Lice are parasites that nest on the scalp, where they lay their eggs. Although they do not transmit diseases, it is important to treat them as they can spread quickly. A source of discomfort for some, let's explore together if peppermint essential oil is effective in eliminating them.
Naturally eliminating lice with peppermint essential oil?
- What are lice?
- Does peppermint essential oil affect lice?
- What are the natural solutions for eliminating lice?
What are lice?
Head lice, also known as Pediculus humanus capitis, are parasites that infest the human scalp and are typically found near the root of the hair. A louse generally does not survive more than 3 days, but the female can lay her eggs (called nits) on the hair, and their complete life cycle lasts about 3 to 4 weeks. The female can produce 5 to 6 eggs per day. In the event of an infestation or pediculosis, a child's hair can contain from 10 to 20 adult lice.
The transmission of lice typically occurs through direct contact with an individual, as they can quickly move from one head to another during close contact. Children are often more affected than adults, as they tend to have closer physical contact when playing together. It is crucial to treat lice infestations as soon as they are detected to prevent their spread. Let's explore whether peppermint essential oil is a good alternative for eliminating them.
Does peppermint essential oil affect lice?
Thepeppermint essential oil is a natural oil extracted from the variety of mint known as mentha x piperita. It is obtained from the leaves of the plant through steam distillation, allowing for the production of a pure oil highly concentrated in active compounds. Already used in antiquity for its medicinal virtues and pleasant fragrance, this oil emits a fresh and herbaceous scent reminiscent of mint. Some even attribute to it a beneficial action against lice.
However, as of today, there are not enough scientific studies that have investigated the effect of peppermint essential oil on lice to make a definitive statement about its efficacy against these parasites. Some suggest that it may have a repelling effect on lice, but again, no study can confirm this. The only beneficial effect of this oil against lice lies in its ability to soothe the scalp by relieving the itching caused by these parasites due to its anti-inflammatory activity.
What are the natural solutions for eliminating lice?
If you're seeking a natural solution against lice, we advise against the use of peppermint essential oil. However, there are other natural ingredients that have proven their effectiveness against these parasites. Thetrue lavender essential oil is particularly recommended, as it contains molecules such as linalool and terpinen-4-ol, which inhibit acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme found in lice responsible for the breakdown of their acetylcholine neurotransmitter. You might also consider using lemonhydrosol, which also contains linalool and may be beneficial for this purpose.
To combat lice, you can apply a drop of pure or diluted true lavender essential oil, or a drop of lemon hydrosol behind each ear, then gently massage. Another option is to use these two ingredients in synergy. This treatment can be used as a preventive or curative measure.
ALANKAR S. A Review on peppermint oil. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research (2009).
KEHILI S. & al. Peppermint (Mentha piperita L.) essential oil as a potent anti-inflammatory, wound healing and anti-nociceptive drug. European Journal of Biological Research (2020).