Scabies infestations are very uncomfortable, due to the intense itching that results from the activation of the immune system in response to mites, mite eggs and mite waste. If you're looking for a natural treatment for scabies, you may wonder whether coconut oil will do the trick. While it may work to relieve symptoms on an individual basis, there is no scientific evidence that coconut oil is an effective treatment for scabies.
Coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm, which grows in moist, tropical climes. The meat of the coconut is rich in calories and fat, and coconuts contain an electrolyte-rich water-based solution inside them that has become popular in recent years as a dietary supplement. Coconut oil comes from the meat of the nut itself and is high in saturated fats, which are the less heart-healthy of the dietary fats.
Scabies mites, Sarcoptes scabiei, live under your skin and are transmitted from person to person through contact. If you live with someone with scabies, you'll likely get them as well. According to PubMed Health, they're particularly common in nursing homes and day care centers, where there's a high population density of individuals with less than optimal immune system function. The mites activate immune cells, which release histamine and other chemicals that cause intense itching.
Coconut Oil For Scabies
Coconut oil is a common folk remedy for scabies in India, explain Drs. M. Bhandary and colleagues in a 1995 article in the scientific publication, the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology." In all likelihood, applying a thick coat of the oil covers the air holes through which scabies mites get oxygen, and suffocates them. It's not sufficient to apply the oil sparingly, however, as the oil itself has no proven scientific mite-killing properties.
Unless you're willing to truly slather yourself with coconut oil to an extent not compatible with wearing clothing, you're unlikely to find any relief from your scabies infestation as a product of coconut oil use. Instead, MayoClinic.com notes that your doctor can prescribe a topical cream containing mite-killing substances such as Permethrin. Together with a remedy to help relieve itching, until such time as your skin rids itself of the mites, the creams will provide more effective and convenient relief than a coconut oil slathering.
- PubMed Health: Scabies
- "Journal of Ethnopharmacology"; Medical Ethnobotany of the Siddis of Uttara Kannada District, Karnataka, India; M. Bhandary et al; 1995