Neem is a tree. The bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine. Less frequently, the root, flower, and fruit are also used.
Neem leaf is used for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody nose, intestinal worms, stomach upset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease (gingivitis), and liver problems. The leaf is also used for birth control and to cause abortions.
The bark is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases, pain, and fever.
The flower is used for reducing bile, controlling phlegm, and treating intestinal worms.
Neem twigs are used for cough, asthma, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, low sperm levels, urinary disorders, and diabetes. People in the tropics sometimes chew neem twigs instead of using toothbrushes, but this can cause illness; neem twigs are often contaminated with fungi within 2 weeks of harvest and should be avoided.
The stem, root bark, and fruit are used as a tonic and astringent.
Some people apply neem directly to the skin to treat head lice, skin diseases, wounds, and skin ulcers; as a mosquito repellent; and as a skin softener.
Neem is also used as an insecticide
1. Neem, a tree native to India, is a vital ingredient in Ayurveda. Regarded as a ‘one tree pharmacy’, the Neem tree has several medicinal uses and forms an integral part of home remedies for the hair and skin.
2. Neem leaf has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it effective in treating dandruff.
3. It also relieves dryness and itching, strengthens hair and promotes hair growth.
4. Traditionally, neem paste has been used to condition the hair and scalp.
5. It also soothes irritation, prevents dryness and flaking.
6. Neem is mentioned in most Ayurvedic formulations for the treatment of skin disorders because of its detoxifying properties.
7. The growth of acne-causing bacteria such as propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) and staphylococcus epidermidis is also inhibited by neem.
8. The role of neem in acne is further supported by studies which have shown that it exhibits anti-inflammatory activity by suppressing P. acnes-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-a and IL-8.
9. Neem oil and neem leaves are excellent skin care ingredients. The oil relieves dry skin and soothes itchiness, redness and irritation.
10. It also improves general skin health and immunity, combating bacterial infections such as acne, boils and ulcers.
11. Its antimicrobial properties help heal wounds without causing any infections or septic conditions.
12. For acne, neem tackles bacteria from the root and prevents the recurrence of pimples and blemishes.
13. It is especially beneficial for skin disorders like eczema and minor skin infections. Neem leaves also eliminate acne-causing bacteria.
14. It is also a gastro protective element and effective in healing ulcers.
15. It contains high level of antioxidants that help protect skin from environmental damage and from aging.
16. Neem oil contains fatty acid and vitamin E that gets absorbed easily into the skin, it helps rejuvenate skin cells and restore elasticity.
17. It helps maintain a glowing skin and balance skin tone.
18. The high fatty-acid content in neem oil helps prevent and treat scars from acne.
19. Neem leaves are also excellent exfoliants; it tightens pores and removes impurities when used as a mask.
20. It is an excellent healer of skin fungal infections.
(Data courtesy: Chandrika Mahendra, Senior Research Scientist, R & D, The Himalaya Drug Company)