Below is a list of tried and tested home remedies for herpes outbreaks. These are things that you can try at home to help relieve the pain and itching, as well as to help speed healing.

Please also browse our Herpes Treatment section and see your Doctor for guidance.

Topical Remedies

Black Tea Bags

This is one of the simplest and most effective cold sore home remedies there is. Black tea leaf (Camellia sinensis) contains a high concentration of tannins which have both anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects.[1]


Make a cup of black tea (using Earl Grey, English Breakfast or any other common black tea bag that you have in the cupboard) and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Apply the warm or cool tea bag to the affected area and hold it there for approximately 5 minutes. Repeat this 2 or 3 times per day. This process is best started as soon as any signs or symptoms are noticed.

Ice (or a packet of frozen peas)

An ice pack can be applied to the developing cold sore to both numb and soothe the area, as well as lower the temperature of the infection helping to inhibit the virus.


Ice is best applied to the affected area before any cold sore can be seen, but may also soothe the active sore. Wrap the ice in a towel or thin cloth rather and than place it directly on the area. Otherwise, a packet of frozen veges usually works well.

Manuka Honey

This is a medicinal honey native to New Zealand which can be applied to the affected area to help speed healing. Manuka honey is antibacterial and antiviral, so aside from the sticky feeling it is a good home remedy to try. Manuka honey is renowned for its wound healing properties and in clinical trials was found to accelerate the healing of HSV lesions.[2]


Apply topically to the affected area several times daily. Begin as soon as signs or symptoms begin.

Domeboro Powder

Domeboro powder mixed with water can help to stop itching, dry the sore and speed healing. You can purchase this powder from many pharmacies, often in a small flat box with 12 packets inside.


Pour one packet of Domeboro Powder into a 16 oz. bottle and shake well. This should give you enough mixture to apply to the sore, with some left over to apply later. To use the solution, soak a cloth or piece of gauze in the mixture and apply it like a compress to the affected area.

Baking Soda

An oldie but a goodie. Baking soda (also called Bi-Carbonate Soda) has innumerable benefits, it can be applied to a herpes infection to help dry out the sores and relieve itching.


Slightly dampen a cotton ball or tissue, coat it with the Baking Soda and apply it to the affected area. Do not to re-dip the tissue or cotton ball after you have applied it to the infection as this could contaminate the remaining soda in the box.


This can work in the same way as Baking Soda. Cornstarch may also help to prevent rubbing below the waist, as well as dry any excess moisture in the area.


Apply a coating of the cornstarch to the affected area. Leave to dry out the sores and relieve itching.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera can be helpful to soothe itching and heal the skin after an outbreak. It can be particularly helpful for the scab that sometimes forms and any tenderness or redness left after the sore has disappeared. Aloe vera is a common plant and could be growing in your garden. It looks like a type of cactus and is common in warm climates.

Try not to use creams or moisturizers that just “contain Aloe Vera” because to work properly you need to use the pure inner Aloe Vera gel. If you do need to settle for a commercial product make sure it is made for the actual inner gel and is as close to pure as possible. Many moisturizers and creams are a base of many other ingredients with only a very small amount of Aloe Vera added, this may not have the same result.


Aloe Vera can be applied to almost all areas of the body, including delicate skin and mucous membranes.

To prepare the fresh plant, trim the thorny edges on both sides and cut the Aloe stick into chunks (roughly 2.5 inches long or so works well). Chill the chunks that you have cut in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes (30 to 60 minutes is ideal) and then use them at your will. If you are using a cream or gel, place the tube or tub in the fridge before use. The coolness can be very soothing.

When dealing with the fresh plant, you may like to apply it after you have had a shower so that the Aloe vera can settle in without being washed off. The fresh plant can be a a little sticky and gooey, so an evening application usually works.