Fighting scabies: natural remedies

My 4 year-old has been diagnosed with scabies. Until a week ago I was sure that scabies is something that happens in third world countries and definitely not to my clean kid. I almost accepted that kids might come to daycare or schools with lice. Although it is hard to believe that in this century we are still fighting these kind of bugs. But scabies? Frightening!
I asked the doctor is I should tell the daycare and it was left up to me. I did, because he did take it from there, that’s for sure. Knowing it, would at least make them wash what it can be washed and maybe the irresponsible parent who sent his kid to the daycare to infect other kids might feel a bit of remorse. I highly doubt it. The result was that my kid was sent home, although he was way past any contagious stage. Whatever.
First response, one coming from a complete panic and not enough research, was to purchase the pretty expensive Kwellada. Full of optimism I put the freaking poison on my son, washed and disinfected everything in the house (and I am talking about 6 wash loads) only to realize that nothing changed. The itch was still there, albeit less annoying, the red spots and bumps were almost unchanged.
At that point I got really upset and started looking for alternative cures.
Not because the Kwellada was $47, but because it’s coming with lots of warnings regarding its toxicity and the maximum number of applications is two!!!
The chances are pretty high that he won’t be cured by the second treatment and then what?

Facts about scabies:
– The mite, its feces and ova laid by females seem to cause the irritation that leads to itching and secondary infection from scratching
– The itching is worse at night
– The incubation period is about three weeks but reinfestation can occur much faster
– In older children and adults the main areas infested are the web spaces between the fingers, wrist and elbows, the axillae, male genitalia and women’s breast; my son had it all over his torso, legs, buttocks and genitalia, but not on the wrists, elbows or the web spaces between fingers

Treatments for scabies:
– Permethrin 5% cream: the most popular choice. According to the literature ‘It has low toxicity and excellent results. It is at least as effective as lindane (Hexit, Odan Laboratories Ltd, Canada; PMS-Lindane, Pharmascience Inc, Canada) and more effective than crotamiton (not available in Canada). Permethrin should be washed off after 8 to 12 h’; it should not be used on young kids or during pregnancy or lactation.
– Lindane cream or lotion: recommended when permethrin is not available; the same precautions concerning young kids and pregnant women
– Precipitated sulphur (7%) in petroleum jelly is a safe alternative therapy for very young infants, and pregnant and lactating women. It is applied on three consecutive days, left on for 24 h after application and washed off before the next application
I quite don’t understand why this safe option has not even been presented to me?
Until our GP is back from his holiday, I will start my son on natural remedies.

Natural remedy options:

– Tea tree oil
– Neem oil/cream
– Oregano oil

Tea tree oil

It’s common use is as antiseptic and antibacterial. Due to the surge of super resistant bacterium, tea tree oil has been investigating as tool against Staphylococcus aureus, a dangerous pathogen found in hospitals. A study published in 1995 in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that a dilution of 0.5 percent tea tree oil killed this bacterium in test tubes.
For at-home use, tea tree oil is great for disinfecting minor cuts, abrasions and burns. It also works against lice: mix 5 drops of tea tree oil with 5 drops of eucalyptus oil and 6 drops of lavender oil in 2 ounces of almond or olive oil. Saturate hair and Scalp, cover with plastic and let sit for 2 hours. Then comb hair with special nit comb and wash. Repeat daily until lice are gone.
Gargling twice daily with a few drops in warm water relieves sore throats. Rubbed on the nose and forehead, it alleviates head congestion. A few drops on the chest and back breaks up a phlegmy cough.
Where to buy it: almost everywhere


Known as “the village pharmacy,” India’s neem tree is practically a first-aid kit in itself. Packed with the antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antihistamine, antiseptic, spermicidal and immune-system stimulating components nimbin and nimbidin, neem is said to do everything from repelling insects to preventing pregnancy. “It’s a great family first-aid herb,” says Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, a Seattle-based herbalist and co-author of Herbal Defense (Warner Books, 1997).
Added to toothpaste and mouthwash, it prevents cavities and gingivitis; in creams (containing at least 25 percent neem oil), it combats vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases; in soaps and shampoos, it kills lice, ringworm and scabies; mixed with equal parts vegetable oil and water, it makes a healing soak for athlete’s foot; undiluted, it repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and flies.
But neem oil is a real standout for skin care. Ayurveda believes that skin conditions are the result of excess sugar in the body, so neem’s bitterness is used to restore balance.
The oil also contains fatty acids, which build collagen, promote wound healing and maintain skin’s elasticity. According to John Conrick, author of Neem–The Ultimate Herb (Hopeful Communications, 1994), neem is as effective as cortisone for psoriasis, Wash the affected area with neem soap, then apply a cream with at least 1 percent neem oil. This same recipe can be used for acne, eczema, cuts and scrapes, minor bums and ringworm. For lice and scabies, use neem shampoo, then add a neem cream to the hair and scalp, leave it in overnight, and comb through with a nit comb before washing it out. (Try the same routine, minus the nit comb, for dandruff.)
Where to buy it: Vitanetonline, cost:$12.70 for 2 oz; Healthandyoga, cost: $12.95 for 50 grams and Worldshoppingmall cost:, neem cream 7.43 EUR, 50 gr, neem oil 10,50 EUR for 100 ml
Warning: not suitable for those with nut allergies.

Oregano oil

Oregano oil is a potent remedy for skin and fungal conditions, chronic pain, insect bites, and even nasty summer colds. Its powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, antiparasitical, antiviral, analgesic and antifungal properties are attributed to the active ingredient carvacrol.
For most skin problems, Cass Ingram, D.O., author of ‘The Cure is in the Cupboard: How to Use Oregano for Better Health’ (Knowledge House, 1997), recommends applying 1 drop of oil to the affected area or soaking a cotton ball with oil and taping it in place overnight. You also can treat fungal infections, insect bites and minor bums this way.
If applying the oregano oil on sensitive areas like face or genitals, dilute 1 or 2 drops in a teaspoon of olive oil first.
Where to buy it: health food store

Organic food on a budget

Is there any way to buy organic food without going into bankruptcy?

Yes, if you select carefully what you buy.

Some things labeled ‘organic’ might not be that organic after all. Products like cleaners, cosmetics, even seafood does not face the same requirements as meat and vegetables.


What is worth buying organic:

– Fruits: Apples, cherries, grapes, pears, berries, peaches, nectarines, plums

– Vegetables: Celery, potatoes, spinach, bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans

– Meat: Beef, pork, poultry

– Eggs and dairy

– Baby food


What is not worth it:

– Fruits: Bananas, kiwis, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, oranges

– Vegetables: Asparagus, avocados, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, onions, sweet peas

– Meat: seafood

– Processed food (including pasta!!), cleaning products, cosmetics


The price on organic meat and eggs very often is 100% more than regular one; the reason is the expensive organic feed for animals.

Alternative: consider antibiotic and/or hormone free meat


Long time I thought that free-range eggs were coming closer to the organic version. Actually I was wrong. Free-range means that the chickens are not living in cages, but allow roam freely within the farm and they are going to feed on greens and insects. But that does not mean they are going to be fed organic food.

The good part is that eggs from free-range chickens have higher nutritional value, more Omega 3, Vitamins A and E and lower levels of total fat.

From my shopping experience I can say that the price difference between free-range eggs and organic eggs is not that big, but if you buy on a budget it can be taken into account.

 Another way to budget your organic shopping: look for what’s on sale. Also, buy fruits and veggies that are in season when pricing becomes much more competitive.

The benefits of drinking rooibos tea

 Rooibos ( Aspalathus Lineanis), is a native South African bush that is grown in the area near Cape Town. Locals of South Africa have been harvesting rooibos as a health beverage for centuries .

Rooibos tea has become popular because of its fruity, sweet taste and its caffeine-free, low tannin, antioxidant-rich status. Although more research is needed, rooibos appears to be safe and free of side effects.

The antioxidants present in rooibos may help protect against free radical damage that can lead to cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Unfermented (green) rooibos has a higher amount of polyphenols than traditional fermented rooibos and generally demonstrates higher antioxidant and antimutagenic capabilities in vitro. Future research should reveal whether the antioxidant benefits of rooibos observed in vitro and in animals translates into health benefits for humans.

Nutritional Value of 3g/200 ml of Rooibos:

  • Iron (Fe) 0.07 mg
  • Potassium (K) 7.12 mg
  • Zinc (Zn) 0.04 mg
  • Manganese (Mn) 0.04 mg
  • Copper (Cu) 0.07 mg
  • Calcium (Ca) 1.08 mg
  • Sodium (Na) 6.16 mg
  • Magnesium (Mg) 1.57 mg
  • Fluoride (F) 0.22 mg

With the exceptions of fluoride and copper, the trace amounts of minerals in rooibos are not enough to make the tea a meaningful dietary source of minerals for the average consumer.Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Policy Institute for Integrative Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, notes that when rooibos is used as a fluid replacement throughout the day, as is done with some athletes in South Africa, it does provide measurable amounts of several minerals and electrolytes

Overall benefits of rooibos:

  • supplements your body’s need for SOD (super oxide dismutase), thus providing a natural antioxidant to protect your body against free radical damage
  • relieves allergies
  • is caffeine free
  • is rich in essential minerals for good health and vitality
  • contains anti-spasmodic properties that relieve digestive distress in adults as well as colic in infants
  • is available in red (oxidized) and green (non oxidized) forms; green rooibos has more antioxidant benefit than the oxidized version
  • is refreshing and does not get bitter because it has only 4.4% tannins
  • the low tannins content will not interfere with the iron absorbtion, problems normally identified with green tea

 If you are on the market for some good quality rooibos, check Herbal Republic store in Vancouver. They carry a large variety of flavours, my personal favorites being : Queenstown Rooibos (Complex with a creamy, strawberry-kiwi aroma. “Biedoux Valley” blend.
Contains organic Biedoux Valley rooibos, rose, strawberry pieces, lulo fruit, cornflowers and vanilla pieces), Sun City Rooibos (Blend of orange blossoms & citrus peels.
Contains organic rooibos, orange blossoms and citrus peels) and Berrydale Rooibos (Green rooibos with strawberry, vanilla and grapefruit aromas.
Contains Green rooibos, sunflower petals, cornflowers and rose petals)