Herbal treatments and essential oils

Some activity against lice and their eggs has been identified in vitro, and in uncontrolled studies, both for essential oils and their constituent terpenoids.12, 30-33

We found no systematic reviews, RCTs, or cohort studies evaluating herbal treatments or essential oils for head lice, and no evidence of drawbacks, although a potential for toxic effects has been recognised for several essential oils.30

Herbal and other alternative therapies have become more popular with the general public, despite a lack of evidence for efficacy in this application. Although terpenoids are a major constituent of the active component of some registered products, most alternative therapies use these chemicals at low concentrations to reduce the risk of side-effects. However, such low doses will inevitably select for resistant strains of lice and some resistance to terpenoids has already been observed in the UK (IF Burgess, unpublished).

What is the best method for diagnosing louse infection?

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