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What is LipQ?

LipQ is a range of naturally effective lip products designed to protect lips against cold sores.

Most treatments for cold sores concentrate on the sores once they are present, but LipQ products can and should be used in between cold sore outbreaks in order to help prevent and reduce further outbreaks.

A trial by the Herpes Virus Association showed that our liquorice products significantly prolonged time between cold sore outbreaks while also reducing their severity and duration.


What are cold sores?

Cold sores are a very common illness that affects over 30 million people in the UK. Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) the disorder is characterised by groups of tender and painful fluid-filled blisters appearing on red swollen areas of the skin or mucous membranes.

The first symptom of an outbreak is an unpleasant tingling feeling in the skin. After a short while, a number of fluid-filled blisters appear.

The sores become covered by scabs that typically fall off after 8 to 10 days. The sores are highly contagious until they are completely covered by scabs and simple contact can transmit the virus to another person. 

The virus has the ability to remain lurking in your cells waiting for a trigger to attack once more and therefore, cold sores are recurrent through a sufferer’s lifetime.

Factors that can trigger a cold sore attack:

  • The common cold - cold sores may appear during or after a cold. This could be due to altered immunity, and the fact that the nose and lips may be dry and irritated from nose blowing does not help matters.
  • Sunlight - many people find they suffer an outbreak whilst on a holiday abroad. It is important to keep the lips moisturised, use sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
  • Stress- we are beginning to realize just how much stress can suppress the immune system which can trigger cold sores.
  • Menstruation/hormonal changes as in pregnancy- Many women find that their outbreaks are confined to the period leading up to menstruation and some pregnant women may notice an outbreak of cold sores, particularly in early pregnancy when oestrogen and progesterone levels start to rise rapidly.


The main cold sore fighting ingredient in LipQ products is liquorice extract.

LipQ Liquorice Balm is 100% natural and contains only liquorice extract, glycyrrhizic acid (GA).

The LipQ Liquorice Balm is designed to be used daily as a preventative against cold sore outbreaks.

How does Liquorice extract help fight cold sores?

Liquorice has been used medicinally since at least 500 BC. It is known in China as the "great detoxifier" and is thought to drive poisons from the system.

The active compound, glycyrrhizic acid (GA), is found in the root of the liquorice plant. 

GA specifically targets the genes that are required to maintain the virus in its latent state by interfering with the production of special proteins that feed the infected cells.  has shown that liquorice has the ability to weaken the cold sore virus which lies dormant in the skin between outbreaks.*

In the UK, Liquorice Lip Balm was found to be effective in a double-blind trial, carried out by the Herpes Viruses Association on forty people. It reduced the severity and duration of outbreaks for over 73% of subjects tested and, furthermore, 83% of subjects using the liquorice balm reported experiencing less severe outbreaks than when using their conventional treatments. While using the liquorice lip balm, testers reported that on average their outbreaks were only half their normal length.



*Research showing the success of liquorice for treating the herpes virus.

The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2005, March;115(3):642-652

Glycyrrhizic acid alters Kaposi sarcoma associated herpes virus latency, triggering p53-mediated apoptosis in transformed B lymphocytes.

Curreli  F, Friedman-Klein A.E, Flore O.

Researchers concluded that there are currently no available treatments that target the latent form of the herpes virus.  These New York researchers found that for the first time the latent form of the infection could be terminated by glycyrrhizic acid (GA).  GA is a triterpenoid compound found in the roots of the liquorice plant.  GA was found to induce the release of special proteins that cause the infected cells to die.  Several studies have shown that GA has a strong anti-viral effect, especially on herpes viruses.  The liquorice compound is believed to be the first example of an anti-viral compound that specifically targets the latent form of the herpes virus.

Experientia. 1980 Mar 15;36(3):304.

Antiviral activity of glycyrrhizic acid.
Pompei R, Pani A, Flore O, Marcialis MA, Loddo B.

GA was shown to inactivate the cold sore causing virus, herpes simplex 1, irreversibly.

Nature. 1979 Oct 25;281(5733):689-90.

Glycyrrhizic acid inhibits virus growth and inactivates virus particles.
Pompei R, Flore O, Marccialis MA, Pani A, Loddo B.

GA was found to be active against viruses. Researchers reported that the compound inhibits the growth of several unrelated DNA viruses.  In addition it was found that GA inactivates herpes simplex virus particles irreversibly.


Melissa oil

LipQ Liquorice & Melissa Rescue Gel also contains GA in higher concentrations along with Melissa extract.

LipQ Liquorice & Melissa Lip Gel is a recuse gel that is a little stronger than the daily balm and is designed to be used at the first tingling of a cold sore, or at any time when experiencing typical triggers for cold sores like a cold, long haul flights, increased sun exposure on foreign holidays or when the body is generally feeling run down.

Melissa oil is renowned for its strong anti-viral action. Studies show that it has a specific anti-viral effect on the herpes simplex virus*

*Phytomedicine. 2004 Nov;11(7-8):657-61. Links

Antiviral activity of the volatile oils of Melissa officinalis L. against Herpes simplex virus type-2.

Tropical Diseases Center, Faculty of Medicine, Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey.

Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) has been used in a variety of practical applications in medical science. Our objective in the current study was to determine the effects of the volatile oil components of M. officinalis on Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) replication in HEp-2 cells. Four different concentrations (25, 50, 100, 150 and 200 microg/ml) of volatile oils were examined. Experiments were carried out using HEp-2 cells. M. officinalis volatile oil was found to be non-toxic to HEp-2 cells up to a concentration of 100 micro/ml. It was, however, found to be slightly toxic at a concentration over of 100 microg/ml. The antiviral activity of non-toxic concentrations against HSV-2 was tested. The replication of HSV-2 was inhibited, indicating that the M. officinalis L. extract contains an anti-HSV-2 substance.