Approximately 90% of adults carry the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. Some continue as carriers, never developing visible sores, while others experience regular flare-ups. Cold sores, usually develop as blisters beneath the skin before breaking, seeping, and crusting over for a week to ten days. While a wide range of pharmacy products are available for treating cold sores, some home remedies could help control or shorten the duration of a flare-up.
Several small studies cite lemon balm as a useful natural remedy for cold sores due to its ability to block the herpes virus from entering cells. The essential oil may be able to minimize a flare-up when applied to an emerging cold sore or even speed the healing process. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits. Additionally, lemon balm may provide relief from the discomfort. It is best applied diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil, a few times a day.
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