Testing Herstat propolis on cold sores – it works

Recently I have been testing propolis cold sore ointment from Herstat on a cold sore that crept up on me in the night.

Herstat Propolis cold sore care ointment

Herstat Propolis cold sore care ointment

I have been using their LipCare Stick as a preventative measure but you know when you feel that tingling just when you’re dozing off to sleep? You know you should get up, find the ointment and apply a good dose immediately but you’re so nice and cozy in bed. It’s late. It’s dark. You’re tired… so you turn over and drift off to sleep. Meanwhile the herpes simplex virus is having a party on your lip!

It was a Saturday morning and I woke up with, yup you guessed it, a cold sore.
I wanted to test this new propolis ointment out so in a way I was pleased. Really I was. I know, I know I’m weird. But I’ve just hosted a guest blog about the healing powers or propolis for cold sores so I wanted to see if it was really all that good.

I was away that weekend, so for starters, the tube I had been using at the tingle stage was nearly empty. I was also sleeping in a strange room in my neices tiny bed. My bag was who knew where in the darkness and I hadn’t slept well anyway. I had been applying this ointment for a couple of weeks and up till that fateful night, no cold sores had managed to thrive on my propolis smothered lip, despite feeling numerous warning tingles.

I’ve been really quite run down and having horrible red, angry, painful sore, allergic reactions on my face almost every week for about two months now. As soon as I start to recover another reaction begins. I suspect possibly eggs, soya in some chocolate and maybe peppers but I’m still reacting to something. Elimination diet began today so hopefully it will calm down soon.

So my body was vulnerable. Cold sores love it when you’re down.

Firstly, apologies for the awful photos. How did I manage to take so many different shades?

Testing propolis - cold sore diary day one

Testing propolis – cold sore diary day 1

Day 1 – propolis on cold sore

Can you just see the swelling of a cold sore at the ready?

I started applying propolis ointment as often as I could and the most noticeable difference is that it smells amazing and tastes great too if you happen to get any on your tongue or lick your lips.

Most over the counter cold sore treatments are man-made and aren’t that appealing to smell or taste but propolis on the other hand is completely natural and tastes and smells good enough to eat.

Testing propolis - cold sore diary day two

Testing Propolis cold sore diary – day 2

Day 2 – propolis on cold sore

What you notice next about using propolis on a cold sore is that it doesn’t hurt. You know how painful cold sores can be? Well propolis kind of dulls any pain.

The other thing I enjoyed a lot with this stuff is that I haven’t wasted any. What comes out of the tube is a useful amount and I use it. Not like those little metal tubes of Zovirax – take off the lid, pierce the end and half the tube ejaculates all over your hand. Not this stuff. It’s easy to use and no waste.

Testing Herstat propolis cold sore ointment - day 3

Testing Propolis cold sore diary – day 3

Day 3 – propolis on cold sore

I’m not sure I noticed much difference in the first few days. What I did see though was that it didn’t grow. The cold sore didn’t form into a blister.

It was a raised bump, was reddish and a bit swollen but it never quite blistered into that annoying phase where the scab is so fragile and keeps getting knocked off or damaged when you shower or accidentally get it wet or eat or drink or dry yourself after the shower. (nb. always keep your own separate towel to dry your face/cold sore, don’t share towels when you have one, they are very contagious.)

Testing Herstat cold sore ointment - day 4

Testing Propolis cold sore diary – day 4

Day 4 – propolis on cold sore

This was a crunch point. It felt like the sore was well and truly on the mend. The swelling was almost gone, when I applied the propolis ointment I could hardly feel it but I could still see it in the mirror. However as you can see, it’s far less of an eye sore than the horrible yellow blisters you can get.

If you look very carefully you can now also see the spot that is growing nicely. I hardly ever get spots but it’s sods law when I do get one it’s often a whopper and this one is right in line of the cold sore photo!

I slowed down using the propolis, but almost immediately, after about half a day, I could feel both my lips tingling all over. The way propolis works, as well as almost eradicating any pain, is to stop the virus replicating, which it always loves to do. You often find you’ll get a cluster of sores and rarely just one. Needless to say I carried on using the ointment again, not slowing as I had been and thankfully, no other cold sores appeared, despite my lips looking a little like there might be an outbreak on a few redder patches.

It’s important to keep on using the ointment. Herstat also provide a propolis stick to use between outbreaks, which should ensure, if you use it regularly, that you don’t get one or at least get fewer than before.

When I asked about whether I would be able to use the Herstat LipCare stick after it had been in contact with an active coldsore, DTC Healthcare Ltd, a UK distributor of Herstat told me, “The herpes simplex virus (HSV1) is unable to survive in the Herstat formula. The propolis ingredient ‘Propolis ACF’ has antiviral, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which prevent the virus and other bacteria from surviving on the stick”.
I was also told: “Ideally you need to continue to apply the treatment every two hours, from the early signs of itching, throughout the duration of the coldsore until all physical signs of it have disappeared. The various ingredients of Herstat ointment provide a conducive environment for healing and the Propolis ACF component will help to slow down and prevent the virus replicating”.

Testing Herstat cold sore ointment - day 6

Testing Propolis cold sore diary – day 6

Day 6 – propolis on cold sore

It’s nearly gone and despite the slightly visible redness, it feels flat and like it’s gone completely when I apply the ointment. I think I’ll keep on applying for just a few more days till it’s totally gone but all in all, a very positive test.

This photo isn’t the same size as the others, my bad! I might post another tomorrow just to show that it’s gone, gone, gone. Shame about the spot and allergy face, which actually don’t look as bad as they do in the flesh thank goodness. Don’t want to scare you!

“For me, propolis is by far the best thing I’ve ever used to treat a cold sore. No pain, it tastes amazing, is totally natural and best of all, it works.” Ruth, What Allergy?

Your immune system health could effect how well any treatment works

This wasn’t really a fair test for propolis for a few reasons. Firstly I thought I would see what JUST propolis could achieve, on its own, despite the fact that I normally take L-lysine and multi-vitamins, echinacea and Vitamin C and all sorts of other things. I bombard cold sores into submission. I usually use tea tree oil which works well but not as well as this stuff. Now I am using all known and available supplements as well to bolster the propolis and make sure the cold sore virus doesn’t come back.

The other reason is that my skin is pretty inflamed at the moment and has been now for a month or so. I’m in the grips of a pretty nasty allergy reaction to something or things that I haven’t quite pinpointed yet. Now food always always triggers cold sores for me, processed food can trigger one, alcohol can trigger one and certain allergens, as well a face of red swollen itchyness will deposit a cold sore on my lip at the same time.

So Herstat propolis cold sore ointment has had quite a lot to contend with and all things considered, my immune system is a pretty low ebb at the moment. My face is hurting as I type. I am taking pain killers, anti-histamines and eating a very basic diet and yet, still, I have been spared the added pain and anguish of a family of cold sores. Thank you Propolis!

Has anyone else used this to treat a cold sore? What did you think?

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About RuthS

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. http://www.whatallergy.com was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She runs a support group for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and also writes regularly for Exchange, The National Eczema Society quarterly magazine.


  1. I assume you have been patch tested by a dermatologist for whatever is going on with your face? My allergic contact dermatitis mostly shows up on my face. If you’re prone to rosacea it will often happen that way.
    Also, be careful with the propolis. It is natural, but it is very allergenic. I became allergic to it in only three weeks. It’s a documented allergen that is on patch tests.http://www.dermnetnz.org/dermatitis/propolis-allergy.html

    • Hi there, yes I have been patch tested but these tests didn’t really reveal anything at all. Very disappointing. As for the propolis, my lips where I’ve been applying it have been fine. In fact they are positivily peachy. It’s just my face. I’ve been taking photos every day and am hoping to get to speak to my dermatologist about this soon and am reading all I can on rosacea. Whatever it is I just need to learn what this new trigger or triggers are. I’ve been pretty good for a few years with very few flare-ups but this latest episode is really hard to cope with. Thank goodness I work from home where I can fit in my work around icing, splashing and soothing my aching face. Just call me face ache! I WILL get to the bottom of it though. Am now on a very basic elimination diet for a few weeks and today it does feel slightly better. We shall see. It has started to get dry and flaky which usually means it’s healing. I’m going out tonight regardless so watch out writers (my writing group tonight) the red face snapper is out and about.

  2. Thank you for this, I’m going to try this out and recommend to friends if it works well. Did you consider also taking Lysine?

    • Hi James, yes I find L-lysine works really well and I always take that when I have a cold sore. I was trying to give propolis the ultimate test but towards the end I did pop a few Llysine. It helps with that feeling that a cold sore is going to pop up somewhere else which they can do. I was really impressed with how propolis workdd. No pain at all and I’m really run down so might normally have got a whopper – just to add insult to injury. This one is now official just a tiny blemish and gone for good!

  3. Rachel Gates says:

    I tried out Herstat after reading this and I must say it worked a treat.

    My order arrived really quickly and I started applying it every few hours as instructed. Within 24 hours I noticed a big difference in appearance. My skin was much calmer and redness was reduced. It helped soothe the pain too. Overall, I’d say it cut the length of my cold sore in half so I recommend it to anyone struggling to find a good treatment.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Hi Rachel, I love the stuff. I have even put it on other blemishes too and it heals really quickly. Here’s to a cold sore free life and thanks so much for your comment.

  4. Hi Ruth,
    Just wondering how you buy this. I went on the Herstat website and they only deliver in the UK! Thanks!


    • Ah OK, that might be the problem as I live in the UK. You must be able to get a similar products with propolis in the US. I’m trying to find you a US alternative. The other company who makes something similar in the UK is AVogel. They might do it. Google propolis ointment. Good luck and if I find something I will let you know. No luck so far…

      • Hello,
        I work for the exclusive distributor of Herstat in Canada. We sell on Amazon and we are available in over 600 Health Food Stores within Canada. If you live in Canada there is a multitude of ways to get the product here! Check out our website http://www.herstat.ca/ for the store map.

  5. I’ve never posted on any blog or forum or anything so, maybe someone can help or not. I live in California and it sucks to say, but I’m happy there are others out there that have cold sores too. I can’t get herstat here in the states, and online it only delivers to Europe, or if you’re lucky enough to live in Canada. Does anyone have any resources available on how to get it here? I can’t do this anymore…it’s been almost 30 years since I was a kid and… is there nothing I can do? No way to try it?

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