Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, 1996
Essential oils of aniseed, cinnamon leaf, red thyme, tea tree, peppermint, nutmeg, rosemary, and pine were tested in vitro against lice, Pediculus humanus. All the oils except for rosemary and pine were found to be effective in the laboratory when applied in an alcoholic solution and followed by a rinse the following morning in an essential oil/vinegar/water mixture. Peppermint and nutmeg were only used as a blend rather than as individual oils. Problems of solubility and toxicity are discussed, as are possible mechanisms of action. Phenols, phenolic ethers, ketones, and oxides (1,8-cineole) appear to be the major toxic components of these essential oils when used on lice. Aldehydes and sesquiterpenes may also play a role.
Veal L. The potential effectiveness of essential oils as a treatment for headlice, Pediculus humanus capitis. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 1996;2(4):97-101.