Natural Head Lice Treatment

LIFECYCLE

The life cycle of lice is about a month. The lice eggs or ‘nits’ are attached to the hair close to the scalp and are very hard to remove.

  • Day 1: eggs laid
  • Days 6-8: Eggs hatch into nymphs
  • Days 8-17: Nymphs moult 3 times
  • Days 17-19: Nymphs mature into breeding adults
  • Days 19-35: Breeding females lay 5-10 eggs a day
  • Days 33-35: Adult lice die

CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT PROBLEMS

Excerpts from a letter by a head lice consultant

I am a head lice consultant and treat children and adults for head lice every day. To begin with we tried head lice treatments but found a number of problems:

  • The head lice were not dying from the treatment and continued to breed without any ramifications from the chemicals.
  • Some of the children we treated had devastating side effects to the treatment including asthma, coughing fits, burning, blistering and in some cases scaring not to mention long-term health risks.
  • I have found that head lice often feed at the time of treatment and combing is less successful as the louse is attached to the scalp.

I decided to research these chemicals and was horrified by the finding. The NPA reported overwhelming health risk to mainly children and reports of leukaemia became evident.
I have seen horrific scarring from kerosene, petrol and other poisons even from those sold over the counter.
I have not yet found a chemical solution that kills the tiny eggs (nits).
Chemicals are poisons and not worth risking our children’s lives. Before using dangerous harmful chemicals that seep through the scalp and into the blood stream consider alternative non chemical treatments.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS

Wet Combing
wet combingOver and over I hear that ‘wet combing’ is the most effective solution for getting rid of head lice. All you need is conditioner, a metal head lice comb, a regular comb if you have long hair, and some tissue.

  1. Apply enough conditioner on dry hair to thoroughly cover the entire scalp and hair
  2. Separate the hair into manageable sections using the hair clips
  3. Working one section at a time open a section and take out a VERY small section of hair from the bottom of the section
  4. Place the teeth of the lice comb as close to the root as possible and pull the lice comb through the full length of the hair, from the root to the tip
  5. Check the comb and wipe on a tissue after every pass
  6. Inspect all sides of the small section of hair for nits or live lice remaining, once clear, take another small section and repeat till that section is done, then clip up the clear section
  7. Work around the head clearing up each section concentrating on the hot spots (the areas behind the ears and the nape of the neck)
  8. When all sections are completed, remove hair clips and use the lice comb to comb through the entire thickness of hair
  9. After thorough combing and inspection, rinse out the conditioner
  10. Follow this procedure every 3 days for two weeks or until you have combed out twice without finding evidence of lice and or nits
  11. Wash all towels and dry in hot dryer, and wash and soak tools in soapy water or idealy boil them.
  12. Change all bed linen, wash hats, coats, teddy bears etc. and place anything you can’t wash in a sealed bag for 2 weeks

Oils
essentialoilsYou need to saturate the scalp and then comb the hair using the wet combing method.

Tea tree is the essential oil everyone talks about for head lice, but there are several others that work too, and blended together there is a synergistic (co-operative) effect. Do not use essential oils straight to saturate the scalp, they are too strong.

Recipes I’ve found include:

  • tea tree mixed in a carrier oil
  • essential oils (2-3%), and an Indian oil called neem, mixed in a carrier oil.
  • 3 drops each of Bergamot, Geranium, and lavender to 25ml of carrier oil.
  • Repellant mix: camphor, citronella, cypress, pine, cedarwood and some Quassia wood tincture diluted

Quassia Wood Chip
quasiaIt seems the Quassia tree poisons insects and is used as an insecticide amongst other things
Boil the wood chips in water for about 20 mins, drain and use the water as a final rinse when washing the hair. The lice don’t die immediately, but not only does it kill the lice but it kills the eggs too. You still need to remove the dead eggs but they don’t hatch.
You can keep a solution made up in a spray bottle. Any sign of nits in the school and a couple of squirts on the hair twice a week is all that is needed.

Vinegar/Cola/Mouthwash

apple cider vinegarVinegar will not kill adult head lice, it simply lacks the properties to do so. The acid contained in vinegar might kill nymphs, though. The real power behind vinegar is its ability to dissolve the glue which fixes the nit to the hair, making it possible to easily remove the nits which is otherwise so hard to do.

The process for a vinegar lice treatment is very simple:

  1. use pure vinegar to unglue the nits from the hair shaft. You should apply pure vinegar to your child’s hair, especially close to the scalp, behind the ears and in the neck area. Then, wait for a few minutes
  2. you should now rinse off the vinegar with water or 50% water/50%vinegar
  3. follow with the wet combing method

Suffocation
oliveoilVarious methods include oil, vaseline, even mayonnaise.

  1. smother the head and hair with your chosen product and massage in well
  2. cover head with clingfilm, a bag, or anything air proof
  3. tape into place and cover with a swim cap to be sure it stays
  4. leave overnight
  5. comb as wet method in the morning

Garlic
garlicAmong the varying ways to kill head lice is antibiotics. Antibiotics such as (Bactrim or Septrin) are sometimes prescribed as a second line treatment for head lice. The belief is that the bacteria in the gut of the lice, which are essential for the digestion of nutrients, are killed when the lice feed on the blood of a person taking this antibiotic. They then starve to death. However, this method may cause future use of antibiotics to lose their effectiveness. The reason why garlic is so effective for the treatment of Head Lice is its ability to act the same way as a prescribed antibiotics without the side effects.
High Potency garlic oil (3000mg x 3 per day) can kill and prevent Head lice. Treatment usually takes two weeks to complete and to break the cycle of Head Lice. Continue to use as a preventative.

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