Cold sores, sometimes referred to as fever blisters, are small and painful lesions that form on the lips or around the mouth. They are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus and can be present in either an active or dormant state.

Lemon balm oil is a natural remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. But is it good to use lemon balm oil for cold sores? Let’s take a look. 

Benefits of Using Lemon Balm Oil for Cold Sores

Antiviral Actions

Lemon balm oil helps fight viruses that cause cold sores, including Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1). Research suggests that lemon balm oil has antiviral properties because it contains two compounds—rosmarinic acid and luteolin—that act against HSV-1.

In one study, researchers applied lemon balm cream to HSV-1 infected cells and found that it reduced the amount of virus in the cells by up to 94%. 

You can also check our article on Is It True that Ketchup Kills Cold Sores?

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The active compounds in lemon balm oil also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation caused by cold sores. Studies suggest that these compounds may inhibit certain inflammatory molecules called cytokines.

By reducing inflammation, lemon balm oil could help relieve pain and other symptoms associated with cold sores.

Moisturizing Effects

Lemon balm oil can also help moisturize skin affected by cold sores. It contains fatty acids like linoleic acid that are known to help keep skin hydrated and nourished. This can aid in the healing process and reduce irritation caused by dryness or cracking around the sore area.

Additionally, research suggests that the antioxidant content of lemon balm oil helps protect skin from free radical damage due to environmental factors like sun exposure or pollution. 

Potential to Reduce Pain

Lemon balm oil may also be able to reduce pain associated with cold sores due to its natural analgesic properties. A recent study found that applying a topical solution containing 10% lemon balm extract reduced pain associated with HSV infection significantly more than a placebo did.

These findings suggest that using a topical solution containing lemon balm extract could be an effective way of reducing pain associated with cold sores without having to use medications or other treatments with potentially harmful side effects. 

Possible Disadvantages of Using Lemon Balm Oil for Cold Sores

While lemon balm oil is generally considered safe and effective, there are some potential drawbacks that you should be aware of before using it.

Risk of Allergic Reactions

Lemon balm oil can cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is important to do a patch test before using it on cold sores. To do this, apply a small amount of the oil onto your inner forearm and wait 24 hours to see if any reactions occur. If there is no reaction within this time frame, then you should be safe to use it on your cold sores.

May not be suitable for everyone with cold sores

Lemon balm oil may not be suitable for everyone with cold sores. While some people may find relief from using this natural remedy, others may need to try other treatments or medications in order to get the best results. It is always important to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before trying any new treatment for cold sores. 

Availability and Cost

Lemon balm oil is widely available at health stores and online retailers. Depending on the brand, it can range in price from $5 to over $25 for a bottle of pure lemon balm oil. However, many brands also offer other products containing lemon balm extract, such as creams or ointments, which may be more affordable. 

Precautions When Using Lemon Balm Oil

As with any natural remedy, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating lemon balm oil into your treatment plan for cold sores. This is especially true if you are pregnant or have sensitive skin or allergies. 

Application Method and Frequency of Use

Lemon balm oil should be applied directly onto affected areas several times a day until symptoms subside. It can also be mixed into lotions and creams to make application easier.

Do not combine lemon balm oil with other treatments without consulting your healthcare provider first, as there could be potential interactions between the two.

If desired, you can also add a few drops of lemon balm essential oil into a diffuser to help reduce stress levels and provide additional relief from cold sore symptoms.  

Avoid Applying Lemon Balm Oil to Broken or Irritated Skin

When applying lemon balm oil topically, be sure not to apply much pressure or scrubbing as this can further irritate the skin and cause more irritation than relief.

Additionally, avoid applying lemon balm oil directly on broken or irritated skin, as this could lead to further damage if left untreated.

Instead, use lukewarm water and mild soap on affected areas prior to the application of lemon balm oil in order to ensure that all dirt and debris are removed from the area prior to use.  

Potential for Overdose and Drug Interactions H3

It is important to note that taking too much of this supplement can result in overdose symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness.

Additionally, those who are already taking medications should consult their doctor before taking any type of supplement, including lemon balm oil, due to potential interactions between medications and supplements that could cause serious side effects or complications in some cases.  

Discontinue Use if Unpleasant Side Effects Occur

In rare cases, some people may experience an adverse reaction when using lemon balm, such as an allergic reaction or rash from contact dermatitis (skin inflammation caused by coming into contact with an allergen).

If any unpleasant side effects occur after using lemon balm oil, discontinue use immediately and contact your healthcare provider for further advice on how best to manage these uncomfortable symptoms if necessary.   


Lemon balm oil may be beneficial in treating cold sores. However, it is important to consult your healthcare provider prior to use as this natural remedy may not be suitable for everyone and could interact with other medications you are taking.

Additionally, always apply the oil gently and avoid contact with broken or irritated skin. If any negative side effects occur, discontinue use and contact your healthcare provider. With the right advice, you can use lemon balm oil to potentially help reduce cold sore symptoms.    ​ ​

We hope this article has helped answer the question, “Is it good to use lemon balm oil for cold sores?”. We encourage you to consult your healthcare provider if you have any further questions or concerns about using lemon balm oil as a treatment for cold sores. All the best in finding relief from your symptoms!​ ​​