Scabies: Overview

Scabies is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, a form of mite which burrows beneath the skin and lays eggs that hatch in as little as three to four days.  The whole life cycle is completed in approximately 14 days.  The infestation causes pimples due to an allergic reaction to the mite feces and carcasses left behind.  Infection and severe discomfort follows.

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Because of the mite habitat (beneath the skin), this complaint causes problems due to the toxicity of the treatment currently used to penetrate and treat the disease.

Causes and Development

This disease does not indicate lack of hygiene and can be contracted quite easily by contact with humans or dogs.  Scabies, known in the canine world as 'mange' or 'mange mite', accounts for the deaths of many foxes each year.  This mite can live for days in bedding or clothing and washing does not always provide the temperature to cleanse the said items.

Treatment and Prevention

There are several prescription medicines to treat Scabies, but they are very harsh to the skin and body and may be dangerous to use because of their strong chemicals.  A number of effective treatments were based on organophosphates, which was developed as nerve gas.  These methods often fail to cure the problem or even relieve the itch.  Quite often the symptoms are suppressed for a time, but as soon as the treatment is stopped, the itch is back because the mites have not been eradicated.

It is recommended that clothes, which have been worn during infection be treated or isolated (refuse bag 10 days) to avoid re-infestation.  Dogs must be treated as this may have been the initial source of the problem.  Cat lovers/owners will be pleased to hear that there is no known case of a feline variety of mite affecting humans.

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Recommendations for Scabies:

Botanical / Herbal


Neem is a gentler scabies medication than prescription remedies.  In the Ayurveda and Siddha system of medicine (Indian system of medicine) Azadirachta indica ADR ('Neem') and Curcuma longa ('Turmeric') has been used for healing chronic ulcers and scabies.  The 'Neem' and 'Turmeric' was used as a paste for the treatment of scabies in 814 people.  In 97% of cases cure was obtained within 3 to 15 days of treatment.  It is a very cheap, easily available, effective and acceptable mode of treatment for the villagers in the developing countries.

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