Background: Head louse infestations are prevalent worldwide. Over the past 20-25 years, 15-20% of all children in Israel between 4 and 13 years of age have been infested with head lice. This is mainly due to the existence of ineffective pediculicides on the market.
Objective: To examine the pediculicidal efficacy and safety of a natural remedy ("Chick-Chack") and to compare it in an open clinical study with a known pesticide spray.
Methods: The natural remedy, which contains coconut oil, anise oil and ylang ylang oil, was applied to the hair of infested children three times at 5 day intervals. Each treatment lasted for 15 minutes. The control pediculicide was a spray formulation containing permethrin, malathion, piperonyl butoxide, isododecane and propellant gas, which was applied twice for 10 minutes with a 10 day interval between applications.
Results: Of 940 children, aged 6-14 years, from six schools in Jerusalem who were examined for head louse infestation, 199 (21.2%) were infested with lice and eggs, while 164 (17.4%) were infested only with nits. Altogether, 119 children were randomly treated with either the natural remedy or the control product. Treatment was successful with the natural remedy in 60 children (92.3%) and with the control pediculicide in 59 children (92.2%). There were no significant side effects associated with either formulation.
Conclusions: The natural remedy was very effective in controlling louse infestations under clinical conditions and caused no serious side effects.