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Head Lice. Essential Oils & Formula to Kill the Lice

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Treat Head lice with essential oils.

* A number of essential oils have been shown to be effective—along with combing—in eliminating head lice. Before you use any essential oil, put a small drop on the back of your child’s hand. It is pretty rare, but some kids have allergic reactions to these oils—usually tea tree oil. If your child is allergic to one, move on to the next oil on the list. The oils that have shown effectiveness are:

Head Lice Comb link

Mix 2 ounces of olive oil with 15 to 20 drops of the essential oil. Apply to the scalp using cotton balls. Leave this mixture on the scalp and hair overnight—at least 12 hours. Comb out and shampoo, rinse, and repeat. An alternative approach is to mix the 15 to 20 drops of essential oil in 4 ounces of rubbing alcohol. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and saturate the hair with it. Again, leave it on for at least 12 hours. Once the lice have been eliminated, the alcohol spray can be used as a preventive treatment.

Remember—combing out the hair is absolutely essential to remove the lice! 

* Credit for this information: Article Resource

  • Head Lice: Smothering vs Lice Treatment Shampoos. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 2005:24-.
  • Barker SC, Altman PM. A randomised, assessor blind, parallel group comparative efficacy trial of three products for the treatment of head lice in children—melaleuca oil and lavender oil, pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide, and a "suffocation" product. BMC Dermatology 2010;10:6-.
  • Yarnell E. Essential Oils against Lice. Quarterly Review of Natural Medicine 1998:33.
  • Veal L. The potential effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for headlice, Pediculus humanus capitis. Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery 1996;2:97-101.
  • Thawornchaisit P, Amornsak W, Mahannop P, et al. Combined Neem Oil 6% w/w and Eucalyptus Oil 16% w/w Lotion for Treating Head Lice: In Vitro and In Vivo Efficacy Studies. Journal of Pharmacy Practice & Research 2012;42:189-92.
  • Choi H-Y, Yang Y-C, Lee SH, Clark JM, Ahn Y-J. Efficacy of spray formulations containing binary mixtures of clove and eucalyptus oils against susceptible and pyrethroid/ malathion-resistant head lice (Anoplura: Pediculidae). Journal of Medical Entomology 2010;47:387-91.