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Castor oil, a natural method to get rid of lice?

A renowned ingredient in hair and skin care, the benefits of castor oil are well established. Hydrating, antioxidant, stimulating hair growth... To these various qualities, some people add the ability to combat lice. Learn more in this article.

Published February 14, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

What is vegetable castor oil?

The use of castor oil dates back to ancient Egypt, around 4,000 years BC. It was then used as fuel for oil lamps but also for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes, as it exhibited laxative and makeup-removing properties. In India, its use was also widespread to soothe arthritis, according to Ayurvedic medicine. Considered as a vegetable oil to always have on hand, castor oil is a fairly viscous and thick liquid extracted by cold pressing the seeds of the common castor plant. The numerous benefits it brings to the skin and hair make it a component in several cosmetic treatments under the INCI name Ricinus Communis Seed Oil.

Castor oil is particularly acclaimed for its moisturizing, nourishing, and antioxidant properties, both for hair and skin. Its use as a hair treatment helps to strengthen hair, as well as stimulate its growth. It also protects the skin by reinforcing the hydrolipidic film on its surface. Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are also attributed to it, explaining why castor oil is also used to soothe irritations and eliminate dandruff.

Castor Oil: A Remedy Against Lice?

Today, there are not enough scientific studies that have investigated the effect of castor oil on lice to be able to make a definitive statement about its effectiveness against these parasites. Only a few testimonials from individuals who have used castor oil in synergy with other oils, either essential or vegetable, to combat lice and claim to have achieved results exist.

Regarding the mechanism of action of castor oil against these parasites, it is hypothesized that the viscous and thick texture of this vegetable oil allows it tosuffocate the liceby obstructing their respiratory pathways. Once again, this is only a supposition and we currently lack scientific evidence to definitively assert this.

How to naturally eliminate lice?

If you are looking for a natural lice treatment, we cannot recommend castor oil. However, there are other natural ingredients that have proven efficacy against these parasites because they are neurotoxic. This is particularly the case with thetrue lavender essential oil. It contains linalool and terpinen-4-ol, molecules that inhibit acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme found in lice that leads to the degradation of their acetylcholine neurotransmitter. You can also uselemon hydrosol, which also contains linalool.

True lavender essential oil or lemon hydrolate: mode of use.

To combat lice, apply a drop of pure or diluted true lavender essential oil in a vegetable oil or a drop of lemon hydrosol behind each ear and massage. You can also use these two ingredients in synergy. This treatment can be done as a preventive or corrective action.


  • YEBOAH A. & al., Castor oil (Ricinus communis): a review on the chemical composition and physicochemical properties. Food Science and Technology (2021).


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