Essential oils for Head Lice

Head lice are wingless flat insects which infest the hair, laying eggs and feeding on human blood from the scalp. They are between 2 and 4mm in length and the eggs, known as nits, attach to the hair near the scalp and hatch every seven to eight days. Essential oils can be used to treat head lice, but as National Health Service Direct Wales, a Welsh health advice and information service says, "Sometimes complementary therapy treatments such as tea tree oil are recommended for treating head lice, but their effectiveness has not yet been proven".

Why Use Essential Oils to Treat Head Lice?

Although not scientifically proven to be effective against head lice, anecdotal reports suggest that essential oils do work, and they do not contain industrial chemicals and insecticides employed by some proprietary brands of head lice treatment. Lice are also known to show some resistance to the insecticide treatments, which is why parents of children with head lice are turning to natural alternatives.

Wet Combing

Wet combing has been shown to be the most effective method of removing all eggs and lice from hair. However it is time consuming and must be repeated daily to ensure that the infestation is completely cleared. This is fine if you have a child who is content to sit still for half an hour to an hour having a comb run repeatedly through his hair. However some children dislike this and find it hard to keep still and not complain. Treatment with essential oil helps may cut down on combing time.

Which Oils to Use

There are around half a dozen essential oils which have proved effective against lice. These are, cinnamon leaf, eucalyptus, tea tree, geranium, spike lavender, rosemary and thyme. The most effective are judged to be tea tree and eucalyptus.

According to Mama Herb, "Mix your shampoo with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil and 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil. Apply this combination into the hair. Wear a tight-fitting shower cap. Wash off after an hour". If the skin has been irritated by the bites, add 2 drops of chamomile to the mix to soothe the skin. The combination of tea tree and eucalyptus oil is thought to either suffocate the lice, or numb them sufficiently to make them easy to comb out.

To avoid overuse of the oils, occasionally substitute thyme or rosemary for tea tree oil and lavender or geranium for eucalyptus. However, if there is a history of epilepsy, avoid using rosemary essential oil as it has been known to cause seizures.


Never apply any essential oils neat to a child's head. If your child has sensitive skin, add one drop of tea tree, one drop of eucalyptus and one drop of chamomile to a golf ball sized dollop of conditioner and use after a normal shampoo, making sure to comb all the lice out afterward.

After Care

"The best way to prevent head lice spreading is to check your whole family's heads regularly and treat them as soon as live lice are found", notes Bupa, a healthcare company based in the U.K. Once the infestation has been dealt with, add one drop of tea tree to your usual shampoo once a week as a precaution.

what are essential oils?

Even though essential oils have been around for thousands of years, we can enjoy the direct benefits of using essential oils today; through healing properties occurring naturally through the extracted plant substance.

What Are Essential OilsEssential oils have been recorded throughout history to be used to enhance spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health. The Egyptians were referenced as using cinnamon, myrrh, sandalwood, and frankincense as early as 4500 BC. Scholars in India developed the science of Ayurveda around 3000 BC. These people relied on essential oils in potions using some of today’s favorites, such as ginger and cinnamon.

The use of essential oils for remedies of ailments was recorded by Chinese scholars between 2067 and 2597 BC. However, probably the most common place we read about essential oils is in the Bible. Essential oils are mentioned over two hundred times in the New Testament and Old Testament of the Bible.

how do essential oils work?

If you are a beginner to essential oils, there are three primary ways essential oils enter the body: applied to the skin, inhaled, or ingested. When choosing the right method to use essential oils, always keep in mind the desired result you are wanting and then determine the best application for use. Essential oils can enter the body by being applied to the skin. This method can vary from using a compress, gargling, bath or even massage. It requires several drops of essential oils to be used topically in some manner. It is important to note that most essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin without being diluted.

While people inhale and diffuse essential oils for a variety of reasons, it has been shown that inhalation is most effective and best suited to treat a variety of respiratory complaints. Ingestion of essential oils has had much controversy, I suggest you do the proper research yourself and use safe practices. Cases of death, organ failure and hospitalization in the history of aromatherapy have been caused by ingesting essential oils.

Why Diffuse Essential Oils

benefits of essential oils

Essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These healing oils are rapidly growing in popularity because they act as natural medicine without side effects. In fact, Clove essential oil is so useful as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic that it has been approved for use as a dental anesthetic by the American Dental Association. It is excellent when included in mouthwash recipes, particularly if you suffer from sore, inflamed gums.

While people traditionally see a doctor for an illness and get a prescription drug, many others have awoken to the fact that essential oils can be used in a powerful way, when it comes to healing and supporting the body’s emotional and physical well-being. The biggest question is what oil will work for my body the best. Because we are not all the same, essential oils do not function the same for each of us. If you are looking for a way to reduce the number of chemicals you use in your home, making your own products with essential oils is an excellent choice.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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