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Olive Oil Treatment: Get Rid of Head Lice Naturally

Posted Feb 15 2012 12:00am
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Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis)

Image via Wikipedia

Well, it has happened.  My daughter’s best friend had head lice, which of course puts my family at high risk for contracting this parasite.  I immediately reread Jessica Gottlieb’s post  Head Lice (Leave Mommy alone, She’s Shaking in the Corner)  and sent my kids to school with tea tree oil sprinkled in their hair.

Head lice causes many natural families to resort to chemicals, but you don’t need to.  There are a lot of weird things people try in order to get rid of it (mayonnaise, kerosene [do not try this!].  The most common over the counter solutions are pediculicide containing shampoo, which Pediatrics call non-toxic. Other lice remedies contain the neurotoxins permethrin, pyrethrin, or malathion.  Even though pyrethrin and permethrin  are naturally-derived from chrysanthemum flowers, its use should be avoided in children for obvious reasons.  Furthermore, head lice is becoming resistant to these chemical, toxic solutions.

According to  Harvard Medical School :

Head lice are tiny insects that go by the big name Pediculus humanus capitis. They thrive in the warm tangle of human hair, feeding off blood in the scalp and breeding with abandon. A female lays eggs called nits that she attaches to strands of hair. Nits hatch after about eight days, become adults in another week or so, feed for awhile, then begin to make more lice.

What to do

First off, here’s what not to do: don’t shave your or your child’s head, or coat it with petroleum jelly or mayonnaise or anything else designed to “suffocate” the parasite. You’ll probably end up with greasy, smelly, lice-infested hair…

If you are worried about chemicals, don’t ignore the value of a nit comb. A study published in the  British Medical Journal in 2005  showed that combing out the hair with a fine-toothed comb (the “Bug Buster”) immediately after using conditioner worked better than a single treatment of an over-the-counter insecticide.

You can get rid of head lice naturally.  It just takes repeated, vigilant practice.  Follow these steps:

Be sure you check everyone in your family and treat accordingly.

Olive oil works to suffocate the adult bugs.  It can be reapplied without worrying about toxicity, and it works on bugs that would be resistant and thus unresponsive to repeated chemical applications.

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