Essential Oils for the Treatment of Herpes

Herpes otherwise referred to as cold sores is a virus that brings about sores on the mouth or genitals. It a common infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The virus stays dormant for life in the body of an infected person but occasionally due to stress, fever, or other factors, it can be activated. When it is activated, the skin breaks out with sores and blisters which can be quite painful and annoying.

The HSV comes in two variants. These are:

  • HSV-1 causes oral herpes and typically affects the mouth as well as the lips and the skin surrounding the area. Occasionally, it can break out around other parts of the face.
  • HSV-2 affects the genitals and is usually sexually transmitted.

There is no known cure for HSV but its symptoms can be managed while it runs its course and also to reduce the chance of its reoccurrence. One of the ways to manage its symptoms is by treating it with some antiviral medications which help to relieve any associated pain and avoid further sores. Another way to reduce pain from the sores and blisters is to apply essential oils. You can read further on the virus from this article.

Essential oils are highly volatile and concentrated extracts from plants that are distilled into oils. They are used in alternative medicine such as aromatherapy. They are usually gotten from the roots, flowers, leaves and stalk of plants. There are hundreds of essential oils and they come with a host of benefits. One of these benefits is for managing herpes.

Best Essential Oils for Managing Herpes

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree is one of the most common essential oils around. It is known to have the ability to stop HSV that causes cold sores. It is a strong oil so it is always recommended to dilute it with a carrier oil and use with caution to avoid irritation. It is also known to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help to take care of herpes. To use it for its treatment, put on clean cotton wool and apply to the affected skin area. Avoid using it more than two times a day to prevent irritation.


Oregano is a common home remedy for herpes. Studies have found that it has a substantial effect on combatting the HSV virus. This may be attributed to the high levels of carvacrol that it contains. Carvacrol is a substance that is found in several aromatic plants. You can learn more about it here

Rubbing diluted oregano on the herpes blisters using a clean cotton swab will shrink the size and inflammation of the sore and you can get quick relief.


Peppermint has antiviral properties. It has shown the ability to hinder the activities of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 viruses making it useful for its treatment. From lab studies, it is effective even for strains that are resistant to some prescription drugs. You simply need to apply diluted peppermint oil on the affected area and you should get relief with continual usage.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm can also be referred to as Melissa extract. It contains rosmarinic acid which has antiviral effects making it an effective form of treating HSV. This also makes it quite effective against strains that have shown resistance to drugs.

A study showed that lemon balm prevents the virus from getting into the cells. You should apply diluted lemon balm directly to the sores up to three to four times daily.


Studies have found that chamomile is a potential antiviral agent. It inhibits the absorption of the herpes simplex virus into the cells. As with peppermint and lemon balm, it is also effective against highly resistant strains of the virus. Asides from this, it helps to soothe the skin. You can apply diluted chamomile directly on the herpes blisters as soon as you feel them forming. It is most effective this way.


Thyme has been studied for its ability to treat HSV and it has shown to have antiviral action to combat the virus. It is also known to be potent. You should ensure to dilute it before applying directly on the skin.

Other useful essential oils for the treatment of herpes include:

  • Ginger
  • Sandalwood
  • Anise
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clove
  • Lavender
  • Chrysanthemum

You can read more here about treating herpes.


Although the herpes virus does not have a permanent cure, you can get relief from pain caused by the sores by applying essential oils that are effective against it. This will also help to speed up its disappearance. Always remember to dilute whatever essential oil you are using before applying directly to the skin.

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