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canker sores

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


From Columbia University’s Health Center - There is often confusion between canker sores and cold sores. In a nutshell, canker sores are painful ulcers, or open sores, on the inner membranes of the mouth and cheek, or can resemble pimples on the tongue. Canker sores are not considered to be contagious and are of uncertain origin.

Cold sores, on the other hand, are small red blisters that generally affect the mouth and facial areas, but usually appear on the lip and outer edge of the mouth. In contrast to canker sores, cold sores are extremely contagious and are most often caused by the Herpes Simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). More importantly, when oral herpes lesions and/or its contents come into direct contact with the genital area through oral-genital sex, genital herpes most likely will develop.

Although it is more likely that the sores that develop in your mouth are canker sores, you may not be able to tell the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore by sight. If you're unsure it's wise to treat your sore as though it were a cold sore — that it is caused by herpes and contagious.

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Frankincense, Lemon, Lemongrass, Melaleuca, Myrrh, Protective Blend

Essential oils based products:

Also consider: Clove (careful, a hot oil), Oregano (also hot), Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood

Suggested protocols:

Most oils can be applied one or two drops topically for one or two application and the cold sore will disappear.

"Hot" oils like Clove, Oregano, and Protective Blend somewhat need to be administered very carefully or diluted with a carrier.  They are not advised for children.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Holly - Does anyone know the best oil to use on canker sores?

Ashlie - I have used Lemon on cankers and it has worked very well.  My son gets them often, I don't know why, but he grabs the Lemon every time and it works in a days time.

April - I have used Clove on my cankers and that works too! The bad thing about Clove is that it BURNS. So I put a drop of olive oil on my finger and then on the canker, I then follow with a drop of Clove and that reduces the sting. Be careful not to let the Clove touch your lips!

Pat - I had an angry canker and rubbed it with Frankincense and it was gone by morning.

Joni – I have used Melaleuca with great success.  It takes away some of the pain, and dries it out.  Just dab the Melaleuca oil on the canker sore with your finger.  I usually do it right before I go to bed, but you can apply oil throughout the day as needed.

Rob - I have also heard that Melaleuca is good.  Others have found a blend of Frankincense and Sandalwood applied directly several times daily is effective.

I have also heard reports that another canker killer is Oregano.  Oregano will kill it in matter of hours (very quickly) however it will scab over and take a week or more for the scab to heal.  Frankincense or Helichrysum will help with the scab. I would dilute the Oregano 50% with carrier before applying.

jcm - Protective Blend is also good. It stings a little, but heals in a matter of hours. Amazing!

Protocols folks recommend for children



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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.