Natural Health Remedies for You

Home Remedies for Canker Sores

Home remedies for canker sores can easily be made using essential oils, herbs, vitamins, and other natural supplements.

Canker sores, or mouth ulcers, are small lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth, e.g. on or under your tongue, inside your cheeks or lips, and at the base of your gums. Canker sores are not contagious, but can be very painful.

Most canker sores are round; they have a red border and a white or yellow center. Sometimes, when you get a canker sore, you may also notice that your some of your lymph nodes are swollen.

Canker sores are usually not serious and most go away on their own in a week or two.

When to See a Doctor

Visit your doctor if you have:
  • Unusually large canker sores.
  • New sores that develop before old ones heal.
  • Sores that last three weeks or more.
  • Uncontrollable pain.
  • Extreme difficulty eating, drinking, or speaking.
  • High fever along with canker sores.

Causes of Canker Sores

The exact cause of canker sores is unknown. However, it is believed that a combination of several factors contributes to canker sore formation. Some of the main factors include:

  • A Malfunctional Immune System: The immune system attacks healthy cells in your mouth instead of viruses and bacteria.
  • Mouth Injury: For example, biting yourself accidentally while eating, brushing your teeth too hard, etc.
  • Nutrient Difficiencies: A diet lacking in vitamin B-12, zinc, folate (folic acid) or iron may cause canker sores to form.
  • Hormonal Changes: For example, hormonal shifts during menstruation.
  • Stress: It has been found that stress can cause canker sore outbreaks.
  • Certain Toothpastes and Mouth Rinses: Toothpastes and mouth rinses that contain sodium lauryl sulfate may cause canker sores.


Home Remedies for Canker Sores - Essential Oils

A mouthwash can be made using one of the following oils:

  • Myrrh: Myrrh contains high amounts of tannins that have pain-relieving properties. Myrrh is an effective oil in treating gum diseases and canker sores. You can add 3 drops of Myrrh oil in a glass of clean water and use it as a mouthwash.
  • Tea Tree: Tea tree oil helps prevent infection and control parasites and candida. Add 3 drops of tea tree oil to a glass of clean water and use it as a mouthwash.

In addition to the above, blend the following together and dab a little on the sores:

  • 2 drops of Chamomile
  • 1 drop of Thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera gel


Home Remedies for Canker Sores - Vitamins

  • Vitamin E: Cut open a vitamin E capsule and squeeze the oil onto your canker sore. Repeat several times a day.
  • Vitamin C: At the first tingle of a canker sore, take high doses of vitamin C (1000 - 1500 mg per day) for three days.


Home Remedies for Canker Sores - Herbs

Herbs that have antiseptic and antibacterial properties can be used to treat canker sores.

  • Goldenseal or Calendula : You can make a strong tea of either one of these herbs and use it as a mouthwash, gargle three to four times a day.
  • Echinacea: This herb has antiviral, immune-enhancing, and wound-healing properties and is effective in healing sores. Liquid echinacea in the amount of 4 ml can be swished in the mouth for two to three minutes, then swallowed. This can be repeated three times per day.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is an astringent and also has wound-healing properties. Use one to three tablespoons of aloe vera juice as a mouthwash, then swallow the juice. This can be repeated three times daily.
  • Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL): DGL contains tannins which can shorten the healing time for sores such as cankers. You can make a herbal solution using:

    • 200 mg of powdered DGL
    • 200 ml of warm water

    Mix well and apply it to the inside of the mouth. Then swish the solution in the mouth for two to three minutes and then spit out. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day for one week.


Other Home Remedies for Canker Sores

Some people have reported positive results using the following home remedies for canker sores:
  • Baking Soda: Cover the sores with a paste made of baking soda.
  • Ice: Apply ice to your canker sores or allow ice chips to slowly dissolve over the sores.
  • Tea Bag: Apply a wet, black tea bag to the sore. Black tea contains tannin, an astringent that has pain-relieving properties.
  • Milk of Magnesia: Dab a small amount of milk of magnesia on your canker sore a few times a day. This can ease the pain and may help the sore heal more quickly.


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
Worwood, V.A. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. (New World Library, 1991). (

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