Health Benefits and Uses of Neem, Neem Oil and Neem Leaves
History & General Information About Neem
Latin Name : Azadirachta indica
Neem tree is also called as Margosa tree or Indian lilac.
In East Africa, it is called Muarubiani, which 'means tree of the 40' since it is said to treat 40 diseases.
In India, it is called the 'Sacred tree' and 'the village pharmacy' amongst other names.
Neem is an evergreen tree, native to India and Pakistan. It grows in tropical and semi tropical regions. The tree reaches a height of 50 to 70 feet. The flowers are small and white with a sweet smell while the fruit is yellow to greenish yellow in colour and elliptical to almost round in shape having a single seed.
The tree lives for over 200 years.
Neem is being used extensively in traditional Indian medicine and Ayurveda since almost 5000 years. Reference to the healing qualities and uses of Neem are found in ancient Unani texts and ancient Sanskrit Puranas, some of which have been written as far back as the 4th A.D.
Uses Of Neem
All parts of the Neem tree right from the fruit to the roots is used in one or many ways.
They are widely used in Ayurveda. The leaf extract is used in toothpastes, skin products and mouthwashes. It is also used in making creams for local application. The leaves are also used in making Neem tea and in capsule form. The leaves are also used to extract Neem juice.
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds.
Neem Twigs and Stubs
Small and slender twigs of neem are used as a brush to clean teeth.
The bark is mainly used in making dental products or extracts are being used in making medicines.
The wood is used as a readily available firewood since Neem grows fast, needs little water and can grow in poor soils with very little care.
It is made by processing the fruits and kernels. It is a by product of Neem oil production. It is used as a fertiliser, controls insects and improves the soil quality.
Active Principles In Neem
Although studies by Indian scientists, on the principles in Neem, started in 1919, extensive research on Neem started in 1942 and continued in later years. The following are the major compounds that exhibit the various healing and other properties attributed to Neem.
The neem leaves contain Quercetin which is a flavonoid, Beta-sitosterol, a steroid and various liminoids like nimbin and its derivatives.
Quercetin is an anti bacterial and anti fungal.
Liminoids have been found to affect the the fertility in studies on houseflies, leading to cessation of their reproductive capacity. In studies on mosquitoes, liminoids have shown mutagenic properties.
The seeds are high in lipids and many bitter compounds like azadirachtin, nimbin, salannol etc. Azadirachtin is an effective insecticide against about 200 species of insects.m
In Seed Cake
The seed cake is a good source of organic manure and contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Neem Tree Worship In India
Nutrients In Neem Leaf
The main nutrients are:
- Vitamin C
- Number of amino acids
- Several fatty acids
Benefits Of The Neem Tree
Neem tree is an important source of medicine, livestock fodder and food. A special type of food for diabetics is prepared from the gum obtained from the bark of the Neem tree.
Neem tree has medicinal, cosmetic, pesticidial, environmental, culinary uses and the young neem trees act as livestock fodder.
It also provides food and shelter to wild birds.
Neem oil is extracted from seeds of the neem tree. It is a light yellow to dark brown coloured oil with a pungent smell.
Neem oil is almost always used in ayurvedic oils which are used to treat pain and inflammation.
The oil contains :
- Azadirachtin, a phyto chemical which acts as a insecticide and pest controller.
- Many plant steroids like beta sitosterol, campesterol and stigma sterol which have anti inflammatory & other properties.
- fatty acids like oleic acid or omega 9, palmitic acid and stearioc acid in good amounts & trace levels of omega 3, omega 6 and palmitoleic acid, which heal dry and damaged skin.
- some Gedunin derivatives that are liminoids & proto liminoids which have anti cancer properties.
Uses Of Neem Oil
Neem oil is used to treat many ailments like cough, fever, malaria, wounds, skin diseases like acne, inflammations & bacterial infections, arthritis, joint pains & swelling.
Neem oil is also used as an insecticide & insect repellent, is a fungicide and treats fungal infections.
Some soaps, shampoos, creams, lotions, hair oils contain neem oil.
Health Benefits Of Neem
Neem benefits in some health conditions mentioned below:
- dental disease like gingivitis, gum disease, tooth decay etc.
- respiratory disorders like bronchitis and cough.
- heart diseases, stroke, reduces blood pressure and cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
- leucorrhoea & amenorrhoea.
- arthritic & rheumatic pains, inflammations & swellings.
- skin related infections like acne, eczema, psoriasis, scabies, herpes, athlete's foot etc.
- fevers of multiple origins including malaria.
- diabetes, tumors, cancer etc.
- boosting immunity.
- acts as a spermicide in vaginal suppositories.
Herbal Uses of Neem
In Ringworm, Blood Pressure & Scabies
- Taking 25 ml of neem juice in the morning is beneficial.
- In ringworm take 12 ml of neem juice.
For Disorders Of The Blood
Neem juice purifies the blood. Chew 10 fresh leaves of neem daily in the morning for 15 days. It relieves boils, pimples and itching.
- Dry neem twigs along with leaves in the shade. Then burn them and save the ash. This ground ash can be used for brushing the teeth. Peppermint, salt & cloves can be added for taste & flavour. Brushing teeth with this powder relieves pyorrhoea and strengthens teeth.
- Boil some neem baby leaves in water & gargle with this water to relieving painful teeth.
In Chicken Pox
Boil neem leaves & eat. Also make the patient lie down on neem leaves. Change the leaves 3 times a day.
Give the patient drinking water in which juice of neem leaves has been added. All this removes the internal body heat and the pox lesions.
For Chicken Pox Marks
Grind neem leaves and apply on the face before going to bed at night. Wash it off with cold water next morning. Do it for 50 days to remove pox marks.
If the boils are in the 1st stage, grind neem leaves with water and apply on the boils. If the boil is not suppressed and contihues to grow then grind the leaves with honey and apply. This helps the boil to ripen and break open.
After the boil opens up, grind neem leaves and warm them with a little ghee. Apply this to help heal the wound faster. also, boil neem leaves in water and wash the wound with this water.
In Alopecia-Bald Spots On The head
Apply neem oil on the bald spots. It helps to grow new hair.
In Head Lice & Itching
Apply neem oil or water in which neem berry has been ground.
Take neem leaves, flowers and fruit in equal quantity. Dry all of them and grind. Take 1 tsp of this powder with water once a day.
If hairfall has just begun take neem leaves & leaves of the Jujube plant or Indian plum. Boil them in water. Wash hair with this water. It stops hairfall, keeps hair black, makes hair long and kills head lice.
For Head Lice
- Grind neem leaves and boil in water. wash hair with this water to kill lice.
- Grind the neem berry and apply on the head. It kills lice.
Take care to see that the neem water does not enter the eyes.
Grind 25 gms neem leaves and add 125 ml water to this. mix and strain. Drink this. It stops vomiting.
Grind 20 neem leaves. Add 1 cup of water, mix and drink.
In Chronic Diarrhoea
- Take 1 gm neem seeds. Add a little sugar and grind. Swallow with water and eat only rice.
- In summer diarrhoea, take 10 neem leaves and 25 gms mishri (candy sugar). Grind, add water and drink.
Take 60 gms fresh green neem leaves and 4 black peppercorns. Grind both. Add 125 ml water, mix well and strain before drinking.
In Chronic Fever
Take 21 neem leaves and 21 black peppercorns. Tie in a muslin cloth and boil in 500 ml water. When 125 ml water remains, remove from heat & cool it. Take in the morning and evening.
In Renal Stone
Swallow 1 tsp ash of neem leaves with cold water 3 times a day daily. It breaks & removes stone in a few days.
How to make ash of neem leaves
Dry neem leaves in the shade. Burn the leaves in a container. When burnt cover the container with a lid for 4 hours. Afterwards remove and grind the burnt leaves. This is neem ash.
For Loss Of Eyelash Hairs
If eyelashes are prone to hair loss - Grind fresh neem leaves and squeeze out the juice. Apply the leaves on the eyelashes. It stops hair loss.
In Blood Disorders & Tridoshas (Vaat, Pitt, Kapha)
Take 30 gms baby leaves. Grind and add water. Drink daily
Ointment For Boils
Grind 175 gms neem leaves. Put half the leaves in a copper vessel. Add mustard oil and heat the oil. When the oil starts to smoke add the remaining ground leaves to this. When the leaves turn black remove the oil from fire and cool it. Strain the oil. Add camphor and some petroleum jelly to it. The ointment can be applied on boils, ringworm, pimples and wounds for relief.
Grind neem leaves. Squeeze out the juice. Dip a cotton swab in this juice. Put it in ghee and warm it. Bandage it on the wound. This heals wounds fast, even chronic wounds that have failed to heal otherwise.
In Ringworm And Scabies
Grind 50 gms neem leaves. Mix some curd in it. Apply for relief.
In Skin Diseases
Boil neem leaves in water.
- Take bath with this water daily.
- Put 20 neem leaves in 100 ml of water. Boil and strain. Cool. Take daily on empty stomach for 3 weeks.
Dry some neem flowers. Grind them. Take a pinch of this daily at night with hot water.
To Dry Up Breast Milk
(This is necessary in case of the death of the newborn)
- Grind neem leaves and apply on the breasts.
- Grind the neem seed of a fresh neem fruit. Apply on the breast.
In Gout Swelling
- Massage with neem oil.
- Boil neem leaves in water. Foment the swelling with the emanating steam and tie the warm leaves on the swelling after fomentation.
Take 10 neem leaves and 10 tulsi leaves. Eat daily. With regular use the legs and feet return to normal.
In Ear Pain & Wounds In The Ear
Boil neem leaves in water. Turn the head to direct the steam towards the affected ear. It helps.
Mix neem oil and Chalmoogra oil (Hydnocarpus wightiana seed oil) in equal quantities and keep applying.
Read more about Hydnocarpus wightiana here
Take 25 neem leaves, 3 cloves & 3 black peppercorns. Grind them. Add little water and sugar. Mix and drink twice a day for 3 days.
In Painful Periods
Take 6 gms juice of neem leaves and 12 gms ginger juice mixed with as much water and drink. It stops pain immediately.
Take 10 seeds of the neem fruit and a little rock salt. Add some jaggery, sugar or candy sugar to this. Take with cold water morning and evening. Relief starts from the 4th or 5th day. Take for at least 7 days.
In Poisonous Bites & Snake Bite
Chew neem leaves. If they taste bitter then it must be understood that the poison is not present in the body. If the leaves taste sweet the poison is present in the body.
One can chew neem leaves with salt and some black peppercorns too.
Worms In Children
Give 10 gms juice of neem leaves, honey and 5 gms asafoetida powder to remove worms.
Reference : From the book "Bhojan Ke Dwara Chikitsa" by Dr Ganesh Narayan Chauhan
Some of my Other Hubs on Healthy Foods
- Benefits Of Collard Greens
Collard greens are the leaves of various cultivars of Brassica oleracea. Collard greens stand head over heels above other cruciferous vegetables in preventing a wide variety of cancers. To know the various health benefits of collard greens, read on..
- Brussels Sprouts Health Benefits
Brussels Sprouts have the highest concentration of glucosinolates, among all cruciferous vegetables, which reduce risk to developing a variety of cancers. To know many more health benefits of Brussels Sprouts, read on...
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.
Neem - The Divine Tree
Neem - A Tree For Solving Global Problems
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly