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Blog | A World Of Herbs & Natural Remedies | The Herb Clinic

 

Discover the world of herbs and natural remedies on our blog. Stay up to date on the latest research and news about herbs on theherbclinic.co.uk.

How To Deter & Treat Head Lice Naturally | The Herb Clinic

Ginny Kemp

 

Head lice are little whitish or brown/grey insects that live in hair and Nits are the eggs that the lice hatch from. They commonly affect children aged 4-11.

 

Whilst they are generally harmless, head lice can cause scalp irritation and live a long time if they aren’t treated. It is the presence of lice in the hair that shows there’s an infestation, other signs include little white ‘nits’ attached firmly to hairs, a rash on the back of the neck or an Itchy scalp.

 

As always, prevention is better than cure, so the ideal is to to minimize chances of a lice infestation by:

- Tying long hair up while at school or with other children.

- Regular brushing.

- Once a week or so do a quick nit check. Look behind the ears, under the fringe and at the nape of the neck and ideally comb with a fine-toothed nit comb.

- Put a drop of lavender onto your child’s hairbrush before using it in the mornings. This may help deter the lice from climbing into your child’s hair.

- If head lice are doing the rounds at school/nursery then use a tea tree, neem or quassia shampoo once a week and spray your child’s head with a Quassia rinse or tincture every other day before they leave the house.

 

 Regular combing with a fine tooth comb can help prevent infestation.

Regular combing with a fine tooth comb can help prevent infestation.

If you find lice or nits:

Wash the hair with a tea tree or neem shampoo and then apply a tea tree conditioner. The conditioner stops the lice from moving around so whilst it is in, comb the hair in sections with a fine tooth nit comb to remove as many of the lice and nits as you can. Wipe any lice/nits off the comb as you go and go over the whole head twice. Rinse the conditioner out and then follow with a quassia bark rinse (see below).

Repeat this every 2 to 3 days for 2 weeks to kill all the lice and ensure than any remaining eggs have been removed/hatched.

It is wise to check the whole family for lice if one of you has them.

 

 Quassia Bark can be used to make a rinse or tincture to kill head lice

Quassia Bark can be used to make a rinse or tincture to kill head lice

 

Make your own: Quassia Bark Rinse

To make the rinse, add a good handful of quassia bark chips (available from a herbalist or local health food store) to a litre of boiling water and leave to soak overnight. Strain, then put into a bottle or container. Stored in the fridge it will last for about a week. Spray onto head using a spray bottle and leave in if possible. It doesn’t smell unpleasant but you can add a drop or two of lavender to the bottle to give it a scent. If you prefer to make a tincture, this has a longer shelf life. I suggest using 1 part dried bark to 5 parts alcohol and steeping for at least 2 weeks.

 

 Tea tree oil can be added to shampoos, conditioners and olive oil

Tea tree oil can be added to shampoos, conditioners and olive oil

Blend your own tea tree and coconut shampoo/conditioner

 You can buy a coconut shampoo and add your own tea tree oil at 60 drops of tea tree oil per 100ml of shampoo. Alternatively, you can add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to the shampoo in your hand just before you apply it to your child’s scalp. You can do the same to make up a tea tree conditioner.

 

Essential oil treatment

Essential oils of eucalyptus, lavender, tea tree and rosemary can be used in a base of olive oil at 1 drop per ml. Make up 20-50ml oil depending on length of hair. Massage in, leave over night and rinse.

 

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