Medical Treatments

Face Wash Cures Head Lice? Unorthodox Natural Treatments

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

Using Cetaphil to get rid of lice would probably never occur to most people… but apparently, this widely available gentle face wash works wonders on a “cootie” infestation. New York Times journalist Anahad O’Connor writes a series called “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet” about this and other unorthodox natural treatments for various common ailments.

It’s unknown who originally came up with the idea of using Cetaphil on lice – although it must be an interesting story. The Cetaphil treatment involves coating the hair with the face wash, blow drying the hair, sleeping on it, then shampooing it out in the morning. It’s supposed to suffocate lice, and according to a scientific study, it’s 95% effective if you do it once a week for three weeks. Other home treatments for head lice include applying olive oil and covering the hair in a shower cap, and applying Elmer’s glue.

O’Connor has also written about marigold extract and its ability to soothe outbreaks of dermatitis; thyme oil for toenail fungus; and extracts of a plant called devil’s claw for back pain and arthritis pain. While these are natural remedies, they still come with caveats. Those allergic to ragweed-type plants should avoid marigold, also known as calendula. Devil’s claw is not recommended for people taking blood-thinning medication, and it can also cause stomach upset.

The movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” featured its characters using glass cleaning spray Windex as a cure-all. It’s said to work on acne and poison ivy. Experts say it contains drying agents, such as ammonium hydroxide and rubbing alcohol, that could clear up acne, but it’s wise not to overuse it in case the skin dries out too much.

Some people believe having a Chihuahua as a pet can cure asthma: that’s a myth. So, it seems, is the idea that drinking several cups of black coffee can help stop an asthma attack. Coffee contains a substance that’s similar to theophylline, an ingredient in some asthma medications, but studies indicate it isn’t effective against attacks. Experts say the only good asthma home remedy is breathing in steam, either by running a hot shower and closing the bathroom door, or by putting a towel over your head and inhaling steam from a boiling kettle.

What are your favorite strange-sounding home remedies?

Originally published at GrannyMed