In January Scott and I went on a vacation to Roatan, Honduras. I always choose places with good food and Central America has been great for us in the past because they serve locally caught seafood and locally grown veggies. Some of my most memorable meals are from when we were on a tiny island off the coast of Mexico and when we went to Panama.

We had fresh eggs and veggies every morning in Panama.


And I still dream about this raw tuna and veggie dish (I didn’t eat the bread).


And in Mexico we found some of the freshest, tastiest ceviche.


But in Roatan, despite the good reviews, despite the fact that it’s an island, we did not have good food. I had even called to confirm we could eat gluten and soy free. But for some reason, all of the food was imported, even the seafood. There was no fresh fish. There were no fresh vegetables. And most things were either fried or came in a sauce that I’m sure contained gluten, sugar and/or MSG.

I felt terrible. I was bloated, my brain was foggy, and worst of all, it really affected my mood. Not only because I was bummed about the crappy food, but because eating that junk directly affects the brain. I couldn’t even eat breakfast – we tried one time and the eggs they served us were green. GREEN! This ain’t a Dr. Seuss book!

So in addition to eating poorly, I was stressing about eating poorly. Which caused the worst cold sore of my life.

By the end of the trip, I couldn’t smile. If I tried, my cold sore would rip open and bleed. It extended from my lip down onto my chin and it hurt like hell. Even my normal natural remedies didn’t work, and it took two weeks to go away. Not to mention the fact that it was really gross and embarrassing, not exactly what you want on your romantic vacation, but it just would not get better.

Then again, I didn’t have essential oils that time.

Recently I felt the familiar tingle of a cold sore about to pop up. If you’ve ever had one, you know what I’m talking about. Your lip feels a little sore and tingly, and it may even start to swell a bit. So instead of letting it even try to surface, I went into action.

First, I thought about the oil that is the oil for viruses. This oil is potent and cannot be applied directly – it has to be diluted! And that oil, my friends, is oregano.

A cold sore is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1). You can read this study demonstrating oregano oil’s efficacy with viruses.

Unlike antibiotics and prescription drugs, essential oils can penetrate cell membranes, which is where viruses live – within the cell. This makes it extremely effective for cold sores. I also used tea tree, lemon in addition to the oregano.

From a study performed at The Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, University of Heidelberg and featured in an issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy,

” Treatment of HSV-1 with oregano essential oil has been shown to disrupt the viral envelope (27). In preliminary electron microscopical studies, we also demonstrated a disruption of the viral envelope after pretreatment of HSV with essential oils, thereby impairing their abilities to infect host cells…Pretreatment of HSV with the analyzed essential oils prior to infection caused significant reductions of infectivity, ranging from 95.9% to 99.9% for the acyclovir-sensitive and drug-resistant HSV-1 strains.” Source

This study found that ginger, sandalwood, hyssop and thyme were also effective, as well as tea tree,

“Acyclovir-resistant clinical isolates of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) were analyzed in vitro for their susceptibilities to essential oils of ginger, thyme, hyssop, and sandalwood. All essential oils exhibited high levels of virucidal activity against acyclovir-sensitive strain KOS and acyclovir-resistant HSV-1 clinical isolates and reduced plaque formation significantly….Therefore, other antiherpetic agents which are effective against viral mutants resistant to current antiviral agents are of great interest for additional topical treatment of recurrent acyclovir-susceptible and acyclovir-resistant HSV-1 infections, as has been demonstrated by topical application of tea tree oil (2) against recurrent herpes labialis.”

I ripped up a piece of toilet paper and folded it until it was about the size of the area of the cold sore, about half inch by half inch. I added a mixture of oregano, tea tree and lemon oil. I fixed it overtop of where my lip was tingly and slightly swollen, and held it in place with a bandaid. I kept it there overnight and repeated the process in the throughout the next day, until the cold sore was completely gone. I alternated using all of the oils. Sometimes I’d use oregano, lemon and tea tree, sometimes tea tree and oregano. You will notice that the area may sting a bit. I actually found it refreshing and envisioned the oils sinking deep into my skin, penetrating my cells and killing this asshole of a virus.

In addition to the oils, I always diluted them with coconut oil.  I also ate coconut oil for its anti-viral properties.

Other Sources:


  1. Id really like to thank you for posting this article. I have been looking for good information like this for a while. I’m not sure if some bloggers avoid the topic or what but I know a lot of people out there get them and would love to know what they can do to prevent them naturally. Do you have any other recommendations besides oils?

    • dani stout Reply

      Just an overall healthy diet, coconut oil internally and topically, and probiotics to help fight it.

  2. Linda Kay Brown Reply

    Thank you! Well put! Exactly how I feel!!!! 🙂
    I will do this NOW!!

  3. Corrie DiStefano Reply

    Yes, I use essential oils, cannot remember what blend, in the same manner as you and the cold sore never surfaced. I use a cotton ball doused in EOs and apply as often as I can remember. Amazing results, way better than any pharma “solution”.

  4. As a sufferer of fever blisters for many years, I recently used Oregano oil on mine for the first time. I also used elderberry extract orally. I must say, this is the quickest one has ever healed and almost no pain this time. I am a believer!

  5. Kelly Leigh Reply

    I just woke up this morning with super cracked- chapped lips. I put some Chap Stick on and went on my merry way. Needless to say, by the time I arrived to work, I felt the itching- stinging feeling of a cold sore coming on. I am so mad!! It looks awful. I googled and found your blog and went out immediately to purchase Oregano and Lemon EO. I went to the bathroom to mix them and apply to the area. IT STINGS!! But I am looking forward to seeing if it helps at all. I’m also using some Abreeva… but this stuff never seems to work, anyway. Thank you for this blog and advice!

    • dani stout Reply

      A lot of essential oils out there contain synthetic ingredients, aren’t pure or distilled properly and are therefore not as effective. I only recommended doTERRA oils for this, and I know they work. But I hope the oils you got work for you!

  6. how long did this take to heal? I’ve been using tea tree oil(Mel.) and peppermint, thought bout vanilla. On top of using lysine to heal with minerals and vitamins, this time my lip is swollen and it’s horrendous.

    • dani stout Reply

      Are you using oils from doTERRA (directly from doTERRA, not ordered from Amazon)?

    • I use Tea Tree oil and Bergamont. Every now and then the bergamont will sting a little, not much. I will say that it cut the blister time down to less then 2 days. The scab time is taking a little longer. If you have any suggestions for that I would welcome them! :o)

      • dani stout Reply

        Awesome! And lavender is amazing for scabs and skin healing.

  7. My boyfriend had a cold sore last week, I had him use the oregano essential oil from DoTerra directly on his lip right on the sore. It burned but he did not take it off and sure enough it was gone in two days, and I could see a significant difference almost immediately. The next two days he used my onguard oil after the oregano oil. He fought the dryness the oils caused with regular chapstick.
    (be careful not to use so much that it burns your skin!) – he was amazed at how quickly it worked 🙂 I hope it stays away, I’ve never had one and hope I wont! Hope this helps anyone who may need it.

  8. Niki McCain Reply

    worked like a charm thanks chicka!! I just love your blog. It makes me smile ear to ear. 😀

  9. thanks for this great post, I’ve had a few nasty sores that left a scar on my lips and appreciated your natural solution. I will try it next time when I get a breakout. Someone above mentioned not to put too much oil on or we might burn our skin, I do not want another scar…How much oil should be mixed and applied?

      • Hi thanks, I started having an out break since last Friday on my lower lips. I had some tea tree oil on hand and tried it. I didn’t see your reply until now so I didn’t get a chance to add the coconut oil. It dried out my skin and it peeled a bit but seems a lot better then the out beaks before. My skin is raw and sore but it didn’t seem to get worse. On Saturday I had new outbreaks on the top lips and a little spread to areas above the lips, I was frantic and on the way to an appointment so I quickly got a bottle of “Organic Cold Sore Treatment from Veriditas Botanicals” from a local natural food store and applied it to my sores as often as possible. However the sores grew like little water blisters, is that normal? Do I need to pop the blisters? Is it crucial to apply the oils with the paper tissue? My previous sores were ugly and really gross so I didn’t know what to make of it. Am I getting better? How long does this process take in healing with Natural oils? I know this is a lot to digest, THANKS FOR HELPING, I feel so helpless and stressed when these sores surface.

        • dani stout Reply

          Sorry, I’d suggest seeing a doctor. I’m not familiar with the oil you’re using and I can only personally recommend doTERRA.

        • Do not pop them! They could spread. I have used oils and the blister still lasted several days to two weeks, but I will persist with the hope that it is not lasting as long as it would have without them. I am now on a daily regimen of 500 mg of Valtrex. I still got one though, which I heard can still happen. So back to the oils to help kill the nasty booger before my anniversary trip this weekend. Ugg!

  10. I used to use grapefruit seed essential oil on my cold sores. This helps.

  11. it cannot be regular essential oil, it MUST have atleast %70 Carvacrol, this is the key component of oregano that has the most healing properties. You will find that this oil is more expensive, but the benefits and uses are amazing!

  12. Do you think we can make a lip balm out of oregano oil and apply it daily to prevent cold sores?

    • dani Reply

      That would be really convenient! Just make sure to dilute it properly.

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