Benefits Of Neem: How To Use Its Leaves, Powder And Oil
Neem is one incredible tree with amazing benefits. From its bark to its flower, every part has some medicinal value. Read on to know how you can reap those benefits.
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The Neem, Azadirachta Indica, is as sacred as it is ancient. According to the Vedas, neem is referred to as ‘Sarva Rog Nivarini’ which means one that cures all ailments. Neem is also called the margosa tree and is used in Homeopathy, Unani, and Ayurveda. Even modern-day medicines explore it as a healthy ingredient, thanks to the exceptional healing benefits of Neem.
Neem is a tropical and evergreen tree, and every part of the tree, including the bark, flowers, and leaves, is used for various kinds of treatments. Neem leaves contain flavonoids, polyphenols, sulfurous, and polysaccharides that battle with free radicals and prevent various chronic diseases. Neem has a bio-active compound called Azadirachta which is an anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antimalarial, antiviral antioxidant, anti-fungal, and whatnot. Read ahead to know more about its benefits, uses, and side effects.
Table of Contents
The Benefits of Neem Leaves
Here we listed 8 surprising health benefits that neem leaves offer us.
1. Healing Wounds
Neem leaves contain antibacterial agents that make them effective for curing several infections, wounds, burns, and other skin problems. Neem kills the bacteria responsible for infections and aids in quick healing.
2. Helpful In Eye Problems
Too much screen time will cause your eyes to strain, leading to redness, tiredness, and even irritation. Neem leaves are a wonderful home remedy for all those eye problems. Wash neem leaves, boil them, and then let them cool down before washing your eyes with the water.
3. Effective For Ear Disorders
Acute earaches are not something anyone ever wants to deal with. And if you can’t get to a doctor right away, add a few drops of fresh neem juice in your ear for near-instant relief.
Read here a comprehensive list of fruits starting with letter N.
4. Plaque Removal
Small particles of sugary and starchy food are often stuck in our teeth and they all lead to the growth of plaque and even destroy the tooth enamel in the long run. A gel made of neem leaf extract decreases plaque if used regularly. It can also treat Gingivitis, a mild gum disease.
5. May Ward Off Acne And Wrinkles
Poor diet, pollution, and hormonal changes may cause acne and all you really need to do is make a paste of neem leaves and apply it to your face. Neem leaves are effective for fixing dark spots, uneven skin, and chronic ulcers. Neem leaves contain powerful anti-aging properties that give you hydrated, soft, and younger-looking skin.
A study on hairless mice shows that neem leaves extract is beneficial for aging signs such as losing elasticity, dryness, and wrinkles (1).
6. Can Cure Skin Diseases
Some skin diseases can be painful and embarrassing especially itching. Being a powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial agent, neem leaves can ease the symptoms of skin diseases such as itching, ringworms, and eczema.
7. Effective For Dandruff And Lice
Dandruff-prone scalps need special attention and care, especially in winter. You can boil a few bunches of neem leaves till the water turns green. Let it cool down for some time and rinse your hair with this solution after shampooing. Neem water works really well as a cleanser and conditioner. Clinical research shows that shampoos containing neem leaves extract can get rid of head lice in children (2).
8. May Prevent Diabetes
Neem leaves are loaded with flavonoids, triterpenoids, and glycosides that keep your blood sugar in check. The leaves improve blood circulation and decrease insulin requirement, which in turn reduces oxidative stress as well as blood sugar levels. Neem has hypoglycemic or blood sugar lowering properties.
According to a study, neem leaf and seed extracts were given to rabbits for four weeks and it reduced their glucose levels significantly (3).
How To Make Neem Powder?
Neem leaves are sun-dried for at least 2 days to dry out their moisture. Completely dry and crisp neem leaves can be ground to make a fine powder and it needs to be stored in an airtight container for longevity.
Uses Of Neem Powder
According to Ayurveda, neem leaves balance the pitta and Kapha dosha and help in vatta ailments.
- Neem contains antioxidants, flavonoids, glycosides, and anti-viral compounds that are beneficial in balancing the blood sugar levels of the body. Journal Studies On Ethno Medicine found that neem powder is helpful in controlling diabetic symptoms.
- Neem powder purifies the blood, battles free radicals that cause illness and premature aging. It can be used directly on the skin to get rid of skin problems such as eczema, acne, and blackheads. Neem powder works as a toner and hydrates and nourishes the skin.
- You can apply neem powder on your hair with lemon juice and rinse it off after 15-20 minutes. This will remove dandruff and condition the hair.
- Neem powder contains antibacterial, anti-fungal properties that keep infections at bay. Additionally, neem powder aids the immune system when taken orally. A high intake of neem powder can lead to kidney and liver damage thus always consult your health expert before consuming it.
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. Neem oil is yellowish-brown in color. It has a bitter taste, almost like garlic or sulfur. The oil is widely used as a natural pesticide and contains oleic acid, paltimic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, vitamins C and E, and carotenoids. Additionally, it’s used in cosmetic soaps, toothpaste and pet shampoos.
We reviewed neem-based products by ITC “Nimwash” to wash fruits and veggies. Is it effective and worth buying?
Neem Oil Benefits
Neem oil extracted from fresh neem leaves is as healthy and beneficial as leaves itself. Read further the benefits of neem oil.
1. Can Prevent Chronic Ailments
Neem oil is considered one of the best home remedies for various physical issues. The presence of Omega 3, carotenoids, and antioxidants in it help to control and cure various ailments such as inflammation, blood clotting, joint pain, stiffness, cellular damage, redness and swelling, athlete’s foot, nail fungus, cold sores, scabies, and more.
A study on nine people shows that neem oil is a promising treatment when it comes to the healing of post-surgical scalp wounds without any side effects (4).
2. Promotes Skin-Health
Neem oil is rich in oleic acid, carotenoids, and antioxidants that combat signs of aging such as premature wrinkles and fine lines. It boosts collagen production, regenerates, and hydrates skin. Moreover, neem oil can prevent acne, skin damage, future breakouts, and hyper-pigmentation.
A study says that neem oil has effective antibacterial properties which can be used for long-term acne treatment (5).
3. Maintains Hair Health
Neem oil is abundant in Omega- 6, stearic acid, and vitamin E that contains cleansing, conditioning, and moisturizing properties. Neem oil helps in making hair stronger, thicker, soft, supple, and dandruff-free. Instead of using chemical hair products, start using neem oil for your hair and see the results for yourself.
Selection And Application Of Neem Oil
We must always choose pure, cold-pressed, and organic neem oil for our skin and hair. The original neem oil is slightly yellow-brown in color with a sulfur-like taste, something we find in onions and garlic. And it needs to be stored in a cool and dry place.
A patch test is always recommended before using any new product thus apply a small amount of neem oil on your arm to see its reaction. If you don’t notice any irritation, redness, or swelling, you are good to go. If you are using it for acne, warts, moles or fungal infection, you must apply it directly to the affected area with a cotton swab. Being a slightly thick and potent oil, neem oil can be mixed with some other carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, almond to avail its maximum benefits.
A Word Of Caution
- Neem oil can be toxic therefore we shouldn’t consume or ingest it. The allergic reaction to neem oil includes hives, rashes, and breathing difficulty. The use of neem oil must be discontinued immediately and a doctor’s consultation is required if the condition persists.
- Studies don’t suggest the use of neem oil on children hence it should be avoided. Or better still, ask a doctor.
- There is no evidence to prove if neem oil is safe for pregnant and lactating mothers or not. It’s best avoided in such situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have answered a few interesting FAQs about neem leaves.
1. What are the side effects of Neem Leaves?
Undoubtedly, neem leaves have numerous benefits when consumed adequately. Excessive amounts of its consumption are harmful and may cause side effects in the liver and kidneys in adults.
Neem seed and neem oil can be harmful to infants and small children when taken by mouth, which can cause side effects such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and drowsiness.
2. Is it good to eat Neem Leaves everyday?
Consumption of a few leaves every day will cure stomach issues. Also, neem leaves juice helps in getting rid of bad bacteria and hence makes the stomach healthy.
Besides this, it boosts metabolism, which further helps in burning unwanted fats and enhances weight loss.
3. Can we take Neem and Turmeric together?
Yes. The blend of neem and turmeric helps in treating minor cuts and wounds. Turmeric and neem, when consumed together, clean the intestine and keep the digestive system sound. Also, these herbs work great in curing skin problems too.
4. What are the Benefits of Drinking Neem Tea?
Being rich in antioxidants and having anti-inflammatory properties, drinking neem tea has soothing effects for patients having chronic diseases such as arthritis. Apart from this, it boosts metabolism and helps in weight loss.
In addition, it is rich in Vitamin C and minerals. It also helps in controlling fever and gives relief in pain.
5. Is Neem good for High Blood Pressure?
Having neem tea or neem extract can help in lowering blood pressure, this is because of the antihistamine effects of neem leaves.
The neem tree comes with outstanding medicinal properties. It grows easily and doesn’t require much attention. And it helps to prevent various ailments – from treating a minor infection to controlling diabetes.
But before you start using neem oil or even the powder, do an allergy test to make sure you’re not going to end up with hives and rashes.