What is neem?

Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a form of an evergreen tree native to India. In Ayurvedic medicine, neem extract has been used for many different health-related purposes. While neem oil is usually applied to the skin or scalp to treat ailments like acne and dandruff and, the extract of the neem leaf is typically taken orally. Sometimes, the bark, blossoms, and fruit of the neem tree are also used medicinally.

Neem products come from all regions of the Indian lilac tree. Previously, individuals have used neem as a natural treatment for many different illnesses. In Ayurveda, neem is typically utilized to balance Pitta and Kapha. Its cold, light, and dry attributes tend to aggravate Vata. Neem is therefore often recommended in conjunction with other herbs, which help subdue its Vata-provoking nature.

Lots of men and women use neem as a natural pesticide. Some use it to encourage their hair and dental health. Neem is useful for treating bacterial diseases, asthma, ulcers, diabetes, leprosy, and malaria. Additionally, it enhances blood circulation and keeps oral hygiene and health. Aside from this, it might also be utilized as a contraceptive in certain instances. Neem is generally safe to use as a decorative item, but folks should do a test patch first and talk to a physician before using neem products on a child.

Cultivation of Neem

Neem can flourish in sub-humid to humid regions, which receive 400 to 1,200 millimeters of rain. It grows well in deeply drained soil. Neem is located in certain countries in the Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa, West Africa, the Indian Ocean, and some parts of Australia.


See: Home remedies for GERD & acid reflux

Neem medicinal properties

In Ayurvedic medicine, neem may help assist with some health problems, such as:

Diabetes

Gastric ulcers

Infection

Constipation

Cough

Indigestion

Periodontal disease

Urinary tract disease

Furthermore, neem is supposed to decrease inflammation, enhance liver health, relieve pain, preserve vision, excite the immune system, and protect against heart disease.

Neem oil is a frequent pest repellant, effective against sand fleas and mosquitoes. Other kinds of neem can help control termites and repel moths.

Some producers add neem to animal shampoos to repel fleas and ticks. They might also add it to cattle feed or grain to resist parasites and pests.

Neem is a powerful antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals, which may influence the growth of some ailments. Additionally, it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Neem has antimicrobial effects and might be effective against several kinds of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Since neem is effective against mosquitoes, it might also have anti-malarial properties. Malaria is a parasite that some mosquitoes take. It induces around 219 million disorders and 435,000 deaths globally annually.

People most often use neem in skin and hair care products. Some people today choose neem extract capsules, but there isn't now enough research to say whether they have any health care benefits. The oil is either yellow or brown and smells of sulfur or garlic. It has a strong bitter taste.

Little research is available on neem's impact on hair health, but anecdotal evidence indicates that it may be helpful for:

- Dandruff: Neem is a favorite ingredient in several anti-dandruff shampoos. Though there has been no research to support its use, neem is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, which might help decrease dandruff symptoms.

- Lice: The results of a little study suggested that neem is a powerful anti-lice and anti-nit agent. The study only analyzed 12 kids with lice, but all were completely lice- and nit-free after therapy using a neem-based shampoo. No lice were present for 7-10 days after treatment, and there were no side effects.

- Dental products, such as mouthwashes, toothpaste, and tooth replacements, also can contain neem. Neem can decrease pain from a toothache and enhance dental health by cleaning the teeth and gums and relieving gingivitis.

Although a few scientific studies have analyzed the health effects of neem, some evidence may provide certain benefits. 

See: Ayurvedic herbs for constipation relief

Neem nutrional facts

Neem contains various antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anthelmintic properties. Neem packs antibacterial properties resulting in an extremely bitter taste. They also function as a natural insecticide. Neem urea is also employed as a substitute for urea fertilizer, particularly in India. Additionally, it improves soil health, fertilizer's efficiency, and reduces pollution.

See: Psoriasis Treatment in Ayurveda

Neem leaves & oil health benefits

Health Benefits of Neem

- Neem includes antibacterial properties.

Neem's antibacterial properties help control the pathogens. Neem stick also contains inflammatory consequences and is usually chewed by individuals to promote oral health and keep teeth loose of cavities or plaque. Neem may also be used to control spoilage organisms and foodborne pathogens.

- Heals respiratory system

Neem oil helps asthma sufferers and also assists in treating cough, fever, and controls phlegm. Consuming a couple of drops of neem oil every day can do wonders and provide you healthy lungs. It can provide relief for asthma if consumed daily. It may be chewed raw or blended with drinks. Neem supports a healthy respiratory system.

- Controls diabetes & blood glucose.

According to research, the Neem plant contains hypoglycaemic or blood glucose-lowering properties. Neem can help in controlling blood glucose levels and may be ideal for diabetic patients. It may delay, prevent certain diseases, and oxidative stress that's caused as a result of diabetes. Anti-diabetic properties in neem extracts make it useful for keeping a healthy body. Neem purifying benefits on the body helps blood circulation and supports healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range.

- Maintains oral hygiene and health

Neem oil can take care of any kind of gum ailments. Mouthwashes that contain neem extracts can be found abundantly and are utilized to cure oral troubles. This benefit results from how the antibacterial properties help to resist Streptococcus mutans within our mouth that may result in mouth sores or even bad breath. It can also be utilized as an antimicrobial broker or a purifier. Tooth decay, cavities, gingivitis, and dental plaque, may also be cured by swallowing neem leaf. Cleaning your teeth regularly with a neem twig can provide you shinier and whiter teeth because it's full of antioxidants. It may also build up the gums and immune responses of the mouth cells.

Neem can help fight plaque buildup and prevent gingivitis, many studies suggest. In 2017, researchers found that neem mouthwash was as effective as the medication and indicated neem might be a more cost-effective solution to chemical remedies. A previous study published in 2004 at the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that the neem-based gel was more effective in reducing plaque buildup than the mouthwash.

Research published in the IJDR (Indian Journal of Dental Research) in 1999 determined that using chewing sticks made with neem extract can help protect against the buildup of bacteria related to cavity formation and periodontal disease.

- Helps to treat ulcers

Ulcers and gastrointestinal issues are prevalent, and proton pump inhibitors are some of the remedies that you usually adopt, but it is nevertheless not natural and can result in side effects. Therefore, neem is extremely useful and safe in treating gastric hyperacidity and ulcers. The extract from the neem bark has potent properties to cure these disorders safely. This happens because neem raises the number of gastric mucus that plays a significant role in combating ulcers.

- Helps to heal leprosy

According to Egyptian culture, neem may be used to heal leprosy. Since it's non-mutagenic, it does not result in any modifications in the DNA and may prevent leprosy from happening. Powder form or liquid extract of neem will help deal with digestive issues and is perfect for digestion.

- Increases blood flow

Since neem is a blood purifier, it's excellent for blood circulation and cleanses the whole body. Consuming neem may also prove beneficial for your skin and prevent blackheads or acne incidence to a certain degree. Sometimes, it may also regulate a person's hormone levels.

May function as a contraceptive

Neem has an anti-fertility effect because of the robust properties it owns. In many studies, rats who were treated with neem oil surprisingly remained sterile for a while. Neem oil is often used as a spermicide. Researches also demonstrate that women who implemented neem oil intravaginally before sexual intercourse could not get pregnant then specific intercourse. However, neem oil does not affect the testosterone amount in men.

- Soothes malaria symptoms

Neem is beneficial for soothing the discomfort and pain related to malaria. Additionally, it speeds up the healing process because of its antibacterial properties. It may be useful in preventing malaria from happening.

- Hair.

For those who have excess pitta and heat trapped in the scalp and hair follicles, neem is excellent for healing the scalp and encouraging glistening, smooth hair.

- Skin and Blood.

Neem's benefits work both internally and externally for the skin. As an external application, neem oil or soap helps soothe and moisturize the skin. Neem is renowned and famous for promoting healthy skin and a clear complexion. Due in part to its bitter flavor, it has a remarkable cooling effect on the body, reducing excessive heat.

- Immune System.

Its cleansing effects on the body make it a fantastic immune booster, especially for the cleansing of ama in the body.

- Digestion.

A healthy digestive environment is crucial for good health. Neem reduces toxins in the GI tract. Neem's Kapha-reducing properties promote proper water and fat digestion and elimination, keeping water retention from collecting in the body.



See: Ayurveda for hair loss treatment

How to take neem

Since neem is Vata aggravating alone, it's combined with different herbs depending upon the desired result. Ayurveda traditionally recommends that the powder form of herbs. Tasting the herb begins the digestive process and sends signals to the body to initiate its support mechanisms. Purchasing the powder in bulk also provides a cheaper alternative. The tablets offer a more convenient way to take neem, particularly for frequently traveling or moving people. Given neem's strong taste, the tablets also offer an excellent alternative for people who find the flavor a deterrent to taking the herb.  A liquid extract is also available and offers an alternative way of taking neem. It's convenient and has a long shelf life.

See: Ayurveda for boosting immunity

Neem side effects

Neem may have specific side effects also though it possesses strong healing properties. Infants should not consume neem because it includes certain substances known to cause Reye's syndrome in babies. A small dosage can prove to be fatal for them. It can also lead to allergies, infertility, miscarriages in women, and stomach discomfort. It can cause kidney damage if it's taken excessively and can boost fatigue. Individuals with already low blood pressure are advised not to eat neem.

Neem can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Although experts consider neem safe, a person can have an allergic reaction or sensitivity. If you see signs of discoloration, itching, swelling, or discomfort indicate that an individual may be allergic to neem and avoid using it. Generally speaking, children are more sensitive to neem oil, though no research exists to cite the effects of neem in kids.

Consult a physician before using any other medicine if pregnant.

See: Turmeric Curcumin Health Benefits & Side Effects

Preparation & storage

Widely available for purchase online, neem supplements may also be found in several natural-foods shops and shops specializing in dietary supplements. Neem is sold as powders, capsules, tinctures,  oils, lotion, and mouthwash. Follow dosage directions on the product tag.

See: Ashwagandha Benefits & Side Effects

References

1. Biswas, Kausik, et al. “Biological Activities and Medicinal Properties of Neem(Azadirachta indica).” Current Science  82.11 (2002): 1336-1343.  http://repository.ias.ac.in/5193/1/305.pdf

2. Pole, Sebastian. "Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice." Churchill Livingston Elsevier, 2006. 233-234, 327.

3. “What is the Neem Plant and How is it Used?” Discover Neem. http://www.discoverneem.com/neem-plant.html

4. Masocco, Sonia E., comp. "Ayurvedic Herbology Student Handbook." 4th ed. Ayurvedic Institute, 2004. 74-75.

5. Subapriya, R., and S. Nagini. “Medicinal Properties of Neem Leaves: A Review.” Current Medical Chemistry: Anticancer Agents. 5.2  (2005): 149-146. Online. PubMed.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15777222

6. Abdel-Ghaffar, F., et al. (2011). Efficacy of a single treatment of head lice with a neem seed extract: An in vivo and in vitro study on nits and motile stages [Abstract]. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00436-011-2484-3

7. Alzohairy, M. A. (2016). Therapeutics role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and their active constituents in disease prevention and treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791507/

8. Jalaluddin M, Rajasekaran UB, Paul S, Dhanya RS, Sudeep CB, Adarsh VJ. Comparative Evaluation of Neem Mouthwash on Plaque and Gingivitis: A Double-blind Crossover Study. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2017;18(7):567-571. DOI:10.5005/jp-journals-10024-2085

9. Pai MR, Acharya LD, Udupa N. Evaluation of antiplaque activity of Azadirachta indica leaf extract gel--a 6-week clinical study. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;90(1):99-103. DOI:10.1016/j.jep.2003.09.035

10. Almas K. The antimicrobial effects of extracts of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Salvadora persica (Arak) chewing sticks. Indian J Dent Res. 1999;10(1):23-6. doi:10865390

11. Bond, C., et al. (2012). Neem oil [Fact sheet]. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/neemgen.html#whatis

12. Jones, S. (n.d.). Neem oil. http://www.aos.org/orchids/orchid-pests-diseases/neem-oil.aspx

13. Lakshmi, T., et al. (2015). Azadirachta indica: A herbal panacea in dentistry – An update. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4441161/

14. Malaria. (2019). https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/malaria/index.html

15. “Neem (Azadirachta indica).” Natural Standard: Professional Monograph.http://naturalstandard.com/databases 

16. Maity P, Biswas K, Chattopadhyay I, Banerjee RK, Bandyopadhyay U. The use of neem for controlling gastric hyperacidity and ulcer. Phytother Res. 2009;23(6):747-55. DOI:10.1002/ptr.2721

17. Paul R, Prasad M, Sah NK. Anticancer biology of Azadirachta indica L (neem): a mini-review. Cancer Biol Ther. 2011;12(6):467-76. DOI:10.4161/cbt.12.6.16850

18. Abiy E, Gebre-michael T, Balkew M, Medhin G. Repellent efficacy of DEET, MyggA, neem (Azedirachta indica) oil and chinaberry (Melia azedarach) oil against Anopheles arabiensis, the principal malaria vector in Ethiopia. Malar J. 2015;14:187. DOI:10.1186/s12936-015-0705-4

See: Mastic Gum Health Benefits & Side Effects

Get a Consultation
(650) 539-4545
Get more information via email