Neem is a natural herb that comes from the neem tree. The extract is derived from tree seeds and has many different traditional uses.
Neem products come from all parts of the Indian lilac tree. In the past, people have used neem as a natural remedy for various diseases.
Many people today use neem as a natural pesticide. Some use it to maintain healthy hair and teeth.
Neem leaf is used for intestinal worms, eye infection, bleeding nose, leprosy, skin ulcers, loss of appetite, stomach upset, heart and blood vessel disease (cardiovascular disease), fever, liver problems, gum disease (inflammation of the gums). ) and diabetes. This leaf is also used to control birth rates and trigger abortions.
The bark, leaves and seeds of Neem tree are used in making medicine. The roots, flowers and fruit are also used.
Neem is known for its pesticide properties and insecticide properties, but it is also used in hair and dental products.
The bark of neem tree is used for the treatment of stomach and intestinal ulcers, pain, skin diseases, malaria and fever.
The flower is used to reduce bile, control mucus and treat intestinal worms.
Neem fruit is used in the treatment of diabetes, intestinal worms, leprosy, nasal bleeding, mucus, eye infections, hemorrhoids, wounds and urinary tract diseases.
Neem twigs are used to treat low sperm counts, asthma, hemorrhoids, urinary tract diseases, coughs, intestinal worms and diabetes. People in the tropics sometimes chew the twigs instead of using a toothbrush, but this can cause illness because they are often contaminated with fungus within 2 weeks of harvest and should be avoided.
Neem seeds and neem oil are used in the treatment of leprosy and intestinal worms. They are also used for contraception and abortion.
The stems, root bark and fruit are used as tonics and substances.
Some people apply neem directly to the skin as a mosquito repellent and as a skin softener. It is also applied to treat head lice, skin diseases, wounds, and skin ulcers.
In the vagina, neem is used for contraception. It is also used as an insecticide.
Health Benefits of Neem
Although only a few studies have examined the effect of neem on health, there are indications that it has several advantages. The following are important conclusions from the available research:
- Dental health: Neem can help fight plaque buildup and prevent gum inflammation, as some studies have shown. In a study conducted in 2017, 20 subjects received mouthwash with neem or chlorhexidine gluconate, a substance commonly used to prevent gum disease. Researchers have found that neem mouthwash is as effective as medication, and shows that neem can be an inexpensive alternative for treatment with chlorhexidine gluconate. In a previous study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 36 men received treatment with a gel containing neem extract or mouthwash containing chlorhexidine gluconate for 6 weeks. The results showed that gels containing neem extract were more effective in reducing plaque buildup than mouthwash. In addition, a study published in the Indian Journal of Dental Research in 1999 found that the use of chewing stick made with neem extract can help prevent the buildup of bacteria associated with cavity formation and periodontal disease.
- Ulcers: Neem is promising in treating gastric ulcers, according to the 2009 Phytotherapy Research report. Based on the results of a preliminary study, scientists concluded that bark extract could help control ulcers, perhaps by inhibiting gastric acid secretion.
- Cancer: A study published in Cancer Biology & Therapy in 2011 shows that neem may have cancer-fighting benefits, including immuno-stimulating and anti-tumor properties. However, there are currently no clinical trials that evaluate the effectiveness of neem in preventing or treating any type of cancer.
Applications of Neem
Neem contains chemicals that might help heal ulcers in the digestive tract, reduce blood sugar levels, prevent pregnancy, prevent plaque formation in the mouth and kill bacteria.
Almost every part of the Neem tree is used in traditional medicine in many countries, with around 700 preparations explained. The stem, root and fruits are used as tonics and substances, and the bark is used as an analgesic and for the treatment of malaria and skin diseases. The leaves are used to treat worm infections, ulcers and cardiovascular disease, and to treat leprosy. Indian farmers for hundreds of years have used the leaves as pesticides and insecticides.
Although there are limited clinical studies to support therapeutic claims, Neem is used as an insecticide, insect repellent and oral dental system as well as in traditional medicine for the treatment of malaria, diabetes, worms and cardiovascular and skin diseases. It has been reported to have contraceptive, ulcerative and fungicide properties as well as cancer-related applications.
Uses of Neem and its Effectiveness
Reputable scientific references suggest that neem might work for the below uses and at least one study (in humans) found that it might be effective.
Neem is most often used in hair and skin care products. Some people use capsules with neem extract, but currently, there is not enough research-based evidence to determine whether they have medicinal benefits.
The neem oil is yellow or brown and smells of garlic or sulfur and it has a very bitter taste.
Below are some of the uses of neem:
- Dental plaque: Most research shows that applying a neem leaf extract-containing gel to your teeth or using neem mouthwash can reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth. However, it might not be as helpful as using chlorhexidine mouthwash.
- Gingivitis: Most research shows that applying a gel containing neem leaf extract or using neem mouthwash can reduce gum inflammation in some people. However, this does not appear to be beneficial for mouthwash as chlorhexidine and may not be effective for people with long-standing gingivitis.
- Fleas: Clinical studies show that using shampoo with neem extract on the scalp in children completely cures head lice.
- Dandruff: Neem is a popular ingredient in some dandruff shampoos. Although there is no research to support its use, neem is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, which can help reduce the symptoms of dandruff.
Dental products, including mouthwash, tooth powder and toothpaste, can also contain neem. Neem can relieve toothache and improve dental health by cleaning teeth and gums and relieving gum inflammation.
Other insufficient evidence-based uses of neem include:
- Insect repellent: Early studies show that applying neem root or leaf extract to the skin helps fight black flies. In addition, applying neem cream on the skin seems to protect against some types of mosquitoes.
- Stomach Ulcer: Previous research has shown that taking neem bark extract for 10 weeks can help cure stomach and intestinal ulcers.
- Psoriasis: Studies have shown that taking neem extract for 12 weeks along with daily sun exposure and the use of coal tar and salicylic acid cream can help relieve psoriasis symptoms.
- Birth Control.
- Respiratory disease.
- Gastric pains.
- Heart disease.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Intestinal infection due to parasites.
- Skin conditions and diseases.
Although experts usually consider that the use of Neem is safe, it is possible that someone might be allergic or sensitive to it.
Before using Neem for the first time, you have to do a patch test. To do a patch test, rub a few drops of neem on the skin patch of the inner arm.
Wait 24 hours and then check the site where you used the neem to see whether any reaction has occurred. Signs of discoloration, swelling, itching, or discomfort indicate that a person may be sensitive to oil and should avoid reuse.
In general, children are more susceptible to pesticides such as neem oil, although there is no direct study of the effects of neem on children.
It is best to talk with your doctor before taking alternative medicines for your child or during pregnancy.
For most adults, Neem May Be Safe if applied to the skin for up to 2 weeks, up to 6 weeks when applies inside the mouth, or up to 10 weeks when taken by mouth. If Neem is taken in large doses or for long periods, it May Be Unsafe. This can damage the kidneys and liver.
- Children: Taking neem oils or seeds through the mouth may likely be unsafe for children. Serious side effects in infants and young children can occur within a few hours after consuming neem oil. These serious side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, blood disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, brain disorders and death.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Neem oil and neem bark may likely be unsafe when taken during pregnancy. They can cause miscarriages. Not enough is known about the safety of breastfeeding needs. Stay safe and avoid using it.
- Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or other diseases: Neem can make the immune system more active. This can worsen the symptoms of autoimmune disease. If you have one of these conditions, it is best to avoid using neem.
- Diabetes: There is evidence that neem can lower blood sugar and cause a decrease in blood sugar. If you have diabetes and use Neem, monitor your blood sugar closely. You may need to change the dose of your diabetes medication.
- Infertility: There is evidence that neem can damage sperm. It can also reduce fertility in other ways. If you are trying to have children, avoid using neem.
- Organ Transplant: Neem is feared will reduce the effectiveness of drugs used to prevent organ rejection. Don’t use Neem if you have an organ transplant.
- Surgery: Neem can lower blood sugar. There is concern that this could affect blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using neem at least 2 weeks before a planned surgery.
The exact dose of neem depends on various factors such as age, consumer health and various other conditions. At present, there is not enough scientific information to determine the appropriate dosage range for neem. Keep in mind that natural products are not always safe and dosage can be important. Remember to follow the labelling instructions that are appropriate for the product and consult your pharmacist or doctor or other health care professional.
- Abdel-Ghaffar, F., et al. (2011). Efficacy of a single treatment of head lice with a neem seed extract: An in vivo and in vitro study on nits and motile stages [Abstract].
- Alzohairy, M. A. (2016). Therapeutics role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and their active constituents in diseases prevention and treatment.
- Bond, C., et al. (2012). Neem oil [Fact sheet].
- Jones, S. (n.d.). Neem oil.
- Lakshmi, T., et al. (2015). Azadirachta indica: A herbal panacea in dentistry – An update.