What is the canker sore and find out what is the best treatment for canker sores

Home Treatment for a Canker Sore You Should Know

The canker sore is very common in my household. While it is not contagious, the discomfort is unpleasant. For me, the most annoying is having difficulties eating. Here, I will share with you some home treatment for a canker sore. At the Corner of My Home, it is all about herbs and spices. So, let’s find out which herb can “spice” that mouth ulcer.

What Is the canker sore

Canker Sore

Normally, I call it the mouth ulcer. My son is most familiar with it because it mostly happens to him.  At times, two ulcers would appear in the same period of time. Made worse, when both combine to become one big crater.

The canker sore is also known as aphthous ulcer while its medical term is aphthous stomatitis.

It is small, shallow lesions that grow on the soft tissue in your mouth. It usually appears on the inside of the cheeks or lips, on the tongue, the upper surface of the mouth or the base of the gums. It is either in white, greyish or yellowish in colour with a red border.

What Causes mouth Canker Sores

It is not entirely clear what causes a canker sore to develop. It is possibly due to any or a combination of several factors that include the following.

Oral injuries. The lining inside your mouth, including gums and lip, are delicate. Hence, you need to be careful while brushing your teeth. Best to avoid aggressive teeth brushing.

Also, biting the inside of the lip or cheek while eating can cause a canker sore.

Stress. Your emotional state affects health and you know this very well but how does this relate to mouth ulcers? Too much stress can weaken your immune system. Thus, more susceptible to ulcers.

On top of that, stress can cause a digestive imbalance and leads to acid reflux. Hence, ulcers may act up.

Stress and hormonal changes may lead to growth of the canker sore

Hormonal changes. Blame it on the hormones? Many women’s health conditions or issues are related to hormonal changes. Do you agree? Is canker sore one of them?

While there is no scientific research to back this claim, many women reported having suffered from an increase of canker sores before or during menstruation.

Acidic or spicy food. If you are sensitive to acidic or spicy food, it may upset the immune response in your mouth. Thus, making you prone to developing mouth ulcers.

Avoid spicy food and increase vitamin supplements to avoid getting a canker sore

Vitamin deficiencies. Insufficient vitamins and minerals in your daily diet can affect the health condition of your mouth, especially so for folic acid, iron, zinc and Vitamin B12.

A study archived at the JABFM – Journal of the American Board of the Family Medicine, has this conclusion

‘Vitamin B12 treatment, which is simple, inexpensive, and low-risk, seems to be effective for patients suffering from RAS, regardless of the serum vitamin B12 level.’

It is shown that the Vitamin B12 supplement helped reduce the amount of pain from the canker sores, the number of outbreaks and the number of ulcers experience in a month.

RAS – Recurrent aphthous stomatitis, also called canker sores.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). This is a common ingredient found in your toothpaste. It is a synthetic detergent, also a foaming substance used to clean your teeth and why you see the foam. This additive has been linked to the occurrence of the canker sore.

A clinical study archived at NCBI – The National Center for Biotechnology Information, has this result

A statistically significant reduction in recurrent aphthous ulcers was observed during 2 months’ use of SLS-free dentifrice compared to 2 months’ use of the SLS-containing dentifrice.

If you are prone to getting canker sore, it is best to use SLS-free oral health products. Here are a few recommendations.

Himalaya Botanique Simply Mint Whitening Toothpaste contains NO Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and harsh abrasives.

Take a closer look on Amazon

Hello Oral Care Toothpaste is SLS free and thoughtfully formulated with refreshing farm-grown peppermint, tea tree oil to tame bad breath and coconut oil to moisturize.

Find out more on Amazon

Verve Ultra SLS-free Toothpaste is enriched with antioxidants, including Vitamin E and formulated for everyday use.

Check this out on Amazon

The symptoms

You will probably know an ulcer is about to develop if you are used to getting one or two every now and then. If not, I will explain it briefly here.

The first symptom is a mild tingling sensation in the area where the ulcer will appear. It usually takes a few days to flare up. Then, you will see a red border surrounding the inflamed ulcer, which is white, greyish or yellowish in colour. Of course, the pain and discomfort would have escalated by then. The worst ulcer – even to touch it with your tongue would cause PAIN.

Do NOT confuse yourself with cold sores, also known as fever blisters. Cold sores are contagious, but canker sores are NOT. Cold sore is caused by a virus and found outside the mouth around the lips, on the cheeks or chin, or inside the nostril.

Most canker sores do not require any treatment as they will heal on its own and disappear in about seven to ten days. However, I am sure you do not want to prolong the discomfort – talking can be painful too – the first 3 to 4 days are the worst.

Simple natural home remedies can help reduce pain and inflammation. It will speed up the healing process and you will be able to enjoy your food. Is it not good to know?

Here goes…

Home treatment for a Canker Sore

Home Remedies

Rinse your mouth with saltwater. Yes! Isn’t it the easiest. This is best done when you first notice the tingling sensation – an ulcer is about to pop.

When I say home remedies, surely you don’t expect using salt alone. Mother Nature gives us amazing herb plants – use them!



One of the best herbs for treating mouth ulcer. Its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal properties are effective in helping to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the ulcer.

Simply boil a glass of water with a handful of cilantro. Strain the solution and allow the water to cool. Gargle with the lukewarm water at least three or four times a day.



This is the seeds of the cilantro herb plant. If you do not have fresh cilantro, use the seeds form.

Just boil a cup of water and add one teaspoon of coriander. Steep For 5 – 10 minutes and strain. Gargle with it at least three or four times a day.



This is another herb to treat mouth ulcers at home. Its calming property gives immediate relief from the pain and inflammation.

Simply add a handful of sage leaves to two cups of boiling water. Steep for 10 – 15 minutes. Strain and allow to cool. Use it to gargle three to four times a day.

Alternatively, apply powdered sage leaves directly on the ulcer and leave it for a few minutes. Repeat several times a day till it heals.


Parsley image

Another amazing herb. You should not treat it just as a garnish. Most often, you see the restaurants doing it.

It contains iron and folate which help in combating mouth ulcer. Simply chew on some fresh parsley. Furthermore, it helps to freshen your breath.



One of the most common herbs used in cooking. It is a significantly valuable herb. With its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural ingredient to prevent infections and calm a mouth ulcer.

You may either chew on the leaves or steep the leaves in hot water and use it as a mouthwash. Repeat three to four times a day.


Cayenne Pepper

Isn’t this the spicy ingredient that I should be avoiding? I hear you asking. Cayenne contains capsaicin, a compound that briefly numbs the nerves that cause pain. Also, it helps inhibit bacteria growth and inflammation.

Add some water to cayenne to make a paste. Use a cotton swab to apply the paste to your mouth ulcer. Reapply two to three times a day. This will ease the pain and helps to heal.

Consider a Journey in Herbalism

Learning herbalism is not only for those who wish to pursue a career as a herbalist. It is for anyone who wishes to take the natural path to support their own, as well as their family’s general health.

Not only will you learn how to make natural herbal remedies, but be educated about the many ways herbs can be used to support wellness.

The Herbal Academy has an online program, The Family Herbalist Path Course, where you can learn from the comfort of your home. This package, at a special discount, includes the Introductory and Intermediate Herbal Courses which you can take separately at a different price.

Preview Lesson from the Introductory Herbal Course

The Holiday Sale in on. All programs are discounted up to A Jolly 25% off.

Take a look ↓

BIG HOLIDAY SALE on Herbal Courses

All in All

Canker sore or commonly called mouth ulcer is not a serious issue but it causes a lot of discomfort and pain.

Before you rush out to your nearest pharmacy to buy over-the-counter medication, check if you have the herbs and spices mentioned. These are commonly used for every day cooking. Why not make good use of the herbs and spices you already have.

The herbs may not heal the canker sore immediately, especially if it already flared up. However, the natural home treatment mentioned can ease the pain.

If you are prone to getting the canker sore, avoid acidic and spicy food. In addition, remember to check out the SLS-free toothpaste. Also, consider supplementing vitamins and minerals to your daily diet.

You may even contemplate growing your own herbs. Do not let “I don’t know how” or “I have limited space” be the excuses for not doing so.  It can be a fun process and when you harvest your own herbs, I can see the sense of satisfaction in you. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have herbs for cooking or remedies at your fingertips all year round?

Learn more about growing indoor herbs all year round.

Please leave a comment

How do you feel using the home treatment for a canker sore? Would you rather use over the counter medicines? Share with us your experiences so that we can learn from each other. I look forward to your comments.

Share This Article

If you find this blog post interesting, please share it with anyone that you think might find it useful. Thank you and have a good day!

From the Corner of My Home – Spice Up Your Life with Herbs and Spices

Medical Disclaimer: The information and references on this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. It is not to be used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on medications.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon.com Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that coenerofmyhome.com receives a small commission by linking to amazon.com and other sites at no extra cost to the readers.

Published by


Sharon is on a career break, minding her family. During her free hours, she loves sharing her passion for herbs and spices. She learned how to build this website at Wealthy Affiliate University. If you have a passionate topic and would love to share, click here to learn how to build your own profitable website!

27 Replies to “Home Treatment for a Canker Sore You Should Know

  1. Hello Sharon,
    Awesome read. I love your articles, they are so informative. I have shared this to my network as well. I did not know about these herbs and what they can do for the canker sore. I did not even realize that the toothpaste could be a cause…thanks for all these tips and insights. I will certainly pay attention to my toothpaste and look at your recommendation too.
    Keep up the great job!

    1. Hello Michelle,

      Most times, we do not realize simple things in daily life can affect our well-being. In this case, the toothpaste. We rarely check what the ingredients were. Even though we do, how would we know their effects? Good or bad. Hopefully, my sharing will be helpful to those who wish for natural solutions to their issues.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Hi. I have always suffered from sores. There is a lot of new information for me in this publication. I did not know about coriander, cilantro, sage, parsley, basil, and cayenne.
    I always use baking soda and lemon to clean the sores, but that’s painful.
    I will try to use them.
    It is also a new fact for me what you say about the SLS in toothpaste, I knew that this component was harmful and even this in other products such as shampoo and detergents. I just talked about the SLS in a post I recently published about natural or organic shampoo.

    Thank you very much

    1. Hi,

      SLS was new to me too. There is so much to learn about chemical compounds in our daily consumable goods – products that should be avoided. I believe in going back to basics – natural products. I am glad that you are on this path too. Talking about natural or organic shampoo, you may be interested to find out how do herbs help in managing hair care


  3. Ugh… know exactly what you are talking about. In my family, these ugly ulcers are common too. Although we do not get them very often, we do get them.

    I remember the first time I had one. I was still very young and my parents had never seen such a thing. I could hardly eat for a week until my dad finally agreed to take me to the pharmacy and find something for me.

    Ever since, I have used Kanka, a very well known treatment for canker sores. However, it is new to me that herbs can be used to prevent or treat them.

    I do have a small herb garden, and also a few of the herbs you mention here. I am going to try that for sure next time. Let me see how that works.

    Oh… and I almost feel as I am getting another canker sore by reading through your article…. just kidding..

    Thanks for sharing this great information. There are things I did not know about canker sores before.


    1. Hello Oscar,

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your experience here.

      I didn’t know canker sore was mouth ulcer until I read up about it. My son has been getting them often since young. And we would usually use OTC treatment which tastes awful. 

      I am always on the lookout for herbs and spices usage and glad to have found they can help treat a canker sore. 

      Do let me know how these remedies work out for you when you have a ‘chance’ to use them.

      Good day!


  4. Hello Sharon,
    This is a very informative and well written post. I never knew about SLS, and I’ll defiantly stop my aggressive teeth brushing. My grand dad, back in South Africa, had a lot of home remedies to ease things like stomach ache and muscle pain. So, I really appreciate the section on home remedies. Nice bit about Parsley. I never knew how much it could do for your the health of your mouth.

    A lot of doctors believe that your mouth can often indicate overall health because when something is wrong with the body it’s often reflected in the healthiness of our mouth. Thanks for sharing such useful information.

    1. Hello Thabo.

      I only found out about SLS while researching for this post. And something as simple as the toothpaste can cause great discomfort.

      You are correct – the mouth can indicate our overall health. If we are mindful to notice it. I have learned that if we have a bad breath, it means our body is heaty. In another word – high acidity. Means it is time to consume more alkaline food. Parsley is one of them. Another reason for you to consume more parsley 😉

      Thanks for dropping by and the share.

  5. Sharon,
    My son gets canker sores all the time. I will look into his toothpaste as he has some painful reactions to other soaps. This may be the cause.
    I will try the cilantro the next time he has one.
    Thanks for the information

    1. Hello John,

      Glad to be of help. Hope the change of toothpaste can help to prevent the occurrences. At least, lessen it. You may also want to pay attention to the diet too.

      Let me know if you require further information or help.

      Good day!

  6. I love your article. It’s loaded with awesome and helpful information. My father gets canker sore all the time. His problem is always triggered by spicy and fried foods. Everytime he gets them, we never know what to do but to take some pain pill and use OTC gel for temporary pain relief. I had no idea that are natural remedies available for that. I am glad that I came to your article. I learned a lot. I now know what to do when he gets canker sore again. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome post.

    1. Yes, spicy and fried food does cause the canker sore. Happens quite a lot in my family. We should stay away from this food but at times may be hard to control. You know what I mean? Go ahead and try out the remedies. Just remember that each individual reacts differently. You may need to try it out and see the effects. Let me know how it goes. Thanks for your positive comments.

  7. Hi!

    I wish I had come across this article when I had painful mouth ulcers. I had no idea what they were. I just knew that they hurt and interfered with eating. Looking back on it, they looked a lot like the pictures on this post. 

    Hopefully I won’t have to experience canker sores again (fingers crossed!), but if I do, I’ll make sure to follow your recommendations. 

    Question: Wouldn’t ceyenne be a bit spicy?

    Looking forward to your answer!


    1. That’s what I thought at first, Britney. Cayenne pepper for canker sore? Wouldn’t it be more painful? Well, not so. 

      Cayenne contains a chemical property called capsaicin and it is responsible for the spiciness of cayenne. Studies show that capsaicin inhibits bacteria growth. Also, it inhibits Substance P, a chemical in our body that causes inflammation. So, there you go. Cayenne can be a good choice of home remedy for a canker sore.

      Hope this information helps you to understand. Feel free to let me know should you have further queries.

      Good day,


  8. Ouch! I have two ulcers right now and they’re not combining into one huge crater luckily but I feel sorry for those that have to get through that because having one ulcer is painful enough. I’m thinking of making parsley and coriander tea mixed with lemon, does that still count or does the honey counter the herbs’ benefits?

    1. You have made a good choice, Riaz, choosing parsley and coriander. Besides easing the pain of a canker sore, both are excellent herbs for body detox, especially the kidneys.

      Honey is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, thus is beneficial for easing pain and destroy bacteria. However, I urge you to use raw honey as processed honey may lack beneficial substances during processing. 

      Good day,


  9. I have suffered from these sores for years as a result of a high stress job in construction where it is one target after the next with no let up. I have tried many of the pharmaceutical remedies that are on the market however these have provided only moderate success.

    I’m very interested in trying some of the remedies that you have listed. There are many plants that you have listed, is this is descending order or are all equally important?


    1. Hello Rich. Depending on what type of herbs or spices you have at home. Feel free to try them. Do note that each individual reacts differently to the variety of herbs. Therefore, what works for others may not work for you. Let me know which ones are good for you. 

      Stay healthy,



  10. Hi Sharon, 

    Thank you for sharing an excellent article about home remedies for a canker sore. Some times I also have some bad experience of canker sore for unmindful use of toothbrush. I have learned many new tips of natural remedies for a canker sore which I definitely use for my family member. I am also going to share it with them. I am going to bookmark your article for my future use. 

  11. Canker sore does happen to me all the time and I use to think it only due to lack of vitamins that makes it occurs, until today where i learnt about stress and acidic or spicy food which contributes to having canker sore. 

    Thanks for this informative post it was indeed helpful and also kind of you to give remedies for them, but I have to ask will you classify injury gotten from a food that was too hot as a canker sore? 

    1. Hello Seun. Stress or minor Injury due to hot food or beverages can cause a canker sore. Therefore, do be careful eating food fresh out the oven. I mentioned oven because I am guilty of eating cookies or pies fresh out of it and usually ends up with a canker sore.

  12. Very helpful article. I think everyone has suffered from mouth ulcers or definitely know someone who has suffered from this painful condition. I am guilty of excessive force with a toothbrush but I have definitely toned it down. it always amazes me how stress can manifest in the body and reminds us how sensitive our bodies really are.

    I really prefer using natural and herbal remedies because the artificial stuff usually have chemicals in them that lead to other problems down the line. Coriander, sage, parsley and basil are found in a lot of the foods we eat so it is easy to source them and use them for canker sore treatment.

    I am sure these foods have any other benefits as well so its a win-win. I also like the idea of making a cayenne paste to numb the pain as opposed to using medications.

    I will definitely be recommending these remedies to people. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Renton. These herbs are full of amazing healing properties. I am happy for you choosing these natural ingredients rather than commercial products. Stay healthy, Sharon

  13. Great post and good info.

    Thede things are the worst what you can have in your mouth. You can’t eat, dri k or even smile without pain. I had one a few weeks ago, with salten water and cayennepepper it doesn’t last more than 3 days, but still. The tips you give are very good, I will check the basil and see if it works. 

    Thanks a lot for sharing it. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *