Scabies is an intensely itchy and highly contagious inflammatory skin condition that is common worldwide—including in the US. It develops when an eight-legged parasitic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei burrows under the skin and lays eggs, triggering an allergic reaction and leaving bumpy tracks on the skin. Problem: The mite is becoming increasingly resistant to topical and oral medications—yet unless patients are successfully treated, they can develop secondary bacterial skin infections… or a scaly version of the infection called crusted scabies, which covers large portions of the body. Now there is an encouraging new study from Australia and Wright State University in Ohio.
Researchers placed scabies mites in petri dishes, then added various essential oils at different concentrations to see what effect each oil might have. Result: Clove oil killed all mites—both drug-resistant and nondrug-resistant—within 15 minutes, even at concentrations as low as 6.25%. The active component appears to be eugenol, a substance that makes up 80% of clove oil.
Essential oils contain components that may be toxic at high doses, even to humans. So, researchers said, before clove oil could be recommended as a home remedy for scabies treatment, human studies are needed to determine a safe and effective dose. In the meantime, ask your doctor about dabbing a tiny amount of clove oil on scabies-affected skin to see if it helps