Last Updated: January 8, 2019 | First Published: June 18, 2018
Reviewed by: Dr. Rosmy Barrios, M.D.
Cold sores or fever blisters are typically caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and are both common and contagious. However, other triggers include stress, fatigue, hormonal changes, weakened immunity among others.
What Are Cold Sores?
Technically, cold sores or fever blisters are small sores that can cause a burning-like sensation or itching before progressing and finally bursting.
Cold sores or fever blisters can appear on any part of your body, but they are most commonly found in and around the mouth and lips, nose, cheeks or even the fingers. An uncomfortable stage of blisters is when they burst and begin to scab. This exposes new and delicate skin underneath the blisters. In general, these symptoms can last from 7-10 days [Ref #1].
Causes of Cold Sores
Cold sores are most commonly caused by herpes simplex virus type-1, or HSV-1, however, at times, they can also be caused by herpes simplex virus type-2 or HSV-2 [Ref #2]. In the US alone, 50-80% of people have oral herpes which makes them prone to cold sores [Ref #3].
The prevalence of cold sores and associated discomfort is why a reliable cure for cold sores is needed and sought after. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections and are therefore unsuitable for cold sores, and antivirals medications are expensive and unproven.
Some chose to use a natural antiviral – Monolaurin – to help with viral infections, including cold sores. In this article, we will have a closer look at how Monolaurin can help you in getting rid of cold sores and fever blisters.
Monolaurin to the Rescue
While most anti-viral creams and over-the-counter analgesics can help with the discomfort, Monolaurin helps by treating the virus from the inside, potentially allowing you to heal quickly.
Monolaurin is a medium-chain fatty acid naturally occurring in coconut in the form of lauric acid.
Monolaurin has been studied for its potential in treating diseases and health disorders that cannot be treated with commercial antivirals. Monolaurin can be taken individually as a dietary supplement or in combination with traditional medical therapies to combat a range of infections.
How Does Monolaurin Work?
Essentially, Monolaurin’s primary mode of action lies in liquefying the fats and phospholipids found in the cell walls of the viral protein. In other words, monolaurin acts by disintegrating the protective lipid layers or cell walls of the viral envelope, in turn destroying the virus.
If Monolaurin is administered on time, it can break down the walls of the viral protein before it replicates itself and leads to an outbreak. In fact, Monolaurin is known to be a booster for the human immune system that has the potential to kill different kinds of virus and bacteria.
According to one study, Monolaurin is highly effective in inactivating Herpes simplex-1 virus [Ref #4]. Further, a similar study revealed that unsaturated monoglycerides and alcohols of chain lengths of 16 and 18 carbons are highly effective in getting rid of herpes simplex virus type 2 [Ref #5].
This is because the Monolaurin can solubilize the lipids and phospholipids in the envelope of pathogenic organisms which disintegrates the outer membranes, thus helping you in healing the cold sores quickly [Ref #6].
How to Use Monolaurin to Treat Cold Sores
Generally, Monolaurin is taken daily as a dietary supplement but can be increased during times of viral load. To reap the therapeutic benefits of this supplement, the amount of monolaurin should be adjusted to reflect the type, intensity, and duration of infection.
Dr. Weil’s integrated medicine article recommends taking 1,000mg of Monolaurin supplement three times a day to heal cold sores [Ref #7]. This equates to approximately 5 capsules of 600mg monolaurin per day, so you may choose to take two with breakfast, one with lunch, and two with dinner, for example.
As with all supplements, Monolaurin should be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
What are cold sores. (n.d.). Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-cold-sores-basics#1
Nordqvist, C. (2019, May 19). Everything you need to know about cold sores. Retrieved from Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172389.php
Oral Herpes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/infectious_diseases/Oral_Herpes_22,OralHerpes
Hilmarsson, H., Kristmundsdóttir, T., Thormar, H. Virucidal activities of medium‐ and long‐chain fatty alcohols, fatty acids and monoglycerides against herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2: comparison at different pH levels . Journal of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology Volume113, Issue1. January 2005. Pages 58-65 . https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0463.2005.apm1130109.x
J, S., Auperin, D., & Snipes, W. (1979, January 15). Extreme sensitivity of enveloped viruses, including herpes simplex, to long-chain unsaturated monoglycerides and alcohols. Retrieved from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/218499
Arora, R., Chawla, R., & Arora, P. (2010, October 13). Potential of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Preventive Management of Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) Pandemic: Thwarting Potential Disasters in the Bud. Retrieved from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957173/
Weil. (n.d.). What are cold sores? Retrieved from Weil: https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/hair-skin-nails/cold-sores/