Tea Tree Oil Safe Treatment for Lice

Essential oils are becoming a popular method to deal with childhood head lice.The pesticide treatments commonly used contain toxins that pose serious health threats. Because the scalp has many blood vessels close to the skin, these toxic substances are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Pesticide treatments which are commonly used to repel lice contain toxins that pose serious health threats. Because the scalp has many blood vessels close to the skin, these toxic substances are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Harmful side effects from chemical lice treatments include nervous system damage, convulsions, seizures, nausea, vomiting, headaches, mental confusion and even death. To make matters worse, these pesticides are becoming less effective as lice are developing a resistance to them. This often leads to repeated treatments. The additional exposure adds to the potential harm.
Head lice are highly contagious and very common among children. Because certain essential oils are highly effective against lice, there is absolutely no reason to expose children to dangerous pesticide treatment.
Laboratory tests (Veal 1996) show the essential oils of aniseed, cinnamon leaf, red thyme, tea tree, peppermint, nutmeg and oregano to be effective in killing live lice and their eggs. Other essential oils used to repel lice include lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, juniper berry, bergamot, clary sage, and lemongrass.
Tea tree oil may be the best choice for several reasons. Tea tree oil was found to be 93% effective against killing adult lice and 83% effective in killing their eggs. It is generally safe and is one of the only essential oils that can be used neat (undiluted) on the skin (in small amounts.) Tea tree oil can be used on children as young as one year old. Tea tree oil is so versatile that it should be on hand in every household. Having it on hand for other uses will prevent having to search for ingredients when dealing with a lice infestation that requires prompt action.
Many of the essential oils listed above should not be used on children. It is important to check safety data before using any essential oil. Oregano oil and red thyme oil should not be used at all. All essential oils, including tea tree should only be used by children on an "as needed" basis, and must be properly diluted.
Essential oils can be used both to rid the scalp of lice when an infestation is present and as a preventative measure when there is a potential threat.
To rid the scalp of lice the essential oils must be diluted in a vegetable oil or alcohol. Vegetable oil may be the best choice for smothering lice and to soothe scalp that may be sore or itchy from infestation.
Olive oil or vodka is fine if you have it on hand. Sweet almond oil, jojoba or grape seed oil are other good choices.
4 TBS (2oz) vegetable oil (or vodka)
1 tsp castor oil (optional)
20 drops tea tree oil
Blend well. Have child sit on a chair in the bathtub. Apply mixture to scalp and hair. Use only the necessary amount to make sure entire scalp and hair is coated. Cover with plastic shower cap. Leave on for several hours. Then wash and condition hair. Comb hair thoroughly with nit comb. Then rinse hair with the following rinse.
FINAL RINSE
1-quart warm water
¼ cup cider vinegar
2-5 drops tea tree oil
Shake well to disperse essential oil. Pour over clean hair. Do not rinse out. When hair dries, saturate a nit comb with tea tree oil and re-comb.
LAUNDRY
Lice can remain alive for up to 72 hours after they have left the human host. Re-infestation can occur if lice remain on pillows, bed linen, combs, clothes and towels. Completely wash all clothing and bedding. One teaspoon of tea tree oil can be added to each wash load. A few drops can be added to a washcloth and placed in the dryer with clothes and bedding. Dry on hottest setting available.
SHAMPOO
During the weeks following lice infestation use the following shampoo formula. Add 2-4 drops of tea tree oil to your normal amount of shampoo for one use. Leave shampoo in for five minutes before rinsing out. Finish with final rinse. Comb with nit comb.
PREVENTATIVE MEASURES
To prevent lice from infesting your child's hair, especially if there is a potential threat, several precautions can be taken. The shampoo and rinse formula described above can be used for precautionary measures. Another quick method to deter potential lice infestation is to dab a few drops of tea tree oil on your fingertips and run your finger through child's hair.
Warn your child about head to head contact with other children. Advise them not to share hats, helmets, brushes and hair accessories. If they are in day care or elementary school get in a habit of checking their scalp for nits on a regular basis. Early detection will allow quicker relief with fewer side effects such as itching and scabbing.
Tea tree oil is known as a "first aid kit in a bottle". If you keep a bottle on hand for possible lice infections, you will soon discover it's many other uses and benefits.

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