Amazing Neem Tree: Health Benefits and Uses
Neem also known as Nimba or Azadirachta Indica is considered a “Miracle tree” of India as it is well known for its many health benefits. In India, it thrives as a large tree in well-drained soil at altitudes up to 1000m. It is a tender tree, that will not survive in temperate climates where there is excessive rainfall. It also grows in other tropical and subtropical regions like West Africa, Caribbean and Latin America.
Neem is widely used in many Ayurvedic and traditional herbal medicine preparations and it is revered for its healing properties and its safety. There is hardly any household in India that does not have a bottle of virgin neem oil in their medicine chest.
Neem has a bitter taste and its energy is cooling. It is a wonderful remedy for all pitta related disorders. It is a powerful blood purifier and detoxifier. It is antipruritic, anti inflammatory, antipyretic, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, antimalarial, anthelmintic, bitter tonic, antacid and hypoglycaemic. It is indicated for inflammatory skin diseases, parasites, worms, fever, thirst, nausea, obesity and diabetes.
Neem sticks (twigs) have been used as
toothbrush for thousands of years in India. It is a morning ritual to chew on the twig and then mildly brush the gums and teeth with the same twig. This works better than most toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Neem used together with cloves as a natural toothpaste helps whiten teeth, strengthen gums, and it prevents oral infections, bleeding gums and tooth decay. Infusion of neem leaves can also be used as a mouthwash.
For mouth ulcers and gingivitis add myrrh to neem.
Neem oil can be used for various skin ailments like acne, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, urticaria scabies and lice.
The oil is especially effective when applied externally for treating fungal and bacterial infections.
Neem leaves paste helps healing wounds by activating the collagen fibers to seal the damaged tissues.
Neem oil extract reduces wrinkles by assisting the creation of collagen, critical for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and delaying the signs of aging.
Use neem with turmeric, gotu kola, manjishtha, guduchi, and rose for inflammatory skin conditions.
Neem is used to treat intestinal inflammation, hyperacidity, ulcers, colitis and Crohn’s
disease when there is an overaccumulation of pitta and kapha dosha. It clears mucus, parasites, worms and bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract. It is also useful for treating Candida albicans, protozoal infections and bacterial infestation.
Neem seeds blended in warm water, taken on an empty stomach for a week, is a time-tested treatment to stop bleeding from hemorrhoids. It is also used to treat fissures and fistulas.
Neem combined together with kutki, licorice, shatavari, haritaki, amalaki is used for intestinal inflammation.
Neem is useful for treating high fevers due to increased pitta dosha and high level of toxins in the body. It is especially useful in the intermittent fevers like that of malaria.
Add tulsi, black pepper and castor oil to neem when treating intermittent fevers.
A paste made of Neem leaves applied on the scalp prevents hair loss, premature graying, dandruff and invasion of lice.
An oil mixture prepared from neem, amla, curry leaves, licorice, mehendi, aloe vera is an effective home remedy for treating all kinds of hair problems.
Neem's bitter and dry qualities can help to clear any mucus or phlegm in the respiratory tract arising from high kapha and pitta conditions.
Neem tea is highly recommended for diabetics as it has properties that reduce blood sugar levels.
It clears kapha dosha accumulation from the pancreas and improves fat metabolism.
Neem tea soothes stressed nerves, calms the mind and provides instant invigoration and relief. A dip in warm bath infused with a few drops of neem oil can expel muscle stress and soreness after a hectic workday. A safe dilution rate is 1 to 2%.
Neem oil is a natural insecticide, pesticide and germicide. It is known to dissuade around five hundred types of destructive insects such as mites, bugs, ticks and roundworms, threadworms etc. It does this by altering the behavior patterns and physiology of those insects. It is also an effective mosquito repellant.
Neem should be used with caution by those suffering from severe fatigue, debility or emaciation as it increases the Vata dosha. It is also considered to be bad for the heart and should not be used during pregnancy.
It is a very strong bitter herb which in high doses, should only be used for maximum a month. It may be used for longer periods in low doses.
Remember to always consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner before taking any herbs in therapeutic doses.
Sebastian Pole (2012) “Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice”