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How to Treat Cold Sores with Vinegar

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Vinegar has been used as a remedy for cold sores since ages. Let us see how it can be used in the treatment of cold sores.
Cold sores, or fever blisters, are a common symptom of herpes infection. Cold sores that appear on lips, mouth, face, cheeks, are a work of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Cold sores often occur in a bout, and then vanish for a long time. This is because the virus is active only for a short period of time, and then lays dormant until triggered.
Usually, a weakened immune system, stress are some factors which trigger this viral infection. Cold sores that erupt during an active period of virus can be particularly annoying and painful.
However, the outbreak can be controlled with the help of certain home remedies. The link between vinegar and cold sores dates back to several centuries. It was first used in Europe to effectively clear the cold sore outbreak. Let us find out if vinegar is good for cold sores.

Treating Cold Sores

Incidentally, there is no cure for herpes infection. Herpes virus is mostly contracted in childhood, when the immune system is not fully developed. This virus stays dormant without exhibiting any symptoms for a long time. It is only transmitted from one person to the other, when it is active.
Illnesses, infections that weaken immune system, may cause this virus to become active again. As this virus is located deep inside the nervous system, and lies inconspicuous, no medication can ever reach it. However, there are several ways in which you can reduce the active period of the virus and increase its dormant period.
Curbing cold sore outbreak before erupting is one way of reducing the active period of this virus. Vinegar can be used effectively to prevent cold sores from manifesting into a nasty outbreak.

Remedies for Cold Sores with Vinegar

Vinegar is an acidic substance formed by fermenting apple, grape juice. The process of making vinegar is similar to that of making wine, however, fermentation of vinegar occurs at two levels. At first, alcohol is produced from the bacterial fermentation of fruit juices, while in next stage alcohol itself is fermented to produce a very sour tasting vinegar.
In short, vinegar can be described as an over aged wine. This acidic property of vinegar can be best used for treating cold sores. Vinegar used for curing cold sore is mostly white vinegar variety. Here are a few ways of using white vinegar for treating cold sores.

Topical Application

White vinegar can be applied topically on the cold sore to relieve itching. However, it is not recommended to pour it directly on an open cold sore. You can put a few drops of apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and then place it on the sore.
Direct application on an open sore may sting a lot. Ideally, one should apply vinegar before a sore erupts. Usually, itching and pain precedes a sore, hence, when you feel like a sore is about to erupt, you can start applying vinegar on that area.


Regular intake of apple cider vinegar is believed to prevent cold sores. Start by taking two teaspoons of organic, unfiltered vinegar in a glass of water, with meal. You may gradually increase the intake to 3 - 5 teaspoons, but never more than that. Vinegar limits the rise in sugar after meals, thereby preventing possibility of cold sore eruption as well as other infections.
Vinegar also prevents the infection to other healthy areas, due to its sanitizing properties. In addition, it can strengthen your immune system, so that future occurrences of cold sores are reduced.