Monday, September 20, 2010

Essential Oils May Be Effective with Lice

Creepy crawly lice torture school-aged children. It can be hard to rationalize with kindergartners, to make them understand why they really don't want to touch their hair or scratch or share their personal hygiene products with friends.

Instead, it may be more effective to focus on prevention. Check your children regularly. Because lice can be spread person-to-person without physical contact, the USA Today article "Lice: Any kid can get 'em, so comb early, comb often" recommends 1. maintaining appropriate personal space; 2. having shorter hair, and; 3. checking your child's hair regularly.

If it's too late, however, you will want to check everyone in the house, select some kind of product to help rid the lice, and wash all clothes and furniture.

There are many products on the market, including chemical shampoos. But before you use chemicals, you may want to consider essential oils. Evidence suggests essential oils--specifically cinnamon, peppermint, and eucalyptus[1]--may effectively kill lice.

Natural Health Magazine suggests you "mix 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon leaf oil and 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint oil with four ounces of a basic shampoo. Apply to your child’s head, leave on for 20 minutes, and rinse. Don’t leave on overnight: Essential oils are too concentrated to be used for that long."*

If you have used essential oils with lice, we want to hear your story. Please post any suggestions you can share and/or essential oil recipes!

[1] Toloza AC, LucĂ­a A, Zerba E, Masuh H, Picollo MI. 2009. Eucalyptus essential oil toxicity against permethrin-resistant Pediculus humanus capitis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae). Parasitol Res. Jan;106(2):409-14. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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