Neem is the name of a tree that is used in Ayurvedic approaches. One of the main ways that the neem plant is harvested for the purposes of Ayurveda is that the juice of the leaves is used in a variety of ways. People use neem oil topically, internally, and even as a toothpaste. On this page we go over some of the main uses of Neem benefits in Ayurvedic medicine, but of course we suggest you make sure you get a tested formula and if you are going to take it internally check with a healthcare provider first.
The Neem tree is impressive. It can be over 100 feet tall. You may hear it referred to as an Indian lilac. This is a tropical evergreen tree that can be at least partially harvested for medicinal uses since its bark, leaves, fruit, and flowers are used. You could even harvest at least some of its roots if you are sure you know what you are doing. Of course most people reading this may not live where the Neem tree grows, or may not have access to a neem tree to harvest, so you are likely looking for a pre-made formula.
The most common benefits of neem involves its leaves. Neem leaves have been known to purify your system, reported to contain antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic ingredients.
Be particularly cautious with neem if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. Neem has been reported to be toxic to infants. Do not use neem if you are under 13 and even if you are older than that you should check with a doctor before using neem, particularly internally.
The benefits of neem have been widely reported, including:
- Neem leaf has been used for stomach upset including loss of appetite, some skin problems, gum disease, and liver issues. In these cases the Neem leaf is ground and used as a pill, or used topically on the gums.
- Neem bark has been used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, and for reducing fevers. Again, this means grinding the bark and using it in a capsule or pill form. (And of course this requires the production by someone who knows how to ensure you get the right amount.)
- Neem flower and seeds has been used lowering mucus and addressing some intestinal issues. It is possible that you could chew the flower or take the seeds whole, but you need to make sure they have been minimally processed to get rid of any bacteria or foreign substances that may be on them.
- Neem fruit has been used to treat hemorrhoids and to reduce the chances of infection from wounds. Again, it is possible that you might just eat the fruit, but you need to get guidance on how much to eat and how to ensure that you do not get unwanted effects.
- Neem branches can be ground and used to reduce some symptoms of the common cold, to treat urinary problems, and to reduce the symptoms of diabetes.
- Processed Neem, in the form of an oil or paste, can treat many skin issues and can also both moisturize skin and repel insects. Processed Neem in the form of a pill may be able to reduce blood sugar levels and heal ulcers, while neem produces as a paste can be used to both kill bacteria and prevent plaque when used as a toothpaste
A Neem Medicinal Routine
You could use neem oil and neem cream in your daily routine, as follows:
- Start by brushing your teeth using toothpaste containing neem. This may lead to cleaner teeth and better breath. It may also keep your gums healthy.
- Also use a more concentrated mixture of neem oil on any spots where you are worried about acne breakouts, or where you have any skin irritation caused by dryness.
- Is your stomach feeling uneasy or do you feel bloated? That is a great reason to take some neem internally.
- Do you feel a cold coming on, or do you have a few mild symptoms? That is a great reason to take some neem supplements.
Non Medicinal Benefits of Neem
Neem and Neem oil have benefits that go beyond Ayurveda. Neem is also an ingredient in many hygienic products, including:
- In soaps neem can be used as a helpful oil. The neem oil is cleansing but is most often used in soap for its positive effect on skin. Of course the easiest way to do this, and something you can do at home, is to add the neem oil to liquid soap.
- As a bath oil, just a few drops of Neem in the bath can help soften your skin and make it look nice when you dry off.
- Another non-medicinal benefit of Neem is as a bug repellent. In this case a lotion with a main ingredient of neem is used.
While our main purpose is to cover Ayurvedic Medicine, as you can see the benefits of neem include a bunch of non-medicinal possibilities.
Neem Oil Recipe
The juice of the Neem plant is harvested by crushing the leaves until a paste forms. At that point the paste is applied directly to the skin. The result that has been reported is refreshed
and healthy looking skin. Many people have described an anti-aging effect when Neem leaves are used in this way, and it may also address certain blemishes. Skin treated by Neem has been described as healthy looking and even glowing.
Be careful when making any herbal recipe for the first time, since you may need to control for the strength and purity of the resulting product. It may be helpful to get some guidance from an herbalist or someone able to walk you through the best way to make this kind of paste.
Neem Cream and Ayurvedic Medicine
As far as specific Ayurvedic approaches the Neem leaf can balance Pitta dosha, one of the mind-body types in ayurveda that we will explore elsewhere. It is said to remove ama (a toxin) and other toxins from the body while neutralizing free radicals. Finally, Neem juice is said to detoxify and purify blood. While some of these statements have not been carefully researched, they have been reported for generations in India.
You will find neem products in any Ayurvedic medicine store or online outlet. Ayurvedic medicine is complicated and fascinating, and we would suggest that you get some guidance from an experienced practitioner before starting a neem regimen, and before choosing a neem product. This ingredient would more likely be a part of a combination approach to help you reach your goals.
Buying Neem Products
If you are going to buy a Neem products you should look for the following qualities:
- How is it grown? You want the Neem plant that will be used to have been grown organically with natural fertilizers and other chemicals.
- How is it processed? You also want it processed naturally, and in the US the best way to ensure that is to look for a formula that is “certified USDA organic”
You may also want to be sure it is non-GMO (not genetically modified) and cruelty free (not tested on animals)
- At first at least do not buy a neem product that is a mixed formula. Just in case you experience side effects you don;t want to have to guess which ingredient caused them.
Where to buy neem
You will also want to look into the store or distributor when researching where to get Neem products. For example:
- Look at unbiased customer feedback about the store or site. Some large sites like Amazon publish reviews that include customer comments about distributors. Otherwise search social media to find reviews.
- Make sure you know the return policy of the store, especially when ordering neem products on-line. If the product is not exactly what you wanted you need to be able to return or at least exchange it.
- Compare prices, but make sure you are comparing apples to apples – compare by dose and only compare high quality products. The cheapest product may not be the best one, but you should not have to pay top price either.
Neem and Neem Oil Summary
Neem is a super herbal remedy used commonly in India for a variety of medicinal and hygenic reasons. It’s non-medicinal uses include as a body lotion or shampoo, and as a pesticide. Its medicinal uses include reducing skin breakouts, helping with diarrhea and indigestion, and possibly generally providing a healthy cleanse.
Some good information about neem and neem oil benefits can be found at:
- Mother Earth News which provides a great all-around look and information about the potential medicinal qualities of the neem tree
- The Times of India lists all of the reported benefits of neem
- Of course Wikipedia also weighs in and provides a great detailed background of the neem plant and its medicinal uses
Please let us know the benefits of neem that you experiences. Also write if you have any questions about neem or neem oil.