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Head Lice & Homeopathy

I haven’t written about head lice in recent years because strangely I don’t see much of it these days. I usually get calls about hand, foot and mouth, molluscum contagiosum and school sores!

However, head lice is sometimes around and if you have one of those children (more girls than boys, probably due to a tendency to longer hair) who is plagued, don’t keep trying lots of products if nothing is working. Consider the fact that their immune system is challenged and head lice are opportunistic, rather like gut parasites.

While head lice can spread, not everyone is susceptible to them. If one person in a family gets them, it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will, but you should be careful about sharing towels and hair brushes and combs.

Head lice don’t carry disease and they don’t mean that you or your kids are in any way “unclean.” In my world it really just mean the child’s system is a bit below par.

What treatment?

There are times when all you need to do is use a lice comb to comb out the eggs, nymphs and adult lice in your child’s hair. But you do need to be consistent and careful about it because as with most of the little guys that hatch out, you have to get the whole family to resolve the problem. This process is often enough in a reasonably healthy child.

One of the methods that was researched is the smothering method, so covering the head with olive oil or almond oil, wait a bit and then comb through carefully in good light with a nit comb. Conditioner was recommended in the past, but I see this is also in question as to its effectiveness. Whatever you choose to do, removing all the eggs is essential, so you do need to put in the hard work!

There are also a long list essential oils which are said to help with getting rid of lice, but to me this isn’t going to be enough if you have a child with a recurrent problem.

Because homeopaths always look at these things in totality (ie the whole person) rather than in isolation, we usually ask the question “what’s going on in this child’s life” or why do they have this susceptility at this time.

My good friend Jan Owen, wrote beautifully about the boundaries of children and why some children are more prone to headlice, so I’m just going to quote what she says, rather than rewriting in my own words!

“… boys often tend to have a definite sense of boundary, and this seems to make a difference. Girls can be more emotional, showing jealousy (jealous as a louse), hurt and sensitivity.”

So this may be something we see in the children who are the victims of the head lice bully … they have insufficient boundaries and we need to help them strengthen these boundaries to make them less attractive to lice, as well as mossies (similar underlying problem) and other bullies.

Personally I always suggest constitutional treatment for a child who has recurrent head lice because investigation during the consult usually brings up a lack of boundaries in some sense and the need to help them stand their ground and be less affected by the world of school, which can be a challenge for some little ones.

What remedies?

There are a few remedies which we might think of for treating a one-off bout of head lice.

Staphysagria is the most usually indicated remedy for head lice and it does help a sweet and gentle child develop better boundaries, however, this is only one remedy out of many, so while you could give this a go to see if it fits your child’s picture and will help with the head lice problem, there are so many more remedies for all the different and unique little kids out there!

Some homeopaths recommend using the head louse itself (Pediculous) as a homeopathic remedy. That’s not something we can sell on the website and would really only be something we’d use in a very infested child, but again it’s one of many.

Lycopodium is one of the main remedies for low self confidence, although it might not be obvious. Quiet and well behaved, they may also be leaders at school. They can however be bossy and domineering at home, rude to parents and mean to siblings. Lycopodium is also a big liver and gut remedy and it’s always good to support these levels when we are looking at something parasitic.

Merc Sol is another remedy which is indicated for head lice and this makes me think about potential issues from vaccines or some other source of heavy metal toxicity.

Sulphur is a favourite remedy for children particularly if they are hot, hate bathing and especially hate washing their hair. Actually unwashed hair is better for keeping the head lice away, so they may know something! These kids love junk food and are generally untidy and lazy, but very smart and curious!

Avoid these products & methods

I came across this advice online and thought it worth sharing. I have included the link below.

Here are the things the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you DON’T do when getting rid of lice:

  • Don’t use extra amounts of any recommended or prescribed dose of lice medication to try to treat the lice “faster.” Excessive dosages can be dangerous and may cause severe damage.
  • Avoid getting any medication for lice in the eyes. If contact with the eyes occurs, be sure to flush them out.
  • Don’t repeat the same lice treatment more than two or three times. If you repeat a medication treatment too many times, you or your child may build a resistance to the medication, or an alternative may have to be used.
  • Don’t use more than one head lice medication at the same time. Using more than one treatment at a time won’t work to kill the lice faster, and it can cause more harm than good.
  • Don’t fumigate the house or living area where an individual who has head lice has been. Fumigation isn’t necessary to kill lice and may be toxic to others and to pets.
  • Avoid using conditioner. Conditioner acts as a barrier for lice medication and stops it from sticking properly to the hair shaft.
  • Don’t use lindane shampoo as a first-line treatment for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) no longer recommends it, as overuse and misuse can be toxic to the brain or parts of the nervous system. The AAP recommends that Lindane only be used when other treatments have failed.

Sometimes children who had been treated with pharmaceutical products can present with symptoms of  toxicity such as pale face and dark circles under the eyes, loss of appetite, nausea and weakness. Nux vomica can be a good remedy to help with this, but again this means your child’s immune system needs some support and an individualised remedy from your homeopath would be a better option for your child.

Your best option, rather than spending a fortune on products from your pharmacy or health food shop, is to consult with a registered and experienced homeopath who can help bring your child’s system into balance; mental, emotional and physical!


Avoid these products & Methods

Melanie Creedy trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association.
She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter.
Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition or serious acute illness, it is important to be assessed or examined by your GP or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a  suggestion or treatment seek advice from your healthcare professional.