CANKER SORES (aka aphthous ulcers) may be painful and persistent, but there's one good thing about them: Unlike virally generated cold sores, they're not contagious. For relief, try these natural healers.
Legend for Chart:
A - what
B - propolis
C - sage and myrrh
D - vitamin B12
B: Produced from leaf buds and tree bark by bees to seal and protect
their honeycombs, this gummy substance has been harvested from hives
since ancient times for its reputed healing powers.
C: In ancient Greece, ulcers and sores were treated with sage, and it
continues to be widely used as a gargle and rinse. Ayurveda has long
alleviated mouth sores with myrrh.
D: A vitamin B12 deficiency may predispose you to canker sores,
possibly because the vitamin affects the cells of the tongue and the
mouth's mucosal lining. Replenishing your stores may be worth a try.
A: the evidence
B: A review in Food and Chemical Toxicology of the biological
properties of propolis concluded that it may have antibiotic,
antifungal, and antiviral effects.
C: Sage leaves demonstrate anti-inflammatory activity, according to a
study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. And research published in
Planta Medica found antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic
compounds in myrrh.
D: Vitamin B12 injections improved patients with recurrent
aphthous ulcers who were B12 deficient, reports Canadian Family
Physician. Initial tests of 2,000 to 7,000 micrograms oral B12
weekly in nondeficient subjects have been positive.
B: Allergic reactions are possible.
Avoid if you're pregnant or nursing.
C: If you're pregnant, stay away from sage and myrrh preparations; if
nursing, avoid myrrh.
D: High levels of the vitamin don't appear to be toxic. People taking
certain antibiotics or oral contraceptives may need additional
A: using it
B: After drying saliva from the sore with a tissue, apply propolis
tincture frequently throughout the day. Tinctures are available from
Really Raw Honey ($11.50; really rawhoney.com) and Herb Pharm ($13.50;
herb-pharm.com). Or try Canker-Rid ($15.95; canker-rid.com), a
formulation made from propolis.
C: For a sage response, gargle cooled tea; find sage tea leaves ($5.50)
at herbalsage.com, and sage tea bags from Alvita ($2.50) at naturalweb
store.com. Or use Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Mouthwash ($6.39;
smallplanethealth.com), which contains sage. The myrrh approach: Apply
myrrh tincture ($9; terrafirma botanicals.com) several times a day
with a cotton swab.
D: Supplement with Puritan's Pride Sublingual B12 Microlozenges
(500 mcg, $8; puritan.com) or Vitamin World B12 Sublingual
Tablets (500 mcg, $6.96; vitaminworld.com).