Which essential oils against a cold sore or a cold sore ?

Commonly known as a "cold sore", cold sores appear as a cluster of very painful blisters around the lips. This infection is caused by the HSV-1 virus (herpes simplex type 1) while HSV-2 is responsible for genital herpes. After a primary infection that usually goes unnoticed, these viruses have the particularity of remaining "dormant" in the body. Depending on the individual, an infectious episode, fatigue or stress, exposure to the sun or cold, menstruation, or the use of medications with immunosuppressive effects are enough to "reactivate" them. In case of a herpes outbreak, there are several essential oils with antiviral and analgesic properties known to be particularly effective. It is recommended to apply them as soon as the precursory signs of the eruption appear (burning and tingling sensation, slight fever, aches

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Why are essential oils effective?

Several essential oils such as Ravintsara or Niaouli have long been recognized for their antiviral properties, whether for colds, flu or even herpes. In vitro studies have been able to highlight their different modes of action on viruses: by direct destruction (virucides), by preventing them from entering cells (adsorption and penetration phase) or even from multiplying (replication phase).

This antiviral activity of essential oils would even be particularly effective on so-called "enveloped" viruses such as herpes viruses. Research that has focused on essential oils such as Tea Tree and several isolated molecules (monoterpenes, alcohols, citral and 1,8-cineole), has indeed confirmed their strong virucidal activity. Further studies are still needed, but expert advice and feedback on their use confirm an interest in this area, especially since conventional treatments are still imitating their effectiveness for the moment.

It is especially recommended to use essential oils at the first signs and/or in synergy to optimize their antiviral power. This also allows additional action on pain and skin regeneration, by combining essential oils with analgesic or healing properties. But beware, this is a very contagious virus. It is therefore necessary to remain vigilant until complete healing to avoid contaminating loved ones. As for complications, they are quite rare. In case of persistence or aggravation of the signs, it is however important to consult a doctor.

The quick reflex: Niaouli essential oil

From 6 years old. By cutaneous way, put 1 drop of pure essential oil of Niaouli on the affected area. Apply every 2 hours, until the herpes disappears.

From 3 years of age and for reactive skin. By cutaneous way, prepare a 20% mixture (60 drops of Niaouli essential oil in 8 mL of vegetable oil). Apply 1 to 2 drops of the mixture to the affected area every 2 hours until the herpes disappears.

More details: how to use Niaouli properly?

Complete synergy for adults and children

The mixture

Take your empty bottle and add :

  • 25 drops of Niaouli essential oil 25 drops of Tea Tree essential oil 50 drops of True Lavender essential oil

Close (click!), homogenize and label your bottle. Your synergy is ready !

How to use

Put 1 drop of the mixture directly on the affected area. Apply every 2 hours until the herpes disappears.

For the reactive and sensitive skins, it is possible to dilute 1 drop of the mixture in a little vegetable oil before application.

Wash hands thoroughly after application in case of direct contact.

Authorized users

YES. Adults, teenagers and children + 3 years old.
NO. Pregnant and nursing women, children - 3 years old.

More details: essential oils for children over 3

Special precautions

  • This synergy contains hormone-like components. As a precaution, it is recommended to take the advice of a health professional in case of hormone-dependent disease. It is also possible to replace the Niaouli by the essential oil of Ravintsara.
  • Ask for medical advice before use for asthmatics and epileptics.
  • It is also recommended to perform the allergy test with the mixture in the hollow of the elbow before any use.

These precautions apply under the conditions of application and dosage cited above. If in doubt, ask your question on our forum and consult your doctor.

Why these essential oils?

The essential oil of Niaouli

Niaouli essential oil is the one most often recommended for herpes relief. Although there are no clinical studies yet to validate this reputation, several of its components do indeed have complementary properties consistent with use in this indication. 1,8-cineole, the majority in Niaouli (45 to 65%), is in virucidal effect. Combined with α-terpineol, another component of Niaouli, 1,8-cineole also has the ability to penetrate the virus membrane and prevent its multiplication.

In addition, Niaouli has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its content of sesquiterpenes such as β-carophyllene, which will act in synergy with eucalyptol and α-terpineol. Finally, nerolidol (5 to 10% in Niaouli essential oil) is a sesquiterpene alcohol with healing properties, capable of acting even at low doses.

The essential oil of Tea Tree

Known for these broad-spectrum anti-infective properties, Tea Tree essential oil (or Tea Tree) is said to be active on the herpes virus HSV-1 through a predominantly virucidal action. In particular, a 2010 study linked this property to the presence of alpha-pinene and alpha-terpineol. Tea Tree essential oil also contains a high concentration of terpinene-4-ol (between 30 and 50%), a monoterpenol that is both highly antiviral and anti-inflammatory.

All these properties make it another essential oil of choice against herpes. When used alone, it is recommended to apply it as soon as the first signs of a herpes outbreak appear.

The essential oil of True Lavender

The richness of True Lavender essential oil in linalool and linalyl acetate gives it antalgic and anti-inflammatory properties particularly sought after in cases of herpes. As fever blister outbreaks are most often very painful, Lavender will then complement the antiviral activity of the other essential oils in the blend. In addition, True Lavender essential oil is cutaneous regenerator. Hence its interest throughout the herpes outbreak until the healing phase.

Finally, it is its calming and sedative properties that will be appreciated in olfaction, especially when herpes is promoted by stress.

Alternative essential oils

  • L'essential oil of Ravintsara. Like Niaouli, Ravintsara essential oil is particularly rich in 1,8-cineole (50 to 60%), a molecule with antiviral properties validated by scientific studies on several viruses including the herpes HSV-1 virus. The particularity of 1,8-cineole is that it acts as a virucide, but also as an inhibitor of the intracellular replication phase. Ravintsara essential oil also contains alpha-terpineol (5-11%), a monoterpenol that is also present in Niaouli and has been studied for its antiviral potency.
    Given all of these similarities between Niaouli and Ravintsara, they can be considered interchangeable in cases of cold sore. Since Niaouli is not recommended for people with a hormone-dependent pathology, it is therefore possible to replace it with Ravintsara in the synergy proposed above.

  • Matrix Chamomile Essential Oil. According to a scientific review published in 2021, Chamomile Matricaria essential oil would be particularly effective in cases of cold sores. Information is still insufficient to suggest an appropriate mode of use, but it is already known to be virucidal and inhibitory of intracellular replication and diffusion processes, with significant specificity against HSV-1. This is very promising information in this field.
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