recipe. You can use it as-is if you are sensitive to stronger plant products like essential oils, or you can continue to Step Two.
STEP TWO: ESSENTIAL OILS
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender essential oil will help to reduce inflammation and pain caused by the cold sore and will also soothe and nourish the skin.
Lemon Balm essential oil is often sold as Melissa essential oil and will contribute its powerful antiviral effects to the blend in an added layer of therapeutics.
If you don’t have this essential oil on hand, feel free to leave it out of the recipe, as it is one of the pricier essential oils available. The herbal oil base will have a small amount of essential oil in it. You can also use Lemon Balm hydrosol, separately, instead.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
Tulsi essential oil is both analgesic and antiviral and will contribute those therapeutic effects to the finished product.
Adding the essential oils
Add your essential oils to your base oil blend in the following proportions:
- Lavender essential oil: 12 drops per ounce of carrier oil (2% dilution)
- Lemon Balm essential oil: 3 drops per ounce of carrier oil (0.5% dilution)
- Tulsi essential oil: 1 drop per ounce of carrier oil (<0.5% dilution)
Total essential oil dilution: ~3%
Do not store this blend in a roller bottle because you’ll risk contaminating the product.
Step Three (optional): Salve or Lip Balm
If you prefer to use a more solid product, you can add a little bit of beeswax (and/or cocoa butter) to your base oil blend before adding your essential oils. To do so, melt the beeswax over low heat in a double broiler, then stir in your base oil until thoroughly combined. I like to use a 5:1 or 6:1 oil:beeswax ratio for my products, but if you prefer a harder consistency, try a 4:1. Remove from the heat, stir in your essential oil blend, then pour into tins or jars and leave to cool.
I don’t recommend storing this recipe in lip balm tubes. Tins or jars are preferred to avoid direct-application contamination. Always use a clean finger when you dip your finger into the product and do not double-dip with the same finger.
- Apply often, at the first sign that a cold sore might be coming on, and then for several days after it has gone away.
- Lemon Balm and Tulsi tea can be taken regularly to help prevent the onset of a cold sore. Check for contraindications before consuming.
- In a pinch, a tincture of Lemon Balm, St. John’s Wort, or even Tulsi can be applied instead of this recipe.
How about you? Do you have a recipe that you like to use for cold sores?