Letter: Pungent cure for head lice

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The Independent Online
Sir: When I did my sick children's nursing training in the Thirties, it was quite common for a child to come in with lice, which had to be cleared up on the ward. We used oil of sassafras, which has a pungent smell, so every one knew we had "lice" in the ward when it was used! However one hair soaking in the oil with a cap-like bandage put on securely overnight did the trick. The head was washed in the morning by the night staff. As far as I remember, the sassafras treatment only had to be done once, when the lice and nits were happily cleared.

Yours faithfully,

VALERIE BENNETT

London, NW3

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