Parasitology Research

, Volume 113, Issue 9, pp 3241–3250 | Cite as

Efficacy of herbal shampoo base on native plant against head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer, Pediculidae: Phthiraptera) in vitro and in vivo in Thailand

  • Mayura SoonweraEmail author
Original Paper


Head lice infestation (or pediculosis) is an important public health problem in Thailand, especially in children between the ages 5 and 11 years. Head lice resistance is increasing, chemical pediculicides have lost their efficacy, and, therefore, alternative pediculicides such as herbal shampoos have been proposed to treat head lice infestation. Thus, the present study investigated the efficacy of three herbal shampoos based on native plants in Thailand (Acorus calamus Linn., Phyllanthus emblica Linn., and Zanthoxylum limonella Alston) against head lice and compared them with carbaryl shampoo (Hafif shampoo®, 0.6 % w/v carbaryl), malathion shampoo (A-Lice shampoo®, 1.0 % w/v malathion), and commercial shampoos (Babi Mild Natural’ N Mild® and Johnson’s baby shampoo®) in order to assess their in vitro and in vivo efficacy. For in vitro study, doses of 0.12 and 0.25 ml/cm2 of each herbal shampoo were applied to filter paper, then 10 head lice were place on the filter paper. The mortalities of head lice were recorded at 5, 15, 30, and 60 min. The results revealed that all herbal shampoo were more effective on pediculicidal activity than chemical and commercial shampoos with 100 % mortality at 15 min; LT50 values ranged from 0.25 to 1.90 min. Meanwhile, chemical shampoos caused 20–80 % mortality, and LT50 values ranged from 6.50 to 85.43 min. On the other side, commercial shampoos showed 4.0 % mortality. The most effective pediculicide was Z. limonella shampoo, followed by A. calamus shampoo, P. emblica shampoo, carbaryl shampoo, malathion shampoo, and commercial shampoo, respectively. In vivo results showed that all herbal shampoos were also more effective for head lice treatment than chemical and commercial shampoos with 94.67–97.68 % of cure rate after the first treatment; the second treatment, 7 days later, revealed that the cure rate was 100 %. Meanwhile, chemical shampoo showed 71.67–93.0 % of cure rate and, unfortunately, commercial shampoos were nontoxic to head lice and showed 0 % of cure rate after the first and the second treatments. Our data showed that three herbal shampoos of native plants in Thailand in this study are suitable to be used as pediculicides for Thai children since it is safe for children and there is no side-effect after application.


Head lice Herbal shampoo Pediculicidal activity 



This study was financially supported by the Faculty of Agricultural Technology, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Bangkok, Thailand. Gratitude are due to the plant taxonomist and entomologist of the Faculty of Agricultural Technology KMITL for plants and lice classification and identification. All herbal shampoo in this study was provided free of charge by the Medicinal Plant Laboratory, Faculty of Agricultural Technology, KMITL. The authors are grateful to all the authorities of the primary school in Ladkrabang area, Bangkok, Thailand, where head lice materials were collected and in vivo tested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Production Technology Section, Faculty of Agricultural TechnologyKing Mongkut’s Institute of Technology LadkrabangLadkrabang, BangkokThailand

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