Mother hunting for headlice, a painting by Jan Siberechts
It had been for about a month, my 6 years old daughter was haunted by her itchy hair. Two weeks ago, my wife discovered that it was head lice grew in my daughter's hair. All of my family's member then also got infected, me, my wife, and my 4 years old son.
Because my wife was going to use anti mosquitoes lotion to put on my daughter's hair, I remember a story when I was at young age. Story about 10 years old girl that suddenly died, shortly after using anti mosquitoes spray to get rid of her head lice. I then forbade my wife to use the lotion, and started to googling all natural treatment for head lice in the internet.
What do I got? Most informations I got in the top page of my Google result, were more than useless informations, because most of the writers did not experince by himself, only gatherred some informations on the internet. How to treat human head lice has been debated and studied for centuries. That was trully the fact of my Google result's conclusion.
What is Louse?
According to book 11 page 115 of Encyclopedia International by Clarence J. Hylander. Louse, a common name for many species of small, flat-bodied, wingless insects that lead exclusively parasitic lives. The bitting, or chewing, lice of order Mallophaga are mostly external parasites of birds, although a few species parasitize mammals. Lice mouth parts are modified for chewing. They feed on bits of feathers, hair and skin.
Lice are transmitted from one host to another by contact. Occasionally these lice may be picked up by man as a result of handling infested animals, but they do not remain on the human body. Common species are the body louse, Menacanthus stramineus, and the shaft louse, Menopon gallinae, both parasites of chickens.
The sucking lice, of order Anoplura, have mouth parts modified into protrusible needlelike structures that pierce the host organism's skin, and suck its blood. Sucking lice are external parasites of mammals. Included in the order is Pediculus humanus, the human body louse, which infests hair and clothing.
Louse is spread by promiscuous use of combs, brushes, and headgear. Other related species are spread by contact with infested clothing and bedding. Adult human body lice are managed to transmit typhus fever, European relapsing fever, and trench fever (which reached epidemic proportions among soldiers during World War I).
Louse infestations may appear through unhygienic living conditions, especially when there is little opportunity for thorough bathing. But it is possible for you to get infected eventhough you had been already living hygienically. Lice infestations are controlled by dusting affected individual with dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane (DDT), and by fumigating or sterilizing their clothing.
Using lice comb
Head lice infestations can be controlled by using this lice comb, and regular hair washes.
Vinegar, Vaseline, and Mayonnaise
I do not recommend you to use it, because many scientists had already doubted about the treatment using above ingredients. I do not dare to apply vinegar to my daughter's hair. Vaseline and mayonnaise to be left on your hair overnight? I laugh instantly after reading the article. Why? You may find hard to remove Vaseline from your children's hair after all night day. Mayonnaise may turn poisonous when it is not refrigerated. Your children may scratch their head while sleeping, and then put their fingers to their mouth.
Garlic had been used as an antiseptic, and Louis Pasteur was the first who reported the antibacterial, and antifungal properties of garlic. But I did not get a chance to try it, after my daughter, and my whole family member were finally managed to get rid of head lice using other method.
So, what was my way to get rid of head lice in my family? I only use these 2 products for hair and head scalp treatment:
I was surprised to see above Indonesian original product had already been sold at Amazon.com. I've been used Minyak Kayu Putih from several famous brands in Indonesia since I was a child. Back then my mom used a brand from Cap Gajah in which made by its original factory in Surabaya, East Java.
When my 1st daughter was just a baby, I used a brand from Konicare for Minyak Kayu Putih, and Minyak Telon. No matter what brands you choose, as long as it contains 100% cajuput (Melaleuca leucadendra) oil. The name
cajuput is derived from its Indonesian name,
kayu putih, which translate in English as
There are many benefits you might get by using Minyak Kayu Putih, such as, helps to relieve muscle aches, abdominal pain, flatulence, nausea, and itching from insect bites.
When I got itching in my head at night, I directly applied several drops of it to my head scalp and back of my neck. Sometimes I found a louse pop out from beneath the back of my neck's skin. When I put the louse on the floor and dropped it with Minyak Kayu Putih, it reacted like the oil was hurting it, and for several minutes, the louse stopped moving and died.
It was such a coincidence that I bought this shampoo last month, in which I never used it before. My family had started to use it for about 2 weeks from now, and after I read its ingredients, it consists of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil.
Tea tree oil is usually used by applying to the skin for acne, fungal infections of the nail (onychomycosis), lice, scabies, athlete's foot (tinea pedis), and ringworm. Tea tree oil has benefits as local antiseptic for cuts and abrasions, for burns, insect bites and stings, boils, vaginal infections, recurrent herpes labialis, toothache, infections of the mouth and nose, sore throat, and for ear infections such as otitis media and otitis externa. Some people add it to bath water to treat cough, bronchial congestion, and pulmonary inflammation.
Although my daugther always washed her hair twice a day using shampoo for kids, the lice would not be vanished. But, after my wife used above shampoo for adult, and added three drops of Minyak Kayu Putih Cap Lang to wash my daughter's hair, twice a day for three days, my daughter head lice were totally vanished.
- All images are from Wikimedia.org and Amazon.com.
- Encyclopedia International by Clarence J. Hylander, Author, The World of Plant Life; Insects on Parade.
- Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics,
Head Lice Clinical Report by Barbara L. Frankowski, MD, MPH & Joseph A. Bocchini Jr, MD
- Tea tree oil: MedlinePlus Supplements