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
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
Oils, blends & products
Oils & Blends:
Lemongrass, Melaleuca, Myrrh, On Guard
Essential oils based
Clove (careful, a hot oil),
Oregano (also hot), Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood
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 On Guard 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
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
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
jcm - On Guard is also good. It stings a
little, but heals in a matter of hours. Amazing!