Neem tree has had a major role in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian folk medicine for centuries and it is still one of the most commonly used medicinal plant in India as well as some other countries in East Asia.In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, it is known as “nimba”, derived from the phrase “nimbati swastyamdadati”, meaning “to give good health”.Azadirachta indica is sometimes confused with Melia azedarach (Chinaberry). The two species are closely related as both belong to the same family Maliaceae and have a similar medicinal effect.The healing properties of neem are mainly due to neem oil which contains bitter substances, like triterpenes (limonoids), azadirachtin,etc.
Neem contains beta-sitosterol, tannins, polysaccharides, flavonoids and essential oil. The bark, leaves, seeds and the small branches of neem are all used in herbal medicines. The oil obtained from seeds (up to 50%) is also used medicinally. Oil from seeds is often referred to as margosa oil.
The leaves and bark of neem have a bitter taste and are mostly used in tea form, often combined with other herbs such as spearmint and cinnamon. The flower of neem produces a nectar that can be used as a sweetener.
How to Use Neem Leaf ?
Neem leaves are used as a medicinal tea in Indonesia.It is also used as pesticide, fertilizer and animal feed. Neem leaf extract contains a clotting inhibitor and is a powerful hepato–protecting agent (protects liver). Limonoid and Triterpenes are found in neem leaves which show similar effects. Neem leaves are also known to contain nimbin, nimbinen, nimbolide, nimandial, ninbinene and other beneficial compounds that have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents. Gedunin and nimbidol found in the leaves of neem are powerful antifungal agents that destroy fungi which causes athlete foot, ringworm and nail fungus.
Neem leaves are effective in treatment of leprosy, eye-problems, epistaxis, intestinal worms, anorexia, biliousness and skin ulcers.
Neem Leaves To Cure Skin Conditions
- Boil a cup of neem leaves in water till the leaves are soft and discolored and the water turns green. Strain and store the solution in a bottle. You can add some of this water in your regular bathing water to get rid of acne, infection and body odour.
- You can also try grinding a few neem leaves with some water to make a neem face pack.This face pack works shows wonders against pimple and acne problems.This can be used to treat minor wounds as well.
- They are effective for lightening scars and pigmentation caused by acne.You can cure any kind of skin infection with neem.Just mix turmeric with neem paste and apply it on your body.
- Neem leaves can also be used as a skin toner. You just need to dip a cotton ball in boiled neem water and wipe your face with it.This treatment will clear acne, scars, pigmentation and black heads.
- You can also use orange peel and neem to prepare a face pack using neem leaves. All you need to do is boil neem leaves with small segments of orange peel in a little water.
- Add little yoghurt, honey and milk on your face to form a smooth paste. Apply this to your face and wash it off when it dries. This will clear acne,break outs, white heads and even reduce the appearance of pores.
Other Uses of Neem Leaves
Chicken Pox : Neem leaves can be used as a post chicken pox treatment.A patient is always advised to take a bath with neem water to soothe his skin and prevent additional spreading of the infection. The juice of neem leaves is used on pox effected areas, especially for children.
Eye-wash : You can boil fresh neem leaves in water for about ten minutes and let it cool completely. Then use this water as an eye wash during conjunctivitis and irritation of the eyes.
Injuries and wounds : A burn injury and wound can be healed faster with the usage of neem water. The application of neem water on burnt surfaces helps to recover the skin faster and also protects against allergies and infections on the infected area.
Hair and scalp : You can apply a paste made of neem leaves boiled in water and honey on your hair. This helps to tame the frizz.
Add a cup of fresh neem leaves to boiling water, and use this water to rinse your hair after shampooing your hair. The anti-bacterial property of neem helps to treat dry scalp, dandruff and hair fall issues.
Common Cold, Herpes and Influenza : Neem leaves are considered safe to be consumed internally on a regular basis. Neem leaves relieve the symptoms associated with viral infections including common cold, herpes, influenza and chicken pox. Eating neem leaves helps in reducing fever associated with viral infection.
Insect bites : Neem leaves are also effective in treating poisons and insects bites. This is due to anti-clotting agents that reside in a neem leaf extract.
Ulcer and Inflammation : Neem leaves are also used in treatment of ulcers and inflammation as they have significant anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer activity.
How to Use Neem Oil ?
Neem oil is extracted from the neem seed kernel present inside neem fruit. Neem oil is composed of two major compounds namely azadirachtin and triterpenoid which gives neem oil its antiseptic, antifungal, antipyretic and antihistamine properties. The two compounds are responsible for the strong and pungent aroma of neem oil. Pure neem oil is loaded with fatty acids, alkaloids and sterols like campesterol, stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol.
How is Neem Oil Extracted ?
Neem oil takes is of colours like stark-red, green-brown, yellow-brown, golden-yellow and dark-brown. This totally depends upon the method of neem oil extraction. The process of crushing seed kernel could be cold pressing or 40 to 45°c temperature control pressing. Neem oil can also be extracted as solvent extraction but this method lowers product quality.
Neem Oil for Aroma Therapy
The oil extracted from neem flowers is used in aromatherapy – as it has a restorative and calming effect on the body. For this reason, neem flower oil is an important ingredient in various creams and massage oils.You need to be careful before applying it directly on skin as it is highly potent and can cause irritation on your skin. You can blend neem oil along with other oils (coconut oil, olive oil) and then use it.
Neem Oil for Hair
The regenerative properties of neem help in reducing hair fall. Massaging your scalp with neem oil can improve blood circulation in your scalp and help in enhancing the rate of your hair growth.You can also mix neem oil with any of your favorite carrier oils (like olive, coconut, jojoba, etc.) as well.
Neem Oil for Skin Infections
- Neem oil has attributed antibacterial properties, you can just dilute neem oil with water and add 100 ml of this concoction to your bathing water. This remedy helps treat skin allergies.
- Blackheads are really embarrassing, but with neem, you probably don’t have to worry. Diluting neem oil with water and applying it to your blackheads can help a lot.You just have to ensure that you don’t use more than 2 to 3 drops of neem oil.
Neem Oil form Psoriasis
Neem oil works as a wonders for psoriasis. The most common problem associated with this disease is dryness and scaling. Neem oil helps in getting rid of itchiness and irritation. It also helps in keeping the skin moisturized, thus reducing the dryness and scaling on your skin.
The antibacterial properties of oil also prevents the development of any other skin infections (like eczema).
Other Uses of Neem Oil
- Ageing : The compounds in neem give it, its regenerative properties that help the skin fight pathogens below the surface, thus keeping the skin supple and young for a longer time.Applying diluted neem oil to your face or adding neem powder to your face packs can delay the signs of aging and keep your skin healthy.
- Leprosy : Neem seed oil can be used to treat leprosy as well. An Egyptian study claims that neem is non-mutagenic, which means it doesn’t lead to any undesirable changes in the DNA of an individual .
- Anti-fertility : Neem oil can be used as a spermicide as well. Neem oil, when applied intra-vaginally before sexual intercourse, prevents pregnancy in human beings . Neem leaf extracts can also reduce male fertility – which could be a downside if not taken properly and in adequate amounts. However, in a study, neem oil had blocked spermatogenesis (the production of male sex cells) in males without affecting the production of testosterone.It may be used as a natural alternative to vasactomy.
- Arthritis : A massage with neem oil is effective in relieving muscle aches and joint paint and helps alleviate rheumatism, osteoarthritis and lower back pain.
- Asthma : Neem oil aids in asthma treatment and also helps control phlegm, fever, and cough. You can have a few drops of neem oil every day and then increase the dose gradually.
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- Oral Health : Neem oil plays a major role in treating of gum disease as well. Mouthwashes that contain neem extracts inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans(a bacteria that causes oral issues) in the mouth. .
- Nail ailments : Researchers claim to use neem oil to treat more than 60 types of nail fungus. The oil is applied to the affected area numerous times in a day until the infection heals.
Benefits of Other Parts of Neem
- Neem Bark : The bark of a neem tree contains spermicidal properties and can be used as a potential contraceptive for both men and women. It can be dried and grinded to form a powder which can be consumed orally. This powder has analgesic properties, and can help to cure fever.
- Neem Flowers : Neem flowers have sweet honey like smell,and thus they are used in aroma therapy for a calming and restorative effect. The flowers of neem can help in bile suppression, elimination of intestinal worms and phlegm when consumed orally.
- Neem Roots : It consists of medicinal properties like antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and germicidal properties. It can be used as pesticide to control fleas and ticks on pets.
- Neem cake : When neem seeds have been pressed for oil, the resulting by-product is known to be neem cake. In agriculture it is considered to be an effective pesticide, fertilizer and anti bacterial, antifungal, organic alternative to antibiotics in live stock.
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- Neem twigs : Neem twigs are used as brushes, tooth pastes and mouth washes. It can cure cough, asthma, piles, phantom tumor, intestinal worms, spermatorrhoea, obstinate urinary disorders and diabetes.
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