Canker sores, also known by the medical term aphtous ulcers, are the small and painful lesions that appear inside the mouth. They usually appear on the inside part of the cheeks or lips or at the floor of the mouth. They should not be confused with cold sores, which, unlike canker sores, are contagious and appear on the lips, gums and hard palate.
Canker sores are fairly common but their underlying cause is still relatively unknown. They are not considered to be serious or dangerous but sometimes they can indicate a serious condition, like celiac disease, Behcet’s syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease or squamous cell carcinoma, especially if they reoccur frequently.
There are several different home remedies and herbs that can help cure a canker sore, but again, if they come back, it is advised to see a doctor.
German chamomile extract
Chamomile has been used for different medical purposes for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It is used traditionally to cure sore throat, colds, flu symptoms, eczema, irritable bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and many others.
As for canker sores, it is used primarily to relieve the pain which causes significant discomfort, especially while eating.
People who are allergic to any of the plants belonging to the same family as chamomile, such as chrysanthemum, ragweed, aster and others, should avoid chamomile altogether. Allergic reactions can be very dangerous and if they occur, with symptoms like swelling of the eyelids and of the lips, itching and trouble breathing, it is recommended to seek urgent medical attention.
Chamomile should not be used by people who are taking blood thinners (like warfarin), sedatives or alcohol.
Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) is a traditional remedy for mouth and throat infections, rashes and problems with menstrual cycle. It comes in the form of a gel that should be applied three times a day directly onto the canker sore. It relieves the discomfort and speeds up the healing of the sore.
Canker sores occur frequently in people who have vitamin B12 deficiency. The symptoms of this deficiency include fatigue, nervousness, diarrhea, numbness or tingling in fingers and toes and shortness of breath.
Vegetarians and vegans, people who underwent stomach surgery, and people who have certain gastrointestinal infections or parasites are at risk of B12 deficiency.
If it is determined that vitamin B12 deficiency is causing canker sores, the remedy is simple- start taking B12 supplements.
This form of the herbal licorice is found to be very effective against canker sores, much more than the crude licorice. It comes in form of a mouthwash or tablets that should be slowly dissolved in the mouth.