Naeem Trees are native to India and known as ‘Azadirachta indica.’ For centuries, the plant and its various parts have been used in traditional Asian medicine. This article takes a deep dive to explain its potential health benefits. Please read on to educate you about the many health benefits of Neem.
It has been used as a pain reliever, fever reducer, and infection healing treatment, and its twigs have been used to clean teeth. Neem leaves have been a traditional medicine for centuries now and have been talked into offering various health benefits. It contains more than 130 different biological compounds, such as Nimbin and Nimandial, that promote health and wellness.
The tree’s leaves are not the only part of the tree that offers health benefits. Its seed, roots, stem, flower, fruit, and bark contain compounds with many medicinal and aesthetic properties. However, you may be curious about whether or not these claims have any truth to them.
What is Neem?
A Neem is a unique and popular medicinal plant called “the village pharmacy” because its parts can be used, including leaves, flowers, seeds, fruit, roots, and bark. Some of these applications can be traced back thousands of years to ancient manuscripts.
It has been discovered that various plant parts have been isolated as having more than 140 diverse, active compounds. These active compounds give Neem antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, wound-healing, and antidiabetic properties .
Research into Neem is ongoing despite not knowing the exact mechanism by which it works.
Every part of Neem has its value and uses depending on the benefits it contains. Let us take a look at how all the parts of Neem can be beneficial to us:
Neem leaves are used for eye disorders, leprosy, intestinal worms, bloody nose, stomach upset, skin ulcers, loss of appetite, fever, heart diseases, blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), and gum disease (gingivitis), diabetes, and liver problems. In addition to providing birth control, the leaves are also used for medicinal purposes .
The bark treats malaria, stomach ulcers, pain, skin disease, and fever.
Neem flower extracts reduce bile, control phlegm, and kill intestinal worms. By this means, the flower of the neem tree is also known to serve as an antiseptic that can further cleanse the system when consumed .
Neem flowers are incorporated into many dishes in southern India due to this reason. For example, a unique dish known as Ugadi Pachadi, which consists of jaggery and neem leaves, was traditionally served during Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka’s New Year celebrations.
In Ayurveda, it is recommended to incorporate it into summer dishes to cool down.
According to Ayurveda, the neem flower is described as cooling. That is why it is recommended that Neem be used in summer dishes.
The fruit is used for hemorrhoids, urinary tract disorders, intestinal worms, bloody nose, diabetes, eye disorders, wounds, phlegm, and leprosy.
Neem fruit oil is extracted by pressing the fruit, which can then be applied to the scalp to remove dandruff and serve as a preventative measure for dandruff. Furthermore, the extracted oil can be an effective repellent for mosquitoes and can also be found in many commercially available room fresheners .
Neem twigs are used for asthma, cough, hemorrhoids, low sperm levels, urinary disorders, intestinal worms, and diabetes. It is common for people in the tropics to chew neem twigs instead of using toothbrushes, but this can cause illness in some cases. Neem twigs contain fungi as soon as they are harvested, so they should not be chewed after harvest .
Medicinal uses include treating leprosy and intestinal worms with seed and seed oil. Birth control can also be accomplished with the seeds .
Stems, root bark, and fruit are used to treat wounds and as an astringent.
Furthermore, used as a mosquito repellent, skin softener, and for treating head lice, skin diseases, and wounds, Neem is applied directly to the skin. Insecticides are also made from Neem .
How healthy is neem oil?
Traditionally, neem oil is obtained from the seeds of the tropical neem tree, also called Indian lilac. Due to its vast benefits, it is planted and used all over India. There are hardly a few houses in India where you don’t find Neem tree.
The use of neem oil as a folk remedy has a long history, and it has been used to treat many different conditions. Despite its harsh smell, it has a lot of fatty acids and other nutrients, making it an ideal ingredient for cosmetics products, body lotions, skin creams, and hair products .
In some studies, neem oil has been shown to have many skin health benefits. However, many of the studies included very small sample sizes, or they were not done on humans.
As concerns its safety, It’s safe to use neem oil, but it’s extremely powerful. Those with sensitive skin conditions like eczema may experience adverse reactions.
If you are using neem oil for the first time, apply a small amount diluted on a small part of your body away from your face. The oil should be further diluted if redness or itching develops, or the oil should be avoided altogether in such cases.
The ingredients in neem oil have tremendous benefits for the skin. The following are a few of them:
- Fatty acids (EFA)
- Vitamin E
There are several ways to use it in beauty regimens and to care for the skin:
- You can treat wrinkles and dry skin with these products.
- Enhance collagen production
- Heal wounds
- Reduce scars
- Reduce moles and warts
- Treat acne
Other skin disorders may also be treated with Neem oil, including psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea.
How does it work?
The chemical compounds found in Neem may help to reduce blood sugar levels, heal digestive tract ulcers, prevent conception, kill bacteria, and reduce plaque formation in the mouth.
Ayurveda’s use of Neem
According to an ancient healing tradition called Ayurveda, Neem can treat illnesses such as asthma, cough, stomach ulcers, diabetes, indigestion, gum disease, constipation, urinary tract infection, and others .
Potential health benefits of Neem
The science behind Neem is currently in its early stages. Still, its potential health benefits include managing blood sugar and improving the appearance and health of hair, skin, teeth, liver, and kidneys.
It is imperative to conduct further human studies.
Following are some potential health benefits of Neem:
Promote hair health
Neem seed extract contains the Azadirachtin compound. Azadirachtin can fight parasites that cause hair loss and skin damage, such as lice. Azadirachtin disrupts parasite growth by interfering with reproduction and other cellular processes.
A study that tested a neem-based shampoo on head lice in children found that it killed lice while being gentle on the skin when left on the hair for 10 minutes.
Fungal growth on the scalp may cause scalp irritation and dandruff. Several chemicals in neem oil, including Nimbin, which are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, may also effectively treat dandruff .
Improve oral and dental health
Across the world, neem bark is chewed to promote oral hygiene. Due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties, Neem may be beneficial to dental health. Neem is known to treat gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay symptoms, although more research is needed .
Additionally, test-tube studies have indicated that Neem may reduce bacteria’s ability to colonize your teeth, thus lowering plaque formation.
Furthermore, a study on 45 people with gingivitis found that neem mouthwash reduces gum bleeding and plaque just as effectively as chlorhexidine mouthwash – a heavy-duty prescription mouthwash.
Promote kidney and liver health
Neem’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help fight oxidative stress and, as a result, help maintain kidney and liver health.
Free radicals cause oxidative stress by increasing the number of unstable molecules in the body. While free radicals are created naturally by the body’s metabolism, external sources can exacerbate their presence .
Certain types of medication, such as cancer medications, painkillers, and anti-psychotics, can cause oxidative stress and liver and kidney damage.
According to an observation made in one study on rats, surprisingly, acetaminophen-induced liver damage could be reduced by neem leaf extract.
Similar results were seen in a second rat study, suggesting that neem extract was able to reduce kidney damage caused by chemotherapy .
Human studies are, however, needed.
Studies on animals suggest that neem leaf extract may prove effective as new diabetes medication.
Due to the fact that neem extract helps revive cells that make insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels) and possibly lower blood sugar levels .
Human studies, however, are lacking.
Improve skin health
There are several fatty acids in neem seed oil, including oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. These fatty acids’ anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties make them beneficial for skin health .
Neem has been used for treating acne, reducing blemishes, and improving skin elasticity .
Research shows that the antibacterial properties of neem oil help combat acne. An in vitro study found that neem oil can be used to treat acne when added to solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs). A stable release of active ingredients is a significant benefit of the SLNs .
Human studies, however, are necessary here too.
Researchers have found that taking neem extract orally for 12 weeks, sun exposure daily, and applying coal tar and salicylic acid cream to their skin will reduce their psoriasis symptoms.
Even though Neem is used in Ayurvedic medicine to cure psoriasis and eczema, there is little scientific research to back up these claims.
Ulcer and wound healing
It has been reported that taking 30-60 mg of neem bark extract twice daily by mouth for ten weeks can help heal stomach and intestinal ulcers.
According to animal studies, neem leaf extract promotes wound healing by increasing the inflammation response and creating new blood vessels.
According to a study published in 2013, Chronic skin ulcers were cured by administering 100 mg of neem oil topically twice daily.
In another trial, 6 persons with intestinal ulcers were given 30 mg of neem extract twice a day orally. The ulcers were almost completely healed after 10 weeks after taking the extract.
Nonetheless, this was modest research. More human studies are required .
Some more potential benefits of Neem
The oils in Neem provide excellent moisturizing properties for the skin. With neem oil, your skin can feel and look more transparent and younger because of the fatty acids and vitamins in the oil.
Neem oil contains vitamin E, which helps to heal damaged skin while also limiting the effects of environmental changes that might cause skin damage.
Many companies now market neem leaf capsules for better immunity and bath powders, shampoos, skin lotions, and toothpaste containing Neem.
In addition to acting as a great preventative measure against dengue, it is also an excellent insect repellent.
Further studies in humans are needed to determine whether Neem has other health benefits.
Neem root and leaf extract has been shown in early research to repel black flies from the skin. Furthermore, neem oil cream appears to protect against certain types of mosquitoes .
Limonoids are the active compounds found in Neem. Studies in mice suggested that limonoids are as effective as conventional treatment, chloroquine, in destroying malaria-infected cells.
However, some test-tube studies found that neem extract had no positive impact on malaria outcomes. Currently, Neem is not widely used to treat malaria .
The antifertility properties of Neem make it an attractive alternative to vasectomy surgery. In a vasectomy, testicles are removed surgically to prevent the release of sperm.
The sperm of animals can be immobilized and killed by Neem without any long-term side effects .
Several anti-dandruff shampoos contain Neem as an ingredient. Despite the lack of research supporting the use of Neem, it may be an antimicrobial and an anti-inflammatory plant that may help reduce the symptoms of dandruff .
According to the results of a small study, Neem is effective against lice and nits. Although only 12 children with lice in the study were treated with Neem’s shampoo, they were completely lice- and nit-free. After the treatment, there were no side effects and no evidence of lice .
The anti-aging benefits of Neem are well-known. Neem helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays, pollution, and other environmental factors thanks to its antioxidant properties. Among its many benefits, Neem is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that increase the skin’s elasticity and reduce wrinkles. As a result, your skin appears more youthful and vibrant .
Neem helps to fight fungal infections as well. Antifungal and antibacterial properties stop the growth of bacteria and fungi. These properties protect the skin and keep skin-related diseases from occurring.
After knowing lots of benefits of Neem, let us now discuss some side effects of Neem .
As long as they are taken for a short period of time, neem supplements are generally safe for adults. The maximum dose used in clinical trials has been 60 milligrams (mg) per day for a few weeks.
For instance, Neem might be considered SAFE for most adults if taken by mouth for up to 10 weeks, applied to the skin for up to 6 weeks, or applied internally for up to 2 weeks. A large dose of Neem taken over prolonged periods is possibly unsafe. It may cause kidney damage and liver damage .
However, it is unclear whether neem supplements are safe for long-term use. In some cases, Neem can cause kidney damage and liver damage if it is overused. Neem may also decrease sperm counts, according to some studies.
Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take neem supplements as there is not enough safety research on these groups. Studies have shown that extracts of high concentrations may induce labor in some cases, but it is not scientifically proven. Even so, it’s recommended to stay away from Neem in such cases.
The use of neem lotions on the skin is thought to be harmless. Neem oil can also be used, but it must be diluted with a non-irritating carrier oil such as almond oil to avoid inflammation. It is not recommended to use neem oil internally in some cases.
Appropriate Neem Dosage
Several factors affect the dose of Neem, including the individual’s age, health, and other conditions. There is insufficient scientific data to determine an appropriate range of doses for Neem. The proper dosage is essential when it comes to natural products as well. Use of the product should be based on instructions on the product label and with the advice of your pharmacist, physician, or other healthcare professionals .
Neem products are derived from every part of the Indian lilac tree. Natural neem remedies have been used for various illnesses in the past.
Neem is increasingly popular among those looking for natural pesticides. Some use it to maintain the health of their hair and teeth.
Neem as a cosmetic is generally safe, but a test patch should be done first, and people should speak to their doctors before using neem products on children.
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