Herbal Treatments for Head Lice

My friend Della from Inner Journey Events suggested a blog on head lice treatment.  Since back to school time is also the time where head lice become a problem I decided to check out some more natural treatments. 

It seems that the best choice for getting rid of lice is to smother them.  Olive oil is a possibility, but even better would be coconut oil.  One of the common uses for coconut oil is to expel parasites and lice.



To use coconut oil simply melt the oil till liquid but not hot.  Massage the oil into the scalp and all throughout the hair.  Cover with a shower cap and leave on overnight.  In the morning, simply shampoo as usual making sure to get all of the oil out.  Use a lice comb to comb through the hair and remove the nits (eggs).  This treatment should be used for at least 7 days.  Not only will this get rid of the lice but it will leave the hair soft and silky. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

It is recommended to use a raw apple cider vinegar rinse after the oil.  The acidity will help to unstick the nits from the hair shafts.  To make a rinse simply combine 1-2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to 8 ounces of water.  Place in a spray bottle and apply to hair combing through.  Do not rinse off.



Lemon can also be used as a rinse for your hair.  The acid in lemon will also loosen the nits and make them easier to remove.  I am sure you can just use lemon juice for this but to me the most effective way would be to put 6 drops of essential oil in 8 ounces of water and spray on the hair.  Do not rinse off.  You can also add the same number of drops of essential oil of lemon to the carrier oil.  The carrier oil should be olive oil or coconut oil.  Other oils like sweet almond will work but with all the benefits of coconut oil I would choose it hands down.


Woody Herbs

Lavender, rosemary, thyme and tea tree oil can also be used for head lice.  Steep up some lavender, thyme or rosemary and use it as a spray rinse on the hair after shampooing.  These are also good preventatives.  

To make the infusion steep 1 tablespoon of herb to 1 cup of water.  Steep covered until the liquid has cooled.  Strain into a spray bottle and apply. 

Another way of using these oils is to place 6 drops of the essential oil in a carrier oil like coconut oil and comb through the hair.  Follow the same directions as for plain coconut oil. 

My friend at Passiflora Aromatics would be after me if I did not caution that any topical application of essential oils should be diluted with a carrier oil.  Essential oils can cause strong reactions if used undiluted.  Also some are not suitable for children.  Make sure you do the research on which ones to use.  The Herbal Academy of New England has a link on their blog here that can help. 

The use of a lice comb is necessary no matter what treatment you use.  You need to comb through the hair daily to make sure you get all the nits or the lice will reappear.  The treatment should be continued for seven days.  The reason for this is that it takes 7 days for the eggs to hatch so you want to make sure you got them all.