Mouth cold sores are usually caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), but could have other causes. Some studies have demonstrated lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) contains compounds to help fight the virus. Aloe may also help. See the research listed below.
Lemon Balm / Aloe Cold Sore Lip Balm Recipe
- 3 Tbsp bees wax
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp aloe vera gel (store bought gel contains a preservative that will help the recipe last much longer)
- 12 drops of Melissa (lemon balm) essential oil
- 3 drops of vitamin E
- Tins or containers with sealable lids
Lemon Balm / Aloe Cold Sore Lip Balm Recipe Instructions
In a small pot or double boiler, melt beeswax, coconut oil, and vitamin E together on low heat. Remove from heat and add the aloe gel and Melissa essential oil, stir well.
Immediately pour into storage tins or sealable jars. Let cool on counter till hard, then cover. Apply a very small amount on lips as needed.
Avoid during pregnancy, lactation, and with very small children. Avoid with hypersensitive skin. Discontinue use if condition worsens or there is added irritation.
The recipe should last about two weeks or much longer if store bought aloe gel is used. Avoid sharing lip balm with others, which could spread the virus.
Lemon Balm / Aloe Research
- The use of plants to treat skin conditions was reviewed. Plants identified included Calendula officinalis, Chamomilla recutita, Glycyrrhiza, Hamamelis virginiana, Melissa officinalis, and Plantago major. Conditions included acne, dermatitis, herpes simplex, and psoriasis. From: Brown, D. J., & Dattner, A. M. (1998). Phytotherapeutic approaches to common dermatologic conditions. Archives of dermatology, 134(11), 1401-1404.
- Melissa officinalis was effective in a double blind controlled study of 66 patients against recurrent herpes simplex labialis symptoms and healing. From: Koytchev, R., Alken, R. G., & Dundarov, S. (1999). Balm mint extract (Lo-701) for topical treatment of recurring herpes labialis. Phytomedicine, 6(4), 225-230.
- This mega review discussed herbs for treating herpes infection including mints and other plants from the Lamiaceae family, tannins as found in geranium species, Chinese rhubarb and chinaberry, and other herbs like tea tree, St. John’s wort, algae, echinacea, and astragalus. From: Abascal, K. (2005). Herbs for Treating Herpes Simplex Infections. ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES.
- Extracts from lemon balm, peppermint, prunella, rosemary, sage, and thyme showed action against Herpes types 1 and 2. From: Nolkemper, S., Reichling, J., Stintzing, F. C., Carle, R., & Schnitzler, P. (2006). Antiviral effect of aqueous extracts from species of the Lamiaceae family against Herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in vitro. Planta medica, 72(15), 1378-1382.
- Aloe was effective in curing the first episodes of herpes in men. From: Syed, T. A., Afzal, M., Ahmad, S. A., Holt, A. H., Ahmad, S. A., & Ahmad, S. H. (1997). Management of genital herpes in men with 0.5% Aloe vera extract in a hydrophilic cream: a placebo-controlled double-blind study. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 8(2), 99-102.
- Melissa, grapefruit mint, peppermint, basil, perilla, prunella, and winter savory showed potent anti-HIV-1 activity. From: Yamasaki, K., Nakano, M., Kawahata, T., MORI, H., OTAKE, T., UEDA, N., … & MURATA, H. (1998). Anti-HIV-1 activity of herbs in Labiatae. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 21(8), 829-833.
- Anthraquinones from the following plants inactivated the Herpes I virus: Rheum officinale (rhubarb), Aloe barbadensis (aloe), Rhamnus frangula (alder buckthorn), Rhamnus purshianus (cascara buckthorn), and Cassia angustifolia (senna). Other virus species were also affected by these plants in varying amounts. From: Sydiskis, R. J., Owen, D. G., Lohr, J. L., Rosler, K. H., & Blomster, R. N. (1991). Inactivation of enveloped viruses by anthraquinones extracted from plants. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 35(12), 2463-2466.
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, Registered Aromatherapist (ARC), AIA and NAHA Member, LMT