In the past decade, we've seen an increase in herbal remedies for lice, due in large part to 1) head lice developing resistance to pesticides used in many prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) products and 2) parents becoming hesitant to put potentially harmful chemicals on their kids' scalps. Because they are insecticide-free, these herbal products are often called natural lice treatments.
These homeopathic lice treatments are typically made up of essential oils such as lavender, peppermint or tea tree, but can also contain non-herbs like sodium chloride and glycerin, or fruit and vegetable extracts. Unlike OTC pesticide solutions and prescription lice drugs, herbal remedies usually aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so benefits and risks may not be published.
Consumers use herbal lice remedies to either kill head lice (which they do with varying degrees of efficacy) or repel them.
As is the case with pesticide-based lice products and suffocation products, herbal lice products have a tougher time penetrating the lice eggs, called nits. The low efficacy in killing lice eggs means the head-lice problem continues as soon as the nits hatch, requiring additional applications of the herbal remedies. That is in contrast to the professional AirAllé™ device, a dehydration product using just heated air, which has a published kill rate of 99.2 percent of lice eggs in a single treatment.