What is Lemongrass? What does it do to lice?

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a tall perennial plant from the family of grasses said to be the world’s single most important source of food. This mildly flavored herb thrives in tropical and subtropical regions. It’s often used in Asian cooking and to make lemongrass tea.

Lemongrass looks a lot like common grass because it has leaves with sharp edges, is bright green and grows in dense clumps. While over 50 varieties of lemongrass exist, not all are edible or suitable for medicinal purposes.

And lemongrass oil…? Cymbopogon flexuosus is the variety of lemongrass typically used for body care products. The oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant and has a fresh, earthy, lemony scent. The consistency of the oil is thin and the color is a pale to bright yellow.

Lemongrass oil repels insects, including mosquitoes and head lice. You may recognize a couple of the main compounds of lemongrass, like citronellal (a main component of citronella oil), and nerol (originally isolated from neroli oil, which has a sweet rose odor). These compounds along with other elements of lemongrass are known to have insecticidal properties––without the use of dangerous chemicals, of course.

Happyheads/Scootie-Cootie products that contain lemongrass oil include:


In addition to being a natural head lice treatment, lemongrass oil can be beneficial for other hair and scalp conditions, too. It’s good for oily hair and may help strengthen hair follicles.
Lemongrass oil can be diffused using a vaporizer, inhaled, applied topically, or taken internally in a diluted form (under the supervision of a qualified health care provider). Essential oils are strong; as with other essential oils, lemongrass oil is usually used in a diluted form, especially for any topical or internal use. Happyheads/Scootie-Cootie products are safe for all ages.