It's a National Bug Busting Day today.


Herbalists recommend a rinse with Quassia to get rid of headlice
Every so often a patient asks me how to get rid of headlice. Usually it's their children that have them and keep getting them, but sometimes it's an adult. 

Regular wet combing with a nit comb as advised in the above link will certainly help, but sometimes they can persistent. One primary school teacher had headlice for almost a year and was at her wits end when she finally came to see me.  

So what can you do to get rid of headlice? 

First of all - do the regular wet combing. You have to do it regularly because you are working to remove adult lice from your head. Make sure you use a nit comb - an ordinary comb does not have fine enough teeth to capture the lice.

What else can you do?

There are a number of essential oils that usually help. For a simple treatment, wash you hair and put your normal amount of shampoo in your hand and add one drop of tea tree oil. Use this shampoo and oil mixture to wash your hair. Then wet comb as usual. 
Repeat this treatment daily for 3 -4 days or until you no longer find live lice. 
Then repeat after 7 days. Keep doing this until you no longer have any lice hatching. 
But sometimes this is not sufficient. Sometimes you need other oils. 

An alternative to essential oils is to rinse your hair with Quassia chips. Quassia chips look like bits of wood but they are medicinal. 
 Quassia chips 

Boil a small handful in a saucepan of water for 10 - 15 minutes, and then allow it to go cold. Strain the chips and use the water to rinse your hair, or your child's hair. Just make sure you don't use this too hot and scald either yourself or you child. Leaving it to go cold will avoid this, and cold liquid on your head does no harm. You can keep the chips and re-use them a few days later to make another batch of the rinse. Rinse your hair every 4 days until the lice are all dead. It usually only takes 1 -2 treatments, but occasionally it takes more. Comb your hair with a nit comb and remove the dead and dying lice.

Extra tip: Dip your nit comb in hot vinegar as you comb through your hair. This helps to dislodge the nits (eggs) that have been glued to your hair by the female louse. Getting rid of the eggs (nits) helps to make sure no more lice hatch. Again make sure you don't burn your head with a hot comb! 

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