Paw Paw Lice Remover Shampoo

PawPawResearch Note: Although the lice remover shampoo with the pawpaw was considered effective, safe, and successful, the original manufacturer discontinued that product and it is no longer available. If you wish to make your own, they have made their recipe available. We obtained it and you can get it by clicking here.

PawPaw Lice Remover Shampoo
(Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization)

PawPaw Research Results in New Product

It is estimated that as many as 25 million people in the US, 10 million of these children, become infested with Pediculus humanus capitas. Although pre-school and elementary-age children seem most at risk, teenagers and adults can become infected as well. Symptoms include persistent itching, particularly around the ears, back of the neck and crown, and associated loss of sleep. Repeat infestations can intensify skin irritation, increase excessive scratching, and bring about secondary bacterial infections. However, the greatest harm associated with head lice may result from the well-meaning but unwise use of toxic shampoos to eliminate the lice. In September of 2000, California banned the use of Lindane, an organo-chlorinated pesticide in the same chemical family as DDT, which is used in the treatment of head lice. Among other side effects, Lindane, is thought to cause seizures. Other products on the marketplace used to treat head lice also have come under recent scrutiny. Studies indicate that head lice have become resistant to many existing products including pyrethrin-based pesticides.

During his more than 25 years of research at Purdue University, Dr. Jerry McLaughlin identified certain compounds found in the bark of the pawpaw tree, called annonaceous acetogenins (Patents 4,721,727 and 4,855,319). These compounds are particularly effective for pesticide-resistant pests. After the compounds are extracted through a process designed to isolate and concentrate, they are standardized using a bioassay that Dr. McLaughlin developed during his years at Purdue as professor of pharmacognosy. This process ensures that the product has a consistent concentration of annonaceous acetogenins. Dr. McLaughlin encountered a struggle in his pursuit to use this research in product development because there are no commercial sources of these compounds. In addition, samples can only be collected during the month of May. Extensive research revealed that the compounds are capable of controlling a variety of insects and pests and in 2001, they were taken from the lab to the marketplace in the form of a new product called PawPaw Lice Remover Shampoo manufactured by Nature's Sunshine Products Inc. (NSP).

There are three stages of head lice infestation. Nits, or eggs, attach to human hair shafts in the first stage. After seven to 10 days, the nits hatch and nymph lice become visible. In stage three, the mature lice feed on the scalp and begin laying eggs. Dr. McLaughlin, now vice president of research, development and quality assurance, and chief scientific officer for NSP, reports that the pawpaw product works by targeting the nymphs and adults and also by loosening the nits on the hair shaft so the nits comb out easily before they have a chance to hatch.

The product is both safe and successful. Clinical studies proved that it was effective in removing head lice. In studies conducted with more than 20 people, the shampoo has proven to be 100 percent effective in eliminating head lice. Additional tests have proved the shampoo to be effective in removing lice and their nits when used according to label instructions. A final clinical trial, using the optimum shampoo formulation in 16 participants, demonstrated 100% effectiveness at removing head lice and nits.

NSP's PawPaw Lice Remover Shampoo was introduced to the US marketplace in 2001. The product is based on three technologies that Purdue Research Foundation's Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) successfully licensed to NSP. NSP was founded in 1972 and is based in Provo, Utah.

Copyright © 2003 by Association of University Technology Managers, Inc. Source: AUTM Licensing Survey, FY 2001