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Get Rid of Lice with Natural Essential Oils


Essential Oils for Lice

According to Prof. Dr. Kosta Mumcuoglu, the lice cases are increasing every year especially among 4 – 13 aged children in developed countries.  It has proven with studies that unconsciously used lice shampoos and substances in them such as permethrin, malathion, DDT are not effective anymore (Combescot et al. 1996). What is sad that not only bacteria were becoming resistant to antibiotics as a result of the failure to produce environmentally friendly solutions but also insect gained resistance against the insect repellents. As cases of lice increased, the time to get rid of lice also extended. Not to mention that as a result of letting our children to be exposed to toxic substances in those chemical synthetic pesticides, our children’s immunity systems adversely affected. Since many pediculicide shampoo sold commercially as anti-lice are only effective against adult lice and are not equally effective to nits (lice eggs), a new infestation of lice may begin on those who use the shampoo recently even as early as 10 days and medicated shampoo must be used several times. In this respect it is very important to let the used mixtures be effective in killing both live lice and fleas (eggs).


Fortunately many researchers that adopt the policy of Hippocrates, “do no harm first”, began to research alternative methods of natural treatment for fighting against fleas as in all fields and offer the findings that will whet the appetite of even the pharmaceutical companies to the world of science. It is possible to find many familiar plants starting from basil, turmeric or miswak to plants that we have never heard before such as quassia (Quassim amara) or Cajeput (Melaleuca leucadendra) in folk remedies. I would like to share essential oils formulas which is one of the most natural and practical way possible since it will be applied on children because many essential oils were tested for their components in recent years and almost all of them yielded positive results in fighting against hair lice.

Most commonly used essential oils anciently are tea tree and lavender oil in the fight against lice, fleas or ticks however new studies enlarged this list a lot and essential oils of bergamot, chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon balm, fennel, cloves, tarragon and mint has taken its place in the list of oils that fight against them (Lawless, 1992 and Tisserand, 1989). For instance in one of the studies anise, thyme, cinnamon leaf, red thyme and tea tree essential oils externally applied to subjects in the alcohol solution and left on the hair overnight and it was determined that all of the oils being succeed in killing fleas. The researchers mentioned that the use of the same essential oils into the rinse was effective in fighting next day and brought the vinegar proposal to be used in the water instead of alcohol, if desired. When these oils are analyzed by an expert look we can think that the active ingredient that fight against them are their common features, phenols and phenolic ethers, ketones, and 1,8-cineol components (Veal,1996). Further studies conducted in the following years and almost all of them revealed very positive results. For example Lahlou et al examined the effectiveness of 24 different essential oils against lice and they found that lice exposed to pennyroyal, Morocco thyme, and the disfensia of Mexico died completely following 15 minutes of contact (Lahlou et al. 2000). Unfortunately, these oils are not the kind that can be found in common as well as there is not positive data yet on the use of children. Although I cannot recommend them to use on children, the most important aspect for me is the components that are still common in them: phenols and phenolic ethers, ketones and the 1,8-cineole.

Increased lice infestation in children attracted the attention of other researchers and especially essential oils has been the most researched alternative methods. DEET, oil mixtures and coconut oil and various essential oils researched on the effects on lice in laboratory in 2007 and it was determined that none of the researched substances including the DEET do not provide healing in a degree that can be recommended alone however all of the used essential oils are effective than DEET and tea tree have been found to exhibit both insect repellent drying property more dense degree than others (Canyon & Spear, 2007). Other findings that have nature to support this research came from Argentina and it was recorded that lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus oils are factors even in permethrin-resistant lice (Gonzalez-Audino et al. 2011). In the same year another laboratory study compared the mint, eucalyptus, lavender and orange essential oils applications both alone and together on control group and each of their effect on lice recorded. It has been found that all oils used are significant to be effective however mint oil is the most effective lice repellent with 10% application. The same study revealed that implementation of mint and eucalyptus oil mixture with yield of 10% in lotions is equivalent to the effect stated commercially available lice repellents. Again Mumcuoglu found that essential oil is a significant lice repellent with his 4-month clinical trial results of citronella including four elementary schools and nearly 200 children in Israel.

When you look at the literature certainly more can be found in numerous research. Perhaps the most striking of them is the study conducted in Australia in 2010. According to this study children who used essential oils of lavender and tea tree mix get rid of their lice as 98% while those who use mixtures containing pesticides, pyrethrin and piperonyl butoxide only had 25% of this ratio. This work by itself is very promising. Again in the same year, this time other researchers tested oils obtained from different species of eucalyptus and have shown that Eucalyptus sideroxylon, Eucalyptus globulus (the most commonly commercially available) and Eucalyptus Maideneer are most efficient genus in fighting against lice. When we look at the eucalyptus species that are effective against fighting lice and we see the most obvious common features as in the compounds 1,8 cineol and I can say that on this occasion that oils with high 1.8 cineole component can be considered an effective pediculicide and ovicide.

After sharing these preliminaries I think it is time to tell few essential oils formula and how you can get rid of lice and nits in a natural way. First, you need absolutely a lice comb, dividing your hairs into sections and combing while they are wet are one of the most important details. It will be good to use apple cider vinegar however if you cannot find it you can use any type of vinegar unless their acidity will not be more than 5%.



How Recipes and Essential Should Be Used?

– Firstly, only blend the essential oils a tiny glass bowl. Amber or dark-colored tiny glass bottles are very convenient to store the mixture of essential oils. If you can have them it will be good to have some under your hands for your future uses. You can easily blend oils and store a longer period of time from the damaging effects of sunlight in such bottles.

– First drop the oil mixture as one drop to your wrist, wait a little bit and check whether there is an allergic reaction. Especially children, elderly and those who have sensitive skin may be allergies to these essences with powerful active ingredients.

– If there is no any allergic obstacle, add the essential oils mixture to the base oil and apply it to your scalp. Tightly wrap the head with a towel and wait 1 hour.

– Wash your hair with a shampoo in which you will add 3 drops of this essential oil blend.

– Do not use fabric softener or other cosmetic products.

– Lastly prepare a rinse water with a glass of water, a cup of vinegar and one drop of rosemary essential oil and pour it on your hairs and let the vinegar mixture on your hairs without cleaning it with water.

– Dry the hair with a clean towel and comb your hairs with toothed comb on a light colored towel or sheets.

– Also, do not forget to wash the pillowcases and sheets or accessories such as hats with suitable high temperature.

– Repeat the lice repellent mixture containing essential oils in the same way in 10 days later. In this way you will prevent the lice to get your head over in case there are any eggs remained.

– Definitely drop 5-6 drops of essential oils blend to your shampoo that you regularly use. This will be enough to prevent lice in the long term. If the smell of the mixture overwhelms, it will be enough to prevent lice by itself.

– If you ask what are the base oils that are mentioned in the formula are; coconut, olive oil, castor oil or miswak oils are diluent oils that are suitable in terms of the components.

– The recipes are essential oils recipes that are diluted to 10% in the base oil. If you may want to apply this application just for protective purposes only after getting rid of lice, then it will be enough to drop just 1 drop essential oils to equally base oil for 1% dilution. You can have your desired dilute by adhering to these rates.

Lice 3

Anti-Lice Recipes and Mixtures I

15 ml of base oil
10 drops of peppermint essential oil
10 drops of lavender essential oil
10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

Anti-Lice Recipes and Mixtures II

15 ml of base oil
10 drops of lavender essential oil
10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops of cinnamon essential oil
2 drops of thyme essential oil
3 drops of rosemary essential oil

Anti-Lice Recipes and Mixtures III

15 ml of base oil
10 drops of tea tree essential oil
10 drops of cinnamon essential oil
5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
2 drops of thyme essential oil
3 drops of lavender

Anti-Lice Recipes and Mixtures IV

15 ml of base oil
15 drops of clove essential oil
15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

Essential Oils Mixture that Relax the Scalp

If there are irritation and inflammatory conditions in the scalp due to lice bite, then following formula will help in the healing and for the itching sensation. You can leave this mixture on your scalp overnight or you can wash it after an hour you apply it to your hairs.

10 ml coconut oil
10 drops of lavender
5 drops of German chamomile essential oils
5 drops of geranium – Pelargonium graveolens

It will be worth to note, lice is not a contamination indicator. It may happen to any child regardless of which school your children go or how distinguished friends he or she has. The methods described herein will be enough to clear these pests quickly without scarring your children and prevent the happening of them again.

Stay Healthy!

Those who have any health risk, pregnant women, those who breastfeeding and children under 5 years of age are not recommended to use some of these mixtures without consulting a physician.


Başer, H., Buchbauer, K. (2010). Handbook of essential oils: Science, technology, and applications. Boca Raton: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.
Buckle, J. (2003). Clinical aromatherapy: Essential oils in practice (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone.
Lahlou M, Berrada R, Agoumi A, et al. 2000. The potential effectiveness of essential oils in the control of human head lice in Morocco. International Journal of Aromatherapy. 10(3/4) 108-123.
Veal L. 1996.The potential effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for headlice,
Pediculus humanus capitis. Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery. 2(4)



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