Healing Herb Calendula

Healing Herb Calendula
One of my favourite medicinal herbs, this calendula flower was visited by a bee when I snapped it at the Lismore Community Garden.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Head Lice - Natural Remedy That Really Works

I've recently seem websites with some concerning information about headlice treatments. There are hair salons in the U.S. where it costs $30 to $50 for "nitpickers" to remove eggs from hair, and it costs a lot more for home visits. There is a belief that no product can effectively kill/remove the eggs (nits). The same websites accurately express concern about the dangers of using cumulative poisons on our children's heads.
In our herbal dispensary we have developed some simple headlice management strategies which are totally effective, natural, and inexpensive. Many years ago we sold a proprietary product, relatively low toxicity with orange extract and a low-grade pesticide. It was very popular in the area, where we have a significant population of "alternative lifestyle" people, being near Nimbin in Australia. Our customers preferred a non-chemical low toxicity product. Soon we had people coming back saying "it doesn't work". Well, often it did work, but clearly not for everyone. After ascertaining that an unhappy customer had in fact applied it properly, we decided to do our own research to find a natural treatment which would work.
We came up with a blend of rosemary and sassafras essential oils. The rosemary kills the lice, and the sassafras kills the eggs. It really does! Try putting a drop of rosemary oil in a container with a live louse (first catch one!), and you'll find it won't survive.
Why is it that my head is now incredibly itchy, just writing this!
Our formula worked really well. We have dispensed many litres of it over the last 15 years. In small bottles that is. As we found out years ago, we quickly are told if a headlice remedy doesn't work. We have many repeat customers, who tell us that it does the trick. No-one has ever told us that it failed.
How To Use:
It is recommended to apply a small amount of the oil to the hair and scalp, within a few inches of the scalp. It isn't necessary to apply to the ends of long hair, as the critters need the warmth of the scalp to survive. It can be applied to wet or dry hair. Leave on a few hours, or overnight, and shampoo out. Repeat after 3-4 days. Very occasionally, a third application is needed.
The issue about the nitpicking: It can be beneficial to remove the nits. A simple remedy is to use vinegar on the hair, close to the scalp. The eggs are bonded to the hair shaft with a sticky glue (clever, aren't they?) and the vinegar dissolves this. Then comb out with a very fine-toothed comb. By the way, eggs that are flat and almost transparent are dead. You will normally find these after using the essential oil treatment.
I don't know of the regulatory status of sassafras oil in the U.S. It is often restricted because an ingredient can be extracted from it to make an illegal drug. I have no idea how to do this! In Australia, I believe it is illegal to use more than 2% sassafras oil in a product, but fortunately it is effective at this strength.
A warning, I do NOT recommend it be used by pregnant women.
Aargh! My head is still itching, and I don't have nits!!
Till next time, wishing you good health,


  1. head lice is small insects living on the head. Mm, and some are brown. Sun live animals.

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