witch hazel for cold sores

How to Use Witch Hazel for Cold Sores

Cold sores or fever blisters are little blisters around your mouth on the border of your lips. They are caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1). That is why they are also called oral herpes.They can also appear though rarely on your nose, cheeks and fingers.

These cold sore pus filled blisters generally appear in patches. The dormant virus in your body can outbreak into cold sore any time particularly when your immunity is low. If your immunity is maintained strong then you may never get them even though the virus is inhibiting in your body.

Home remedies such as witch hazel for cold sores not only reduce pain but also prevent the infection to spread. That is why most people prefer to use hazel than the chemical based OTC creams.

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Does Witch Hazel Really Treats Cold Sores?

Yes it is. There are two main aspects of cold sores that bother those who get them.

One is severe pain and irritation of the skin and the other is spread of the blisters.

Witch hazel helps in both these aspects. It can't prevent cold sores but it certainly can deal with it very well.

The compounds proanthocyanidins in witch hazel have been found to exert significant antiviral activity against herpes simplex 1. More research is required to establish its formal usefulness.


Cold sores are herpes on lips. You will never know when you got infected with the herpes simplex virus as it doesn't show any symptoms at the time of infection.

The virus remains dormant inside your body. You may never get any outbreak if you maintain high immunity throughout your life. But in today's modern lifestyle where stresses are high and food habits are highly dependent on junk food, maintaining strong immunity is not possible for everyone.

So, occasional.outbreaks of cold sores are inevitable if you are already infected by HSV1. You can easily get infected by kissing someone who is infected.

A cold sore outbreak generally lasts 7-10 days. The first outbreak is more severe, but the subsequent outbreaks if any are much less painful.

Witch hazel dries the blisters out which prevents its spread.

How to Use Witch Hazel for Cold Sores?

Take alcohol free witch hazel for all the following applications. Alcohol stings the skin.

You can use witch hazel in the following manner.

1. Witch Hazel Dab

  • Do a patch test of witch hazel by applying on your elbow skin. If it doesn't irritate the skin then proceed, otherwise try one if the other home remedies.
  • Apply a few drops of witch hazel extract by qtip or cotton ball on the cold sore patch
  • Do it twice daily until they crest out

Witch Hazel reduces the time period of cold sores.


2. Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera

  • Dab a few drops of witch hazel extract with qtip on the cold sores
  • Apply a layer of aloe vera on top of it or
  • Mix a few drops of witch hazel in the same quantity of aloe vera and mix well before applying. Aloe Vera gel is not thin liquid so mixing ratio will be approximate and that is fine.

3. Witch Hazel and Tea Tree oil

Tea tree essential oil also dries out cold sores and is antiviral too.

  • Take a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  • Add 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • Pour ½ teaspoon of witch hazel extract
  • Mix all and fill them in a small brown bottle. This quantity is enough to apply on cold sores during the next 7- 10 days.
  • Apply the above mix oils with a cotton ball on cold sore patch twice daily

Non Witch Hazel Based Other Natural Remedies for Cold Sores

Following are other number of natural remedies that help you to reduce pain and heal fast

  • Apply sea salt and gargle with sea salt water
  • Rub vanilla extract on the sores
  • Use calamine lotion to dry out the blisters
  • Put petroleum jelly to reduce pain
  • Apply licorice paste on the cold sore patches

Other Tips and Precautions

Cold sores are highly contagious infections. Take following precautions:

  • Avoid kissing and other sexual advances with infected people
  • Do not share food, drinks, toothbrushes, towels and other items that touches the mouth of infected people.
  • Wear sunscreen and reduce sun exposure

If you get an outbreak of cold sore then make sure you don't spread it to others.