Head Lice are a common problem, especially in school children between the ages of 4 to 11 years. The lice are relatively harmless but can be irritating and frustrating to deal with if they live in the hair for a long time without treatment. They walk from head to head, during physical contact.
If they become detached from the head they are vulnerable, and their eggs need to be kept warm, so children are unlikely to catch head lice from bedding or from the backs of chairs. Head lice usually feed on blood every five hours; if they’re removed from the head, they quickly start to become very weak and die. They are extremely difficult to spot because they camouflage well in the hair varying in colour from whitish to grey-brown. They can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a sesame seed.
One of the ways to confirm if a child has head lice is to find a live louse by combing their hair with a special fine-toothed comb called a nit comb which you can buy from your local pharmacy. Detection combing can be done on dry or wet hair. Dry combing takes less time, but wet combing is more accurate because washing with a conditioner stops head lice from moving.
Other signs of Head Lice:
- Small white eggs or nits (egg cases) in the hair behind the ears or at the back of the neck.
- An itchy scalp.
- A rash on the back of the neck.
- Feeling as though something is moving in the hair.
Treating Head Lice Homeopathically and Naturally:
Homeopathy has a different approach, we are looking at why the child would have ‘susceptibility’ or weakness of having a lice infestation in the first place. Our philosophy reinforces the understanding that if a child is constitutionally healthy and well then they will be more naturally resistant to a lice infestation. It is important to look at diet, as an acidic diet full of refined carbohydrates (now common), lots of sugar and processed foods can lead to a destruction of the natural bio flora that governs the intestines and the immune system.
A homeopath would generally want to take the child’s case and give a good remedy that matches the overall condition of the child’s health so that we strengthen any weaknesses in their emotional and physical body systems.
Physical Supports for Head Lice
Alongside the homeopathy, of course, you still need to be practical and thorough at getting rid of the current crop of lice on your child’s head. You could use olive oil at a pinch but cold-pressed almond oil is good too. To this base, add a few drops each of 2 or 3 essential oils such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary, geranium, lemon and ylang yang. If you can, please do use the tea tree as one of the oils as it is excellent at repelling the lice. The essential oils go straight into the bloodstream and can be very powerful, so make sure you only use a drop or two and patch test first if needed.
So, mix up your oils and base oil and then smother the hair with it. Really smother it. Then wrap the head in glad wrap (not tightly) and this both helps to keep the oil from dribbling too much but also helps to trap the heat and smother the lice. The base oil will suffocate the lice but you need to leave it on for about 4 hours minimum. For best results when we have allocated a whole 8 hours to having this concoction on the hair, but that may not be possible with a young one. If you take it off before about 4 hours, the lice will only have been ‘sleeping’ not fully suffocated and the whole process won’t be as effective.
For the next two weeks, put a dab of tea tree oil behind both ears on the way to school and comb with lice comb every night after school. Tea tree oil is both repellent and seems to make the lice slow and very sleepy, so even if they come into contact with more lice, the little beasties will be easy to comb out. The cycle of two weeks is imperative so that any eggs that may have been missed and subsequently hatched will be caught and removed immediately. This will break the cycle. Wash the pillow slip and sheets daily during this time and any soft toys that the child has had in their bed at night will go in the wash and sun or else enclosed for 3 weeks in a black plastic rubbish bag to kill the cycle of lice.
If you are unsure of which remedy or dosage to take, it’s best to consult with a homeopathic practitioner. For chronic recurring head lice conditions, this requires a constitutional approach that must be done so with fully qualified homeopaths who have had the professional training in prescribing for chronic conditions.
Homeopathy offers support in restoring our body’s balance, health, and vitality. You must seek professional advice from a fully qualified registered homeopath or your GP to ensure you are receiving the best possible treatment to help support you, make sure you visit a homeopath for guidance.
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Adapted from Sources:
Lee-Ann McCall from The Healing Haven Homeopathic Dispensary.
The College of Practical Homeopathy