Development of a paw paw herbal shampoo for the removal of head lice

Phytomedicine. 2002 Dec;9(8):743-8. doi: 10.1078/094471102321621377.


The development and clinical testing of an herbal lice removal shampoo, containing a standardized extract of paw paw, thymol, and tea tree oil, are described. All of these ingredients were selected for their ability to deplete adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and, thus, prevent ATP-dependent pesticide resistance. Optimum concentrations of the ingredients, treatment times, and dosing schedules were established through in vitro tests with head lice. In addition to pilot studies involving 21 participants, a final clinical trial, using the optimum shampoo formulation in 16 participants, demonstrated 100% effectiveness in removing head lice and nits.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Asimina*
  • Child
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Hair Preparations
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / administration & dosage
  • Insecticides / pharmacology
  • Insecticides / therapeutic use*
  • Lice Infestations / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Phthiraptera / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Hair Preparations
  • Insecticides
  • Plant Extracts