Super Healing Cold Sore Lip Balm

Lemon balm is a powerful antiviral, proven to banish cold sores. Use this DIY super healing cold sore lip balm recipe to help fight & prevent cold sores.

It also makes a great all-purpose lip balm for everyday use!

tin of lip balm surrounded by lemon balm leaves and yellow flower petals
Lemon balm is the star of this homemade cold sore remedy!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that a lot of my inspiration for learning to use herbs came from the health issues my son had when he was small.

In the middle of his healing journey, he suddenly developed the problem of breaking out in frequent cold sores, triggered by sunshine. This caused quite the dilemma since he also had low vitamin D levels and was supposed to be getting direct, midday exposure to the sun each day to help.

After a lot of searching and testing, we found a fantastic liquid cold sore product at the health store that sped up the healing and helped ease the pain. It’s been so long, that I can’t even remember the name to link to it – but I do remember reading the label and thinking: Hey, I bet I can make something like this!

So, I did.

It worked so great that I passed samples around to family members who also loved it. (It’s excellent for treating plain old chapped lips as well.)

His cold sores cleared up after a few months and I never needed to make it again. Recently though, several people have asked me for ideas on how they can use up the lemon balm taking over their gardens, so I dug the recipe back out.

basket of fresh lemon balm
basket of fresh lemon balm from the garden

The Star Ingredient: Lemon Balm

Cold sores are caused by a virus (Herpes Simplex Type I.)

Once you’ve been exposed to it (and estimates say that 60 to 85% of the population has been), you will never eliminate the virus or completely kill it off. You can however, improve your overall health so that your body is able to keep the virus in check. Taking antiviral herbs such as olive leaf, elderberry, lemon balm, oregano, forsythia & honeysuckle as teas or tinctures may help quite a bit as well.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a potent anti-viral.

Several studies have been carried out demonstrating that lemon balm can improve cold sore symptoms and shorten the duration of healing time. (My fellow science nerds can click HERE to browse through some of those on PubMed.)

If you don’t have the resources or time to make your own lemon balm lip balm, you can usually find some on Etsy. (Double check that it actually contains lemon balm in the ingredients list.)

*Some links on this site are affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission for sending customers their way. 

lemon balm infused oil
lemon balm infused oil

Step 1 – Make an Infused Oil

Before you can make your homemade cold sore remedy, you’ll need to gather some lemon balm and make an infused oil from it. If you’ve ever planted lemon balm, you probably have way more than you’ll ever need. (It spreads like crazy!)

If you don’t have any in your garden, you can buy dried lemon balm from Mountain Rose Herbs.

If you have fresh lemon balm leaves, let them air dry in a single layer on a paper towel for several days, or until dry, before infusing them in oil. Otherwise, the water content from the plant can make your oil spoil faster.

Ingredients for the Lemon Balm Oil:

Directions to Make:

To infuse the oil: Fill a heat proof half-pint jar about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way full with dried lemon balm leaves. Crumble them up a little, as you add them in. Slowly pour a carrier oil (olive or sunflower oil both work well) over the dried herb until the jar is almost full. Stir well and then cap and let sit in a dark place for around 4 to 6 weeks. Shake the jar every day or two, or as often as you remember to.

If you’re in a hurry, you can infuse the oil more quickly using the heat method: Set your jar of oil/herb down into a saucepan filled with a few inches of water, creating a makeshift double boiler. Heat over a burner turned to low or medium-low for 2 to 3 hours. Be sure to watch it carefully so you don’t overheat or scorch your herbs.

If you’d like, you can make a compound oil and add calendula flowers and/or plantain leaves to infuse along with the lemon balm. Both of these herbs are excellent at smoothing skin irritations and make nice additions to the formula.

Once your oil has infused, strain it and store in a labeled glass jar, preferably in a cool, dark place for around a year. (For longest storage, some keep their infused oils in the refrigerator. That is perfectly fine to do, just let them warm up to room temperature before using in a recipe.)

cold sore lip balm made with lemon balm melissa
cooling half-ounce tins of lemon balm lip balm for cold sores

Step 2 – Make the Lip Balm

When making lip balm recipes, I use a general formula of: 3 parts oil, 1 part beeswax, 1/2 to 1 part solid butter and roughly 1 to 2 drops of essential oil per tablespoon of ingredients (as a medicinal lip balm, this one has a somewhat higher amount of EOs.)

Related: See my article on “How to Create Custom Homemade Lip Balms” for more about making your own lip balm.

If you’d like a softer lip balm, use less beeswax. Conversely, if you’d like a firmer lip balm, use more beeswax. Keep in mind that we want our balm soft enough to apply with a clean finger or cotton swab, so we avoid contaminating our product.




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Video: Making Lemon Balm Lip Balm for Cold Sores

Here’s a video of me making a batch of our favorite lemon balm lip balm – to show how easy it is! (Sometimes an ad plays first, but the video will start right after. If you have an adblocker, you won’t see the video player.)

Super Healing Cold Sore Lip Balm Recipe

  • 4 tablespoons lemon balm infused oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of coconut oil (if allergic, just substitute more lemon balm oil)
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamanu oil (an amazing oil that heals a multitude of skin conditions)
  • 1/2 tablespoon castor oil (helps the lip balm go on smoothly, adds a bit of gloss)
  • 2 scant tablespoons beeswax (or half as much candelilla wax for vegans)
  • 1 tablespoon shea butter (or mango butter)
  • 5 drops tea tree oil (also effective against herpes simplex, see this study)
  • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil (cooling, analgesic, I put extra so the lip balm can smell great!)
  • 2 drops of clove bud oil (optional, for pain relief)

If there’s a vitamin E that you can tolerate, the liquid contents of a capsule or two added to the melted oils makes a wonderful addition.

My original recipe also included one to two drops of white camphor essential oil, but because it has the potential to be toxic if ingested, I now recommend leaving it out if younger children or chronic lip-lickers will use the product.

Combine all of the oils, shea butter and beeswax in a heat proof container. Set it down into a saucepan containing a few inches of water. Watch carefully and heat over medium-low to medium heat until everything is melted.

Remove from heat and stir in the essential oils and vitamin E, if using.

Pour into tiny half-ounce tins (I buy mine from Specialty Bottle), if you have them, or you can recycle glass jelly or mason jars. Once your lip balms have set up, cap and store away from direct heat or sunlight.

This sized batch will fill about 6 little half-ounce tins.

Be sure to apply with clean fingers or cotton swabs, avoiding ‘double dipping’ so you won’t contaminate your lip balm.

You can also use this balm as healing salve, suitable for minor scrapes and patches of dry skin.

I hope this recipe will help some cold sore sufferers out there, as much as it helped my son. Don’t forget that external treatments will only alleviate the symptoms; to decrease or prevent flare-ups: eat right, try to get more rest, and reduce overall stress.

If pregnant, nursing, on medication, or if you have any questions about your health, please contact your health care professional for guidance.

tin of lip balm surrounded by fresh lemon balm leaves and flower petals
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5 from 8 votes

Super Healing Cold Sore Lip Balm

Lemon balm is a powerful antiviral, proven to banish cold sores. Use this DIY super healing cold sore lip balm recipe to help fight & prevent cold sores.
Keyword chapped lips, cold sores, lemon balm


  • 2 half-pint jars, one for infusing and one for storing the infused oil
  • tin can, or a dedicated jar for melting beeswax items
  • small saucepan with several inches of water in it, for melting lip balm
  • 6 half-ounce tins


For the Lemon Balm Infused Oil

For the Cold Sore Lip Balm


To Make the Lemon Balm Infused Oil

  • Place the dried lemon balm in a half pint canning jar.
  • Pour in enough oil to cover the lemon balm completely, and fill the jar almost to the top. Leave a little room for expansion while infusing.
  • Option A: For a stronger oil, cover the jar with a lid and let infuse at room temperature for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake the jar every day or two, or as often as you remember to.
  • Option B: For a quicker infused oil, don't cover the jar, but instead place it in a small saucepan filled with several inches of water. Heat over a medium-low burner for 2 to 3 hours. Strain out the amount you'll need, then top with more oil.
  • Store infused oil in a cool dark place. Shelf life is around one year.

To Make the Cold Sore Lip Balm

  • Combine the oils, butter, and beeswax in a heat proof jar, or for easy cleanup – an empty tin can.
  • Place the container down into a small saucepan containing several inches of water.
  • Heat over medium-low to medium heat until melted. Don't leave melting wax and oil unattended during this time.
  • Once melted, remove from heat.
  • Stir in the essential oils, and vitamin E, if using.
  • Pour into small tins or jars.
  • Shelf life of lip balm is around 9 to 12 months, or as long as it smells fresh.
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  1. Can’t wait to try this lip balm. I have always been prone to out breaks of cold sores. The sun is also a big stimulant for an outbreak for me. Never knew lemon balm had anti viral properties. Thanks!

    1. Hi Maureen, I hope it works well for you! I have more lemon balm ideas ahead… including a soap recipe! :)

    1. Hi Jen! You could just put more lemon balm infused oil instead. (Or you could also try another infused oil like calendula, plantain, violet leaf, comfrey or other herbs known to soothe & heal.)

  2. My garden is almost where I want it, just in time to be moving in 2 weeks for the 7th time, .I am frantically trying to pot, root, dry, infuse, etc. whatever I can. Yesterday, it was parsley, sage, hyssop, meadowsweet and horseradish. Lemon balm was bookmarked, so your post could not have come at a better time. The boys in my family also suffer from cold sores, both external and internal. It’s awful, my son who is now 20, has gotten them since he was a little guy. His lips actually swell. Both our dentist and pediatrician have wanted to treat him with antiviral drugs, which we have not used. I will be outside tomorrow morning collecting my abundance of lemon balm to try your recipe. Thank you.

    1. Oh wow, that’s a shame to have to leave your garden – I’m glad you get to take a part of it with you though. I hope the lip balm helps with the sores – drinking a tea of the leaves (or making a tincture with vegetable glycerine or vodka) might also help. I put my son on a rotation of anti-viral herbs at the time and found that olive leaf seemed to have a huge impact as well. (He took capsules of it in order to get a good quantity in.) Good luck & safe travels with your move! :)

    2. I take L Lysine 500mg (essential amino acid) daily and increase to twice a day if I get stressed or run down. I haven’t had a major break out for years. hope this helps

      1. I agree 100%!!! My son started having outbreaks when he was 6 yrs old and they progressively got worse as he got older. By the time he reached his teens, the outbreaks were occurring more frequently, covered almost half of his lower lip, were unsightly and left a dark blemish afterwards. At thirteen, I was reluctant to put him on medication with damaging side affects. I give him 3 capsules daily while he was experiencing an outbreak or feel one coming on, otherwise one tablet daily, everyday 365 days a year. At the beginning, the outbreaks were shorter in duration and occurred less frequently as time when on. My son is 14 now, the blemish has faded and he hasn’t had an outbreak in over a year. L-lysine is inexpensive and easy to take with no side affects.

      2. It is important to balance lysine/Argentine in the diet. Self magazines Nutrition Data has content lists of most foods. Nuts, peanuts, and citrus contain high ants of lysine so be sure to include apples or dairy foods to balance meals. Lysine tablets can be powdered and applied directly to the lips mixed with the balm. If you feel that tingle you can head off the sore by just dipping your lip in a bit of milk or cream throughout the day.

    1. Hi Kristy, you can – and some people do – however, there will be water in the fresh leaves so you have to keep a close eye on it for spoilage. When it’s done infusing, you carefully decant most of it to a clean container and let the sludge on the bottom stay in the original jar. Then let that settle a few days and decant again. However, I’ve found that using completely fresh plants leads to a shorter shelf life for my oil, (and have heard many stories of them molding), so at least let them wilt overnight to let some of the water evaporate out. And one more thing – if you use fresh or barely dried leaves, it’s also helpful to cap with a few layers of cheesecloth fastened on top with a rubber band, instead of a regular tight fitting jar top. This will let the oil breathe and help water evaporate out without forming condensation under the lid (which will also lead to mold.) I hope that helped! :)

      1. Hi Jan,

        Your information was amazing! Thank you. I think to be safe I will pick the leaves and dry them first!

        1. Hi to all reading here! This is a great recipe but I would add just one ingredient, usnea, it is known to be very hard in the herpes simplex virus. It infuses beautifully and is a good mix with all the other ingredients.

  3. Hi Jan,
    Thank you, your website is an endless source of information and clever ideas. I have spent a number of hours covering many of your pages and intend to spend many more. I live in Australia and am studying Naturopathy and Herbal Botany and I could be lost in your website for days and enjoy every moment. Congratulations on all your hard work, keep up the great work.
    With thanks

  4. Hi ! Love this recipe , thanks so much !! Wanted to know can you substitute cocoa butter instead of the shea butter? Thanks again ♥

    1. Hi Betsy, No, the infused oil should stay fresh for up to a year. Try to use it up before then. If you use the slow method, it will be ready in 4 to 6 weeks and the quick method, in a matter of hours:

      Slow Method: “To infuse your oil: Fill a heat proof jar about 1/4 of the way full with dried lemon balm leaves. Crumble them up a little, as you add them in. Slowly pour a light oil (olive or sunflower oil both work well) over the dried herb until the jar is pretty full. Stir well and then cap and let sit in a dark place for around 4 to 6 weeks.” (Strain after the 4 to 6 weeks & then you can use.)

      Quick Method: “If you’re in a hurry, you can infuse the oil more quickly using the heat method: Set your jar of oil/herb down into a saucepan filled with a few inches of water, creating a makeshift double boiler. Heat over a burner turned to low or medium-low for a few hours. Be sure to watch it carefully so you don’t overheat or scorch your herbs.” (Strain after a few hours & then you can use.)

    1. Sorry I should have been more specific. Can you seal the infused oil in a jar like can it basically and keep it put up to increase the shelf life?

      1. Hi Angel! I’ve not tried it myself, but I recently talked to a lady that cans herbal water infusions for use later. I think that’s definitely an option to explore further, I just don’t have any personal experience with doing so.

  5. Can this be done with lemon balm extract? My mother bought the extract (she watches Dr. Oz) and I’d like to help make a balm, ointment, or salve.

    1. Hi Jennifer, My mother-in-law was just telling me the other day about Dr. Oz mentioning lemon balm! Is the extract a liquid? Alcohol/water based or oil based? (I’m not sure what kind he recommended.) For a balm, ointment or salve, you’d want an oil based additive or else it will separate out of your formula. Water/alcohol based can be used in lotions & creams though. If you link the brand/type you bought – I can answer better. :)

      1. Her extract is made with ionized water and vegetable glycerin. I’d like to make something she can put directly on her lips and carry in her purse. Thanks so much. I love your recipes!

        1. Hi Jennifer! Since it has water in it, you could try adding it to a cream recipe – those are made where the extract could emulsify with the other ingredients, instead of weeping out like it would in all oil based lip balm or salve. Though unless you add a chemical preservative, you should really keep creams refrigerated, so I’m not really sure that’s the best option. It might be easiest just to take the plain extract and dab it directly on the lips with a q-tip or cotton ball.

    2. Thanks for your recipe :) I’d love to make this salve for my family. Am I able to use a ready made lemon balm tincture? And if so how much? Hopefully not 4 tablespoons, as it’s quite expensive lol

      1. Hi Amy! If the ready made lemon balm tincture is oil based, then yes, you could blend some into this recipe with a plain oil like sunflower or olive. (I’m not sure exactly how much to use, but it shouldn’t take much at all.) If it’s water or alcohol based though, it will separate right out of this oil based recipe and make something of a mess. You could do a workaround and make a cream with it, but that would probably take a bit of tinkering and experimenting. (Adding that idea to my never ending want-to-try-to-make-soon list though!) You might have some success dabbing a bit of your lemon balm tincture directly on a cold sore, with a cotton swab several times a day. (Some internal use of the tincture might be helpful too!) :)

  6. Researching cold sores, I found that L-lysine amino acid keeps the herpes virus from reproducing. I have tried rubbing it into cord sores when they first start to show up. This really helps stop its emergence. I found that it also helps the immune system keep the virus under control if taking this amino acid 3,000 – 9,000 a day during the herpes virus breakouts.

    I think this information should be helpful for all those who are looking for ways to keep the cold core virus under control. I have tried and found that L-lysine really helps me combat cold sores.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that it dissolves in water and not oil. So, when adding it to lib balms, it would be wise to dissolve it in water before adding it to the oils.

    1. Thanks for that great info Liz! That’s especially handy to know that it dissolves best in water. If you add water to this oil based lip balm it will just ooze out, but you could most likely use the L-lysine/water mixture to make a cream-like ointment for the lips! I appreciate your tips – I know that others will find them helpful too! :)

  7. I should clarify that some recommend the 3,000-9,000 mg dosage per day during virus attacks while others do not recommend taking more than 3,000 mg. I have taken up to 4,000 mg internally with great results. Taking the supplement internally and applying it externally throughout the day dramatically decreases the life of the cold sore. I recommend everyone to try this amazing remedy.

    1. I agree Ken; I love getting input from others – I learn so much! Thanks for the kind words about the site as well!

  8. I get cold sores every once in a while. I have found out that if I take 100 mg. of Zinc and take 2-1000 mg. of L-Lysine at the start of a cold sore along then one tablet of zinc (50 mg.) daily and one tablet of L-Lysine three times a day the rest of time for about a week along with putting ABREVA on it I can have it gone in three days tops.

  9. What a GREAT post! I appreciate this and am going to have to tackle this for my daughter. She’s had chronic cold sores (and she picks them AND she doesn’t leave them alone). Really excited to find this!

    1. That’s great Debbie – I hope it helps! There were some good comments here too about success with l-lysine, you might want to check those out too.

  10. Quick question- is there a reason not to toss the herbs into the dehydrator for a few hours before using? Mine runs all summer long anyway!

  11. Hi,
    I’m just wondering what size jar you used to infuse the lemon balm oil, i.e. how much oil should I use? It looks like you used a 12 oz mason jar. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer! It depends on how much lemon balm you have. If you have a little bit, then use a small jar – if you have a lot, you can use a larger jar. Aim for the jar to be around 1/4 full of dried leaves, no matter what the size is, and you’ll be good to go!

  12. Hi
    How long do the lip balms take to set. I made mine about 12 hours ago and they are still runny

    1. Hi Ampelgirl! They should most definitely have set up by now. I would pour them from the tubes back into your melting container and add a bit more beeswax. If you want to test before you repour, just pop a metal spoon in the freezer for a few minutes, then dip it quickly into the lip balm mixture. It should set up enough so you can see if you need more beeswax (to make it firmer) or more oil (to make it softer).

  13. Is it safe to use the oil infusion if there has been mould growing on the surface of the leaves? I made two jars and couldnt understand why one went mouldy until I read in your column that the lid was too airtight causing condensation.

    1. Hi Cindy! You’re right – mold comes when some sort of moisture is left in the jar and then sealed air tight. (Using completely dry herbs & making sure they’re completely covered with oil should help.) I always toss any oil that grows mold, but I do know some people scrape it off and keep going as long as it smells fresh. It should not be used for items you sell though.

  14. Thanks Jan, for the great help…I need some tips because I hardly can find all of the ingredients that you mention. May be you can advise me about refined shea butter and pure cocoa butter…can I change the shea butter with pure cocoa butter, which one is better in your opinion?
    Thanks again, good day!

    1. Hi Fransisca! The main active part of this recipe is the lemon balm infused oil plus beeswax (or another wax) to hold it together. If you can’t get the shea butter, then that’s okay, you can leave it out. (As it’s solid at room temperature, it won’t affect the recipe as much as leaving out a liquid oil.) It’s also fine to use cocoa butter instead of shea butter (just keep in mind that cocoa butter can trigger dry, peeling, red skin in some people, so if the lip balm makes things worse, consider that first as a culprit.) You could start with: 6 tablespoons lemon balm infused oil to 2 tablespoons beeswax. Anything extra you can put in would help (especially tamanu oil or maybe the tea tree oil), but they are more bonus ingredients to give the lip balm more oomph. I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Kiran! The main ingredient to fight against cold sores is lemon balm. So, you can put another infused oil (like calendula or plantain or violet), but it won’t have the components that fight the virus that causes cold sores. Instead you’ll have regular lip balm, that will be good for chapped lips though.

  15. Hi. I haven’t yet made the lemon balm lip stuff yet. My herbs will arrive from Mountain Rose Herbs, tomorrow! I’m so looking forward to making this combo between their ‘Green Salve’ blend, (with almost all the other herbs I’ve seen u suggest for good healing ingredients), and the ‘Lemon Balm’ infused oils.
    I did want to mention ur not wanting to use camphor on the lips, due to it not being safe to ingest. Well, today I had to break down and buy some Blistex for my very chapped lips, since all my ingredients have yet to arrive.
    The first thing I did was to check the active ingredients for some inspiration for my ‘Winter Lips’ and the very first thing listed, is Camphor! Just FYI.
    I can’t wait til everything gets here, so I can get started! Very excited! Thanx for the recipes, info and inspiration. :)

    1. How exciting – getting a Mountain Rose Herbs order is so much fun! :) Thanks for the information on camphor in Blistex; that’s helpful to know! I hope you have a wonderful time creating your herbal goodies!

  16. I mixed up something for my 7 year old daughter last year (early winter 2013) that seemed to work pretty well. She suffered from frequent cold sores. I didn’t want to give her the high dose capsule form of Resveratrol, since she is still developing, but knowing that Resveratrol has been shown to work in mice studies, I decided to try it topically with her. Coconut oil is another one that people have had some luck with for herpes (no scientific studies that I’m aware of showing that it works specifically with herpes), so I made the balm out of coconut oil and resveratrol (500 mg of 99% pure capsule).

    I put a several tablespoons of coconut oil in a microwave safe dish and melted it (trying to ensure that it wasn’t too hot, because I didn’t want to degrade the resveratrol). I then added the powdered resveratrol from the capsule and mixed it as well as I could. I put the liquid in a container with a lid and let it solidify.

    My wife put it on my daughter’s lips nightly for a couple months, and then something happened to the container, so she stopped. During that time and for months after that, she had zero outbreaks. In the approximate year since application started, she has had one or two outbreaks (more recently). She used to get outbreaks about once per month, on average (although they were usually stopped/shortened with Abreva medicine).

    It is unclear whether it was the coconut oil, the resveratrol, the combination, or random luck, but there is absolutely no doubt that there was a dramatic change in outbreaks. As with anything like this, there are a lot of variables and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, but I thought I’d share in the hopes that it may help someone, just as Jan has for her balm.

    I found this page while researching coconut oil and resveratrol to see if anyone else had done something similar. I’m about to mix up a new batch for her to start using again. I may consider adding BHT to the mix too.

    Again, just more options for people.

  17. Wow, can’t wait to try this. I have my lemon balm steeping right now. I was wondering where to buy the tins so I can give it as gifts to friends and family. Thanks for the amazing recipe.

    1. Hi Suzan, I’m glad you like the recipe! The cheapest price on tins I’ve found (so far) is at

  18. Thanx to ur recipe, I have used it as a base for my balms and salves and I’m about to sell my versions online. I make a version for just ur face treatment, just ur lips balm, and one all over salve! Very healing!!! Thank U SO MUCH !!!!!!

  19. I love your newsletter and your pictures are so beautiful. Where do you get your lip balm tins and blue glass jars for creams?

    1. Hi Laura, thanks! I get lip balm tins and the blue glass jars from The shipping can get kind of high on these types of items, but even with that factored in, they had the best prices last time I compared. (Which admittedly, has been a few years!)

  20. I just made a small batch of this for my family who suffer from cold sore outbreaks. This is amazing stuff! Thank you so much for the information. I was wondering if you think it is okay to wear this lip balm even when you do not suffer from outbreaks? I love it and I am sure the antiviral properties are great to have anytime. I just want to make sure that I will not reduce its effectiveness by using it all the time. Thanks so much again for everything!

    1. I’m glad you like it! Yes, you can wear it more often. I have a family member who keeps it on constantly all winter, just because they love the feel of it. :)

  21. I am interested in making this Lemon Balm infused oil. Can that oil be used directly on cold sores?

    1. Hi Erin! Yes, you can apply the oil directly to cold sores. The lip balm just makes it easier to apply.

  22. Hi there- I am attempting to make the infused lemon balm oil- the fast way. I’ve had a quart jar with lemon balm (about 1/2 full) and covered to the top with regular vegetable oil simmering in a pot with water on low for about 2 days now. I just checked it, and can’t even detect a hint of lemon smell (or taste). Does that sound right?

    1. Hi Sara! I usually just infuse my oils the quick way for about two hours (not days). If you heat for too long, it’ll start to smell a bit fried instead of fresh. I just checked a batch I made about a week ago and places in a warm, sunny window. It has a very faint hint of lemon scent, but it’s not strong. Your final oil won’t be very lemony, so yours is probably still okay to use (unless it smells like fried leaves, then I’d restart it.)

  23. I can’t find fresh lemon balm nearby me, can I use lemon balm tea bag instead? (which I found in supermarket)

  24. Jan, you are awesome & if I could, I would come to your house and hug you! I’ve recently had my first bout of cold sore misery…but I got them in my nose. Sounds so gross, I know. But since I didn’t know what I was dealing with & because I have mild allergies that make me sneeze most mornings, they just kept spreading & getting worse. Once my husband realized they were cold sores & I did my best to stop them spreading I got them slightly under control but they wouldn’t completely go away. Then I found your post. Oh my goodness, what a huge difference! I didn’t have most of the stuff for the balm, but I did have lemon balm that I dried last year. (Wasn’t sure what to do with it but I couldn’t help drying it anyway.) So since I needed to try something, I just made the infused oil & it has almost completely cleared up everything. Now that I know what I’m dealing with I will use this immediately the next time & hopefully stop the awful spreading! Thanks so much. You have so much great info here, I really appreciate all I’m learning!

    1. Hi Kristen, I’m so happy to hear how much your lemon balm has helped you! It’s a wonderful plant. :)

  25. I found this site when I googled homemade cold sore remedy. There is so much good info. Quick question.. If I’m desperate, could I just smash some lemon balm in a grinding bowl and rub that directly on my lip as a quick method? Also, once your lip balm is applied, how long until the cold sore clears up? Thanks again for your time.

    1. Hi Amy, I’m not positive if rubbing smashed leaves directly on your lips will help or not, but I think it sounds like a good idea and worth a trial run! It seems to me that it would be more concentrated and fresh that way, but I really don’t know if that guess has scientific merit or not. It’s also really hard to give a time frame for when (or if) it works since everyone is so very different with different environments and diet and sun exposure and health levels. It’s just something you can try and hope it helps! (And I do hope it helps you!) :)

  26. I usually get a cold sore once per year. Today is my lucky day : (. I have lemon balm growing in my herb garden and am wondering if I could just take a leaf and place on the sore, since 4-6 weeks isn’t going to help me with the one that popped up today.

    1. Hi Laurie, I’m so sorry about your cold sore – they are just not fun. :/ You could definitely try a leaf or a juiced up leaf and see how it does. Several people have mentioned that in the comments, but no one has reported back yet. If it works – and I hope it does – let us know!

  27. Hi instead of using 4 TBS of lemon balm infused oil…How would I use Melissa essential oil instead. Its very pricy so I wanted to know exactly how much to put in with out experimenting. Hoping to grow lemon balm this summer if I can get it to grow at 10,200 ft?

    1. Hi Laura! That might work well, but I’ve never used it before to know how much. If you check with the manufacturer, they might have some good usage guidelines for you.
      I hope you’re able to get your lemon balm growing! :)

  28. I’m so excited to make some of this for a friend who suffers terrible with lip sores. I don’t have any clove bud oil but I have plenty of Thieves oil. Do you think I could substitute that?

    1. Hi Colleen! I haven’t tried it to be sure, though it’s an interesting idea. You’d have to find out if it’s lip safe or not – which the manufacturer should be able to tell you. If so, then give it a go! :)

  29. I was wondering if you could use oregano leaf extract and thyme leaf extract in the lip balm. And if so how much would you use? I infused the oregano and thyme in oil first, then I was going to use it in the lip balm.

    1. Hi Janet, That sounds like a great idea! I think you should be able to use those herbal infused oils in your lip balm. Since I haven’t tried it out personally, I’m not exactly sure how much to use, but you could do a few small sample batches to test out and find an amount you like best.

  30. I was wondering if you would be able to put this into lip balm tubes, like the ones off Specialty Bottle and if so, roughly, if you had to guess, it would fill up. I was thinking of making this as a gift for next fall (I live in Maine, plenty of chapped lips to go around!) once I got my lemon balm and calendula into the ground and grown a little.


    1. *of you had to guess, how many it would fill up. Sorry, brain was way ahead of my fingers! :,D

    2. Hi Tori! Yes, you could put it in lip balm tubes, you just might need to add a smidge more beeswax so the balm is firmer and won’t squish against your lips when you use it. You can melt it several times, adjusting beeswax and oil amounts as needed until you get the texture you’d like.
      Since it fills around 7 half-ounce tins, that’s an approximate 3.5 oz yield. Lip balm tubes are generally 0.15 oz (I believe is most common size) so 3.5 oz divided by 0.15 = 23 tubes. I’m not positive that will be the exact number, but at least it gives a ballpark figure you might end up with. :)

  31. 5 stars
    Hi Jan,
    I just found your website by accident and the lemon balm cold sore recipe.
    I get these occasionally when I’m stressed and did the l-lysine for years but
    got tired of taking pills. A friend told me to try vanilla extract and because I
    make my own I did and it did work at reducing the duration of the sore. I
    really want to try this recipe even if it’s just for use as a lip balm or dry
    patches of skin I get on my hands. Thank you for an interesting read.

    1. Hi Mary, Thanks for the tip about vanilla extract, that’s so interesting to hear how helpful it was!
      I hope you enjoy the recipe! :)

  32. 5 stars
    I’ll have to give this a try, as I’m prone to cold sores as well. And one of the triggers is also sunshine. One thing I do to prevent them is taking L-lysine daily.

  33. This a fantastic recipe. I have several friends with cold sore issues and one has an aversion to licorice, so lemon balm will be an excellent alternative!

  34. 5 stars
    This is so awesome! I have been plagued with cold sores since I was a kid and normally they last about a week to 10 days. I have a recipe that has gotten it down to two days (ASAP365 Colloidal Silver Gel and Thyme Out – mixed 50/50) but I might add some of these ingredients and see if I can get it down to one or even use as a preventative! Thank you!

    1. Hi Michelle, I’m so glad you like the recipe! Thanks for sharing your cold sore recipe & tip with us too! ❤

    1. Hi Jane! Yes, I’ve added honey to lip balms before, just keep in mind that it will eventually ooze out & separate from the oils over time.
      To help it blend in well – add the honey after everything (wax, oils) has melted together and is still really hot.
      Then stir, stir, stir and continue stirring frequently as it cools.
      You’ll get more of a creamy balm texture, but otherwise use it the same way.
      Store in a cool spot & use it up sooner than you would if it didn’t have honey in it.

  35. Can you use other carrier oils for the lemon balm oil? Like sweet almond or apricot kernels oil?

  36. 5 stars
    Such a lovely place to get information on what ails us , thank you for reminding me about Campho-Phenique as I have used that in the past once I feel that slight Tingey pain in my lip, I apply Campho-Phenique

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