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Nontoxic Head Lice Treatment

Researchers pit the leading insecticide treatment against a coconut oil emulsion shampoo.

September 23, 2009 |
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Sources Cited


Image thanks to Gilles San Martin.


The next game we’re going to play is called… better than nothing? I’ll throw something up and you’ll try to figure out if what I have pictured is even worth trying.
First up?... Head lice are nasty; really, nasty. But so is covering our kids with insectides like permithrin, the standard treatment for head lice. So it’s no wonder there are all sorts of alternative treatments out there, but do they work? One was finally put to the test: “Paramide plus” coconut oil emulsion shampoo. Is it better than nothing—even though it may potentially delay more effective treatments? Do you think it’s better than nothing? Or do you think, “if I have blood sucking lice on my child’s head I’m going for the big guns?”
Researchers went into twelve elementary schools, and after a week of insecticide treatments, 14% of the kids were cured. After a week of the coconut derived shampoo, 61% were cured. Worked 4 times better and no pesticide exposure.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on alternative medicine. Also, there are 1,449 other subjectscovered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

Please be sure to check out my associated blog post, Adding FDA-Approved Viruses to Meat.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on alternative medicine. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Daria

    As a school nurse I am interested in effective non-toxic head lice treatments. I googled for Paramide Plus and found you. I checked with the local pharmacist but he couldn’t find anything about it. Where else might I look to find this product? I did find a place where a parent used Suave coconut shampoo and conditioner with good results. I will check the label when I get off work to see if there is any coconut derivitives in it. That would be a cheap solution for my chronic head lice families who can’t afford all the treatments. Thanks for any info.

    • jimmy


  • DrDons

    Hi Daria, I found this article interesting as well but I imagine Paramide Plus is a European product since like you I had no luck. I searched under folk remedies and found two interesting sites: and
    You may have already come up with something… as a school nurse I imagine you see it on a regular basis.

  • johnduda

    As a father of two young daughters in public schools, we have had several head lice infestations in my family. After much trial and error and literature review, (e.g. we found that liberally soaking our hair in olive oil, wrapping our heads in saran wrap or a shower cap and then a towel and sleeping that way works perfectly. Even our 4 year old tolerated it well and we felt much better about this treatment than applying insecticides that clearly didn’t work anyway. Coconut oil might be easier because it is less ‘runny’, but I’m going to stick with what has worked several times for us.

  • Sebastian Tristan

    I also looked for this shampoo to no avail.