Essential Oils for Herpes Treatment

(Last Updated On: November 22, 2019)

Essential Oils for Herpes Treatment banner

It is reported that at least one in every 6 people of ages between 14 and 49 years is infected with the herpes virus. The simplex virus of type 1 and 2, abbreviated as HSV 1 and HSV 2 is known to be the cause of herpes.  Oral herpes caused by type 1, occurs around the mouth area where fever blisters are visible. Genital herpes most commonly caused by type 2 occurs on the genitals. 

When it comes to infection with genital herpes men and women may not always show symptoms immediately. If symptoms do occur, it’s advisable to get an accurate diagnosis and also for women not to confuse this STI with a yeast infection. In some cases, the virus can be dormant in the body and no outbreaks are seen. Though there may be no outbreaks, the virus can remain dormant for many years, and unfortunately, the infected person can still spread the virus.  Though we may not be able to eradicate the virus from our bodies, we can adapt ways of living with it.

The outbreaks are in the form of red bumps like blisters on the skin which are mainly itchy and painful.  Other signs are swelling of the lymph nodes, headaches, and flu. All the symptoms might not be experienced in every outbreak, but common ones are cold sores or mouth blisters.  Once the virus has entered the body it cannot be cured. Therefore, an individual carries it throughout life but the symptoms can be managed with natural products such as essential oils.

Many side effects attributed to drugs prescribed by doctors have made individuals choose natural treatment instead of them.  Natural remedies, which can be used in the diluted form are considered safe, effective and affordable.

Traditionally and religiously over many centuries, essential oils have been used for various diseases.  However, treatment of herpes using essential oils is a pretty new concept to many.

Essential oils have become ingredients of many cosmetic products due to their effectiveness in fighting the ever-increasing skin ailments. The antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of essential oils have made it easy and affordable to combat the recurring herpes virus.

Major Causes of Herpes

Herpes disease is spread through direct contact.  The virus does not survive outside the body. Sharing utensils, kissing and sexual contact are common activities that could transmit the virus.  The virus does cause immediate symptoms unless the body immunity is compromised.

There are many cases reported of recurrence of outbreaks though the causes are not yet determined.  However, triggers have been identified such as processed foods, alcohol, coffee and other drugs. When the virus is active, patients are advised to avoid citrus and other juices.

For centuries, essential oils have been used as remedies of herpes virus due to their antiviral capabilities.  Despite the herpes virus being stubborn, there is hope for treating its symptoms at comfortable levels.

Below we have a list of essential oils available for treatment of HSV type 1 and type 2.

These essential oils are Melissa, lavender, peppermint, geranium, tea tree, coconut, eucalyptus, sandalwood, myrrh, oregano, St John’s wort and chamomile.  Experts in this field recommend the use of these essential oils for the treatment of herpes outbreaks.


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It was reported that peppermint has a virucidal effect on the treatment of herpes.  Viral suspension tests confirmed that peppermint oil has high levels of virucidal actions against herpes (HSV-1 and 2).  It also reduces the concentration of viral particles by 82 to 92 % at a noncytotoxic concentration of peppermint oil. The results were even better at higher levels of the oil in reducing the viruses of HSV 1 and 2.

Peppermint oil has a lipophilic nature allowing penetration into the skin thus making it ideal for therapeutic use in the tropics.

Incubation of both HSV with peppermint oil given a specific time period of 3 hours, showed an antiviral activity of approximately 99%.  During this study, the researcher kept adding peppermint oil randomly

To determine the mode of antiviral action of the essential oil, peppermint oil was added at different times to the cells or viruses during infection. Thus, this essential oil is capable of exerting a direct virucidal effect on HSV

Peppermint Has Virucidal Effect on Herpes Treatment

Sandalwood Oil

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The oils are extracted from a Santalum album L tree and have proven antiviral capabilities against HSV 1 and 2. According to the research, the viruses are inhibited by the oil.

The application of this oil will help reduce the period of any herpes outbreak and prevent any future recurring outbreaks.  It is recorded that treatment using this oil shortens the outbreaks effectively up to 80 percent.

Chamomile Oil

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The oil is extracted from plants belonging to family type Asteraceae.  Chamomile is an effective virucidal agent in topical application for genital herpes. Azulene is a nitrogenous a compound found in chamomile that increases the effectiveness and power as an anti-inflammatory agent. Chamomile works as antibiotic, disinfectant and antiseptic preventing biotic infections both bacterial and fungal from developing. The oil works well in the treatment of herpes, especially for cold sore infections.

Tea Tree Oil

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The oil is extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia.  Compared to chamomile and peppermint oils, it is more effective with a higher selectivity index and is less toxic for external use. Its antimicrobial activity has a wide spectrum thus making it familiar to many for its ability to treat many medical conditions especially bacterial and fungal infections. The oil has antiherpetic, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. To reduce cold sores at the first stage, immediately apply tea tree oil, and the positive effect will be observed within 24 hours. The oil is known to be among the most effective for the first stage treatment of the cold sores.  Other than killing the virus in the lesion, it is also known to reduce itching. Tests done using tea tree oil indicated that the oil decreased the growth rate of the fever blisters.

It is easy to make home treatment product in the form of a lip balm.  Use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and mix well with 5 drops of tea tree oil.  You can apply using a clean finger onto the affected area, and to the rest of the lips.

Apply a few drops of the oil on a cotton swab and dab it onto the affected area.

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Melissa Essential Oil (Lemon Balm)

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Melissa is known for its potent antiviral properties with the ability to inactivate the virus before it penetrates through the cell walls. Viruses need to be hosted by a cell in the body for them to multiply. Therefore, Melissa essential oil comes in handy by preventing the virus from getting the cells.  It is effective for both oral and genital herpes treatment when applied 4 times daily.

The oil is proven to reduce anxiety and influencing the mood of an individual. Stress caused by anxiety is well known to suppress the immunity of the body system and a big enemy in fighting herpes virus.  Managing stress helps in suppressing the HSV 1 and 2 types that are dormant in the body. When under pressure, it is advisable to use Melissa (lemon balm oil) since it calms you down.

Melissa is expensive therefore diluting the content is advised to almost 10:1 ratio without compromising its function and effectiveness. In pharmacy shops, there are ointments and creams sold that have Melissa properties.  The idea of treating the cold sores is to keep the skin around there hydrated to prevent further sores. The healing process in many cases has been reported to take 2 to 3 days.

An easy way to make the treatment oil at home is by mixing 20 drops of Melissa essential oil with one half ounce of olive oil). Once well blended, apply to the affected area.

The oil is an effective solution with the ability to be a holistic cure of herpes by treating not only cold sores but the patient’s mind too.

For a combination of oils (though expensive), Mix 5 drops Melissa oil with 5 drops of myrrh oil, 10 drops of coconut oil and decant them using glass eye droppers. Apply on affected area

Myrrh Essential Oil

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The oil is extracted from the Commiphora tree which is golden yellow in color with a balsamic aroma. These properties are helpful in treating herpes.  The antiviral and antimicrobial properties help kill bacteria and microbes that are harmful by making the body resistant to infections. Myrrh is commonly known for treating halitosis (bad breath)

Myrrh Essential Oil Known for Treating Halitosis

Lavender Essential Oil

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Extraction of lavender oil from the lavender plant is done through a process of steam distillation. It is a commonly known element in most perfumes and aromatherapy.  Other people apply it for use as a mosquito repellant.

Lavender, as an essential oil is applicable to many health issues since it is known to have properties that help the body’s immunity.  When the immunity of a person is high, the body can fight most of the diseases that come its way. Lavender gives substantial protection to the body by creating a barrier that disallows any disease to prevail. Herpes outbreak is, therefore, a disease that lavender helps fight. Lavender is known for being an effective disinfectant, with the ability to kill viruses especially those with fever blisters brought by herpes infection.  Fluids in the blisters when not treated can cause secondary infection, but the use of lavender prohibits further bacterial growth. It has a soothing and calming effect on the skin.

The oil can be used alone or in combination with other natural oils.  After cleaning the cold sore, apply using a cotton swab twice or thrice daily.

You are advised to mix two drops of the essential oil by mixing it with any other carrier oil.  Apply a good amount on the affected and or two times a week before the breakout.

Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is available due to its production, especially in the coastal regions. Coconut oil is known to have a variety of uses and treatments for food and diseases respectively. It is, therefore, a quick treatment for herpes.  It takes 24 hours for the oil to prohibit virus’ activation. Regular use moisturizes the skin and prevents outbreaks on genitals. Other than the application on skin, you can eat the coconut oil to help fight the herpes virus.

The oil is available in many forms such as capsules found in drug stores. The cost of this may be high, yet one can consume the natural content at a lower price.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

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Eucalyptus essential oil has a natural pain-relieving qualities in addition to antibacterial and antiviral properties.  In herpes simplex type 1 strain tests, the results revealed that eucalyptus essential oil is very efficient in lowering the herpes virus activity.

Homemade combination of this treatment has 4 drops of eucalyptus oil mixed with olive oil.  Olive oil is useful in moisturizing the skin and makes it a gentler carrier.

Oregano Oil

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Though oregano is not as famous as other essential oils, it is equally effective in the treatment of herpes.  With records of treating both Salmonella and E. coli, oregano has capabilities of treating herpes as well. The oil works by dissolving the cell membrane making the virus or bacteria vulnerable.  It gives strong and natural antibiotics suitable for fighting the herpes virus.

The use of the oil can be oral or applied to the affected area.  Both ways are effective, and an individual can choose to either use one or both.  Put a few drops under the tongue and allow them to be absorbed.

Geranium Essential Oil

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This oil is known for having anti-inflammatory properties.  Geranium is a perennial shrub whose oil is used in aromatherapy and also used to treat sore throats, depression, and acne among others.  As an antiseptic containing linalool, isomenthone, nerol, and citronellyl; geranium can be used to treat wounds and other skin illnesses.

Geranium Essential oil

St John’s Wort Oil

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The oil has hypericin as an antivirus which fights herpes.  In addition to that, the oil is restorative to the nervous system.

Lemon Essential Oil

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Several studies have shown the effectiveness of lemon essential oil on the treatment of herpes disease. It has strong antimicrobial properties and other benefits to the body. Investigations on the antiviral effects in the treatment of both herpes type 1 and type 2 showed that the oil is reliable.  It takes 10 minutes during the incubation process to notice a 90% reduction in the formation of the herpes plaque. During the blister stage, the oil helps in accelerating the healing process.

Camphor Essential Oil

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Camphor is commonly known to be used in the soothing of an inflamed skin surface.  Other properties are pain relieving, cooling sensation and anti-inflammatory agent.  The oil was tested and shown to possess antiviral capabilities to help in preventing the growth of the virus (HSV-1).

Application of the oils

The application prescription varies from one oil to another, experts advise to use either a single or a combination of the oils.

Patients are advised to apply the essential oils in diluted form on the affected area, 3 to 4 times every day.  For effective treatment, patients need to dab the solution on the affected area as soon as possible to avoid blister formation.

Prevent the further spread of the virus by sanitizing your hands after application of any essential oil.

Application of the Oils

Homemade Recipe (A Combination of Essential Oils)

The recipe below contains a combination of essential oils suitable for not only treating cold sores but other diseases.

In a clean soap bottle, mix 4×2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, 4×2 drops of lemon essential oil, a quarter cup of water and Castile liquid soap each, half tablespoon of jojoba oil and at least 4 drops of vitamin E oil.  You are at liberty to use a combination of eucalyptus and lavender or lemon and peppermint alternately for an effective and efficient aromatic cleansing and ultimately a powerful cold sore fighting experience.


Antivirus drugs in pharmacies have a lot of side effects compared to natural essential oils treatment.

Natural oils do not have similar medicinal properties and dosage, the reason why it is essential to consult an expert for advice.  Some individuals may experience allergies to some oils, and testing before use is advisable by doing a patch test before application of any oil.

Essential oils can be used as a natural alternative to current drug-based remedies. Their role in prevention of outbreaks is uncertain. During outbreaks, it is advisable to avoid intimate contact until the sores crust over or are gone completely.

For lists of foods that help alleviate symptoms or help prevent outbreaks, and a list of essential oils that may help, see Healthline’s site.

Updated References:

“Current Medical Uses for the Creosote Bush (Larrea tridendata)” Annual conference, Arizona Naturopathic Association- Dr. Dennis Clark.

Updated: September 8, 2018 by Dr. Kimberly Langdon M.D. All medical facts and points stated on this page are correct as of this date. Please be aware that new content and additional references were added in this last update. All the content and media has been uploaded by Lily Greene our webmaster, who is also in charge of page design. 

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.