Original Article

Pediculicidal Activity of Foeniculum vulgare Essential Oil in Treatment of Pediculus capitis as a Public Health Problem

Fennel Essential Oil Activity against the Head Lice


Background: Pediculosis, caused by Pediculus spp is an important public health problem in urban and rural areas around the world. Natural compounds such as plant essential oils (EOs) have been suggested as a potential alternative for insect pest control recently. The purpose of this study was to investigate the toxicity of Foeniculum vulgare essential oil against the head louse, Pediculus capitis under laboratory conditions.

Methods: Fennel essential oil components were analyzed using GC-mass apparatus. Immersion and contact filter paper bioassays were used to evaluate fennel essential oil toxicity at the two-fold concentrations of 2.5, 5, 10, 20, and 40% against nit and nymph/adult stages of the head louse.

Results: Trans-anethole, α-Thujone, and limonene, which consisted of 76.08%, 10.37%, and 5.34% were the most com­ponents of fennel oil respectively. The LC50 values for the adult /nymphs were 11.5, 6.4, 3.9, 3.1 and 2.5% and LC99 values were 29.5, 15.2, 12.8, 10.8, and 7.4% at 10, 20, 30, 45 and 60 minutes after exposure respectively. The le­thal times (LT50) for adults/nymphs were 5.2, 8.1, 9.5, 20.5, and 45.8 minutes and LT99 were 138.6, 91.3, 23.8, 21.7, and 13.9 minutes in the concentrations of 2.5, 5, 10, 20 and 40%, respectively. LC50 and LC99 values were 2.32% and 7.36% after 5 days for the eggs.

Conclusion: Fennel essential oil at the concentration of 15% after 20min is suggested to develop as an appropriate for­mulation to evaluate in clinical trials.

1. Nejati J, Keyhani A, Kareshk AT, Mahmoudvand H, Saghafipour A, Khoraminasab M, Oliaee RT, Mousavi SM (2018) Prevalence and risk factors of pediculosis in primary school children in South West of Iran. Iran J Public Health. 47(12): 1923–1929.
2. Hatam-Nahavandi K, Ahmadpour E, Pashazadeh F, Dezhkam A, Zarean M, Rafiei-Sefiddashti R, Salimi-Khorashad A, Hosseini-Teshnizi S, Hazratian T, Otranto D (2020) Pediculosis capitis among school-age students worldwide as an emerging public health concern: a systematic review and meta-analysis of past five decades. Parasitol Res. 119(10): 3125–3143.
3. Moosazadeh M, Afshari M, Keianian H, Nezammahalleh A, Enayati AA (2015) Prevalence of head lice infestation and its associated factors among primary school students in Iran: a systematic re-view and meta-analysis. Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 6(6): 346–356.
4. Farzinnia B, Hanafibejad AA, Raeiskarami SR, Jafari T (2004) Epidemiology of head lice in primary school girls in Qom, 2002. Hormozgan Med J. 2(8): 103–108.
5. Zahirnia AT, Bhuthehia J (2005) Evaluation of three types of daphnostam shampoo 0.2%, permethrin 1% and lindin 1% in the treatment of head lice infection in elementary school female students. J Mazandaran Univ Med Sci. 15(49): 16–24.
6. Toloza AC, Zygadlo J, Biurrun F, Rotman A, Picollo MI (2010) Bioactivity of Argentinean essential oils against permethrin-resistant head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis. J Insect Sci. 10(1): 1–8.
7. Rafinejad J, Nourollahi A, Biglarian A, Javadian E, Kazemnejad A, Doosti S (2011) The comparison of the effect of permethrin shampoo and lindane lotion on the treatment of head lice (Pediculus Humanus Capitis) in the primary school pupils. J Mazandaran Univ Med Sci. 21(83): 35–41.
8. Toloza AC, Vassena C, Picollo MI (2008) Ovicidal and adulticidal effects of mon-oterpenoids against permethrin resistant human head lice, Pediculus humanus capi¬tis. Med Vet Entomol. 22(4): 335–339.
9. Verma P, Namdeo C (2015) Treatment of Pediculosis capitis. Indian J Dermatol. 60(3): 238–247.
10. Feldmeier H (2012) Pediculosis capitis: new insights into epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 31(9): 2105–2110.
11. Boukan A, Mohebi L, Rashti R, Boukan A, Oshaghi MA (2022) Pediculosis Capi¬tis; the Importance of Accurate Differentiation of Nits and Hair Casts. Int J Trop Insect Sci. 42(1): 647–650.
12. Koul O, Walia S Dhaliwal GS (2008) Essential oils as green pesticides: potential and constraints. Biopestic. 4(1): 63–84.
13. Rassami W, Soonwera M (2013) In vitro Pediculicidal activity of herbal shampoo base on Thai local plants against head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer). Parasitol Res. 112(4): 1411–1416.
14. Candy K, Nicolas P, Andriantsoanirina V, Izri A, Durand R (2018) In vitro efficacy of five essential oils against Pediculus humanus capitis. Parasitol Res. 117 (2): 603–609.
15. Yang YC, Lee HS, Clark JM, Ahn YJ (2004) Insecticidal activity of plant essential oils against Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae). J Med Entomol. 41(4): 699–704.
16. Yang YC, Lee SH, Lee WJ, Choi DH, Ahn YJ (2003) Ovicidal and adulticidal effects of Eugenia caryophyllata bud and leaf oil compounds on Pediculus capitis. J Agric Food Chem. 51(17): 4884–4888.
17. Soonwera M, Wongnet O, Sittichok S (2018) Ovicidal effect of essential oils from Zingiberaceae plants and Eucalytus globulus on eggs of head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis. De Geer. Phytomedicine. 47: 93–104.
18. Di Campli E, Di Bartolomeo S, Pizzi PD, Di Giulio M, Grande R, Nostro A, Cel-lini L (2012) Activity of tea tree oil and nerolidol alone or in combination against Pediculus capitis (head lice) and its eggs. Parasitol Res. 111(5): 1985–1992.
19. Abdel-Ghaffar F, Semmler M, Al-Rasheid K, Klimpel S, Mehlhorn H (2010) Comparative in vitro tests on the efficacy and safety of 13 anti-head-lice products. Parasitol Res. 106(2): 423–429.
20. Soonwera M (2015) Pediculicidal Activities of herbal shampoos from Zingiber officinale Roscoe and Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze against head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer: Phthiraptera). J Agri Tech. 11(7): 1493–1502.
21. Ghavami MB, Ahmadi S (2017) Effectiveness of eucalyptus and cinnamon es-sential oils compared to permethrin in treatment of head lice infestation. J Adv Med Biomed Res. 25(112): 86–98.
22. Gutiérrez MM, Werdin-González JO, Stefanazzi N, Bras C, Ferrero A (2016) The potential application of plant essential oils to control Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae). Parasitol Res. 115(2): 633–641.
23. Bagavan A, Rahuman AA, Kamaraj C, Elango G, Zahir AA, Jayaseelan C Santhoshkumar T, Marimuthu S (2011) Contact and fumigant toxicity of hexane flower bud extract of Syzygium aromaticum and its compounds against Pediculus humanus capitis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae). Parasitol Res. 109(5): 1329 –1340.
24. Sittichok S, Wongnet O, Soonwera M (2018) New Thai herbal shampoos as pediculicides for killing head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer (Phthiraptera). Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 8(2): 106–112.
25. Bedini S, Bougherra HH, Flamini G, Cosci F, Belhamel K, Ascrizzi R, Conti B (2016) Repellency of anetholeand estragoletype fennel essential oils against stored grain pests: the different twins. Bull Insectol. 69(1): 149–157.
26. Arserim SK, Cetin H, Yildirim A, Limoncu ME, Cinbilgel I, Kaya T, Ozbel Y, Balcioglu IC (2021) The Toxicity of Essential Oils from Three Origanum Species against Head Louse, Pediculus humanus capitis. Acta Parasitol. 66(3): 1003–1011.
27. Shams Ardekani M HA, Jamshidi A, Abdi K (2005) The study of volatile oil of Foeniculum vulgare Miller. In their tissue culture and comparison with the whole plant. J Med Plants. 3(15): 73–80.
28. Lee HS (2004) Acaricidal activity of constituents identified in Foeniculum vulgare fruit oil against Dermatophagoides spp. (Acari: Pyroglyphidae). J Agric Food Chem. 52(10): 2887–2889.
29. Zoubiri S, Baaliouamer A, Seba N, Chamouni N (2014) Chemical composition and larvicidal activity of Algerian Foeniculum vulgare seed essential oil. Arab J Chem. 7(4): 480–485.
30. Rocha DK, Matos O, Novo MT, Figueiredo AC, Delgado M, Moiteiro C (2015) Larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti of Foeniculum vulgare essential oils from Portugal and Cape Verde. Nat Prod Commun. 10(4): 677–682.
31. WHO (1981) Instructions for Determining the Susceptibility or Resistance of Body Lice and Head Lice to Insecticides. WHO/ VBC/81.808, Geneva.
32. Robertson JL, Russell RM, Presler HK, Savin NE (2017) Bioassays with Arthro-pods. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group. Boca Raton, London and New York.
IssueVol 16 No 1 (2022) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/jad.v16i1.11193
Head lice Pediculus capitis Pediculusis Foeniculum vulgare

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Jahanifard E, Ghofleh-Maramazi H, Sharififard M, Mahmoodi-Sourestani M, Saki-Malehi A, Maraghi E, Rasaei S. Pediculicidal Activity of Foeniculum vulgare Essential Oil in Treatment of Pediculus capitis as a Public Health Problem. J Arthropod Borne Dis. 2022;16(1):61–71.