Scientists validate effectiveness of Makabuhay's stem extract as anti-lice treatmentMonday, July 16, 2012 12:00 AM Views : 1033Ana Ciaren P. Hipolito
While lice do not carry diseases, pediculosis or head lice infestation, is a contagious disease, affecting mostly children between three and ten years old. In a study conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) with the University of the Philippines (UP), head lice infestation ranked as the second most common health problem of public school children after tooth decay. It dramatically affects the school performance of children because of the discomfort and social stigma it causes.
Studies confirmed that head lice infestation is expensive and challenging to treat due to lice's ability to develop resistance to chemical agents contained in medications. These chemicals, like permethrin and pyrethrin, were found to cause scalp and skin irritations and infections.
Determined to provide the poor with safe, effective and affordable medication for treating head lice, Dr. Bienvenido S. Balotro of the University of the Philippines Manila led the study titled, In Vitro Pediculicidal Efficacy and Acute Dermal Irritation Tests of Hair Cream from the Methanolic Extract of the Stem of Tinospora crispa (L.) Hook.f.et Thoms. It aimed to determine if the fresh stem juice of makabuhay in hair cream form has the ability to treat lice infestation without causing skin irritation.
To test pediculicidal efficacy, the study used nine different methanolic concentrations of makabuhay extract in cream form to rabbits with adult lice and nymphs. Treated lice were closely monitored under microscope to check for death criteria - stringent death or absolutely no movement and unstringent death or minimal movement but considered killed. Acute dermal irritation, on the other hand, was assessed by observing the rabbits for signs of skin redness, swelling, scab, and lesions for 14 days after cream application.
Upon analysis, the researcher found that makabuhay has an effective and non-irritating property for the treatment of hair lice infestation. "The results of the tests showed that the most efficacious concentration of the extract was identified to be the 60 percent concentration of the methanolic extract-cream base mixture. Further, the extract passed the acute dermal irritation test which means the product was not a skin irritant to both abraded and unbraded or intact skin," said Dr. Balotro.
Acknowledging the potential of makabuhay as medication for head lice infestation, Dr. Balotro stressed, "Though this study could be an essential part of a larger study to develop an effective, safe and stable pediculicidal hair cream from makabuhay, further studies should be conducted to assess the safety and effectiveness of the compounds before full utilization."