The bitterness of Neem harbors a multitude of sweetness, making every part of this remarkable plant invaluable—whether it be the leaves, barks, or seeds. Referred to as Arista in Sanskrit, signifying perfection, completeness, and imperishability, Neem is indigenous to India and is considered a magical herb. Enriched with natural compounds such as Ninbinene, Nimandial, Nimbolide, Nimbinen, Nimbin, Nimbidol, and Gedunin, among others, Neem exhibits potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Explore the following compilation outlining the top 19 health benefits of Neem:
1. Liver Detoxification
Neem leaves are known to improve the functions of the liver and strengthen the immune system. It naturally detoxifies the blood and promotes a healthy respiratory and digestive system (1). In addition, the bile juice produced by the liver helps break down fats, making the whole digestion process easy. A healthy liver is the first step towards glowing skin and lustrous hair. Here is a DIY detox drink you can make yourself:
- Take 8-10 neem leaves and 4-5 Tulsi leaves
- Add 50 ml of water
- Grind it into a smooth liquid
- Filter it in a cup. Enjoy the Neem drink.
This drink is anti-inflammatory and antioxidants as well. Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid this as Neem oil is not safe when taken orally during pregnancy. They may result in a miscarriage (2).
2. Antiviral, Antifungal, and Antibacterial
Neem leaf extracts possess the ability to absorb and eliminate viruses. The application of a neem paste on affected areas promotes rapid recovery. Neem is also effective in treating conditions like smallpox, chickenpox, and warts. Specifically, neem extracts exhibit toxicity to the herpes virus. Whether applied as a paste directly on the affected area or used as neem-infused water for bathing, Neem offers therapeutic benefits against viral infections.
Neem can treat foot fungi as well. You just need to soak your feet in lukewarm neem water for 15 minutes. (3)
3. Blood Purifier
Neem cleans the blood, and drinking neem infusion helps to control high blood pressure. In addition, Neem helps remove toxins in the blood during blood detoxification.
4. Boosts Your Bones
Few people know that Neem could get you more robust and flexible bones. Neem leaves can boost the health of the bones. This is because they contain adequate calcium and mineral content. Therefore, it results in the strengthening of bones. In Ayurvedic medicine, neem leaf oil is often prescribed to elderly patients to relieve arthritis or joint stiffness (4).
Massage your body with neem oil regularly as it reduces inflammation and promotes sturdy bones.
5. Effective Insecticide
Are you weary of the constant nuisance of insects and mosquitoes? Neem, containing Gedunin, proves beneficial in addressing malaria. When confronted with crushed neem leaves or the scent of Neem, mosquitoes are deterred from laying eggs. Placing neem-soaked cotton near windows or entrances capitalizes on the repellent properties of Neem, creating a barrier against mosquitoes. Another effective method is burning neem leaves, providing a highly efficient means of insect control.
Neem, scientifically known as Azadirachta indica, is a member of the mahogany family, Meliaceae.
6. Assists in Your Oral Hygiene
Our mouth is a gateway to many harmful pathogens, spreading infectious diseases in the body. Neem, known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, works to prevent such infections.
To keep your oral health in good shape, you can chew on some neem leaves. It would promote fresh breath and maintain the pH level of your saliva.
If you find this difficult due to a busy schedule, you may opt for toothpaste containing Neem extracts.
It also destroys free radicals responsible for premature aging. Neem promotes healthy hair and wrinkle-free skin, which are signs of youthfulness. The more your liver detoxifies, the more energetic you feel, thus improving your overall metabolic cycle. Neem helps you stand stronger on your feet, elevating your bone health because of its high calcium level (5). So, if you wish to age gracefully, you can hardly avoid the wonders of Neem.
8. Improves Immunity
According to Ayurveda, daily Neem tea or Neem capsule intake builds Immunity and strengthens the immune response. Neem tea is mainly prescribed for malaria and fever. Neem tea is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties (6). Such teas are widely available in markets. However, you can make this tea at your home as well:
First, you need some fresh or dried neem leaves. In one cup of water, add one teaspoon of ground neem leaves. Boil them for 5 to 10 minutes (7). Additionally, one can add green tea or cinnamon as well. This will help balance Neem’s bitterness. Serve hot.
Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid neem leaves.
9. Healthy Hair
Neem promotes hair health by disinfecting your scalp due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A clean scalp is a prerequisite for solid hair. It is the best way to get rid of dandruff, which strengthens hair follicles and ultimately results in hair growth. In addition, a clean scalp provides nourishment and conditioning to your roots, making your hair shinier. You can wash your hair using neem water and paste as a conditioner. Furthermore, dry scalp issues can be treated by applying boiled neem water on the scalp after shampooing.
10. For Flawless Skin
Neem is a blessing for beautiful skin due to its detox properties. Neem leaves have a natural moisturizer that helps keep skin supple and soft. Neem reduces pigmentations and scars left behind by scabies and acne. Neem leaf decoction fights pimples and treats minor wounds.
Applying neem paste or mask over your face profoundly cleanses the skin pores, removes dirt and germs, and helps treat acne, pigments, or other skin infections. In addition, neem oil is known to reduce skin dryness and skin itchiness. It also prevents pimples and skin blemishes.
In some cultures, neem twigs have been traditionally used as natural toothbrushes. Chewing on neem twigs not only cleans the teeth but also promotes oral health.
Neem has strong antifungal properties. It is an effective treatment against fungi responsible for mucous membranes, bronchi, and lung infections. Neem also fights against fungi that are accountable for causing nail, skin, and hair infections. In addition, it is an effective treatment against ringworms affecting feet and hands.
12. Protects Plants
Neem helps control unwanted pests and fungal diseases in plants. According to the American Orchid Society report, neem oil spray is an effective remedy to ward off pests. However, never forget to use a neem solution under shade, not in direct sunlight. Never use this solution on plants during hot weather.
13. Fights Against Innumerable Diseases
- Neem controls and reduces increased heart rates.
- Blood circulation is improved by dilating blood vessels.
- Regular consumption of neem leaves helps suppress cancer cells due to free radical-scavenging activity. In addition, Limonoids and polysaccharides present in neem bark can alleviate tumor and cancer cells.
- Neem bark and leaf seeds have been traditionally used to cure arthritis and reduce joint swelling and pain.
- Neem oil massage relieves lower back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, and muscle aches.
- The anti-clotting agents in extracts of Neem effectively treat poisons from insect bites.
- Inflammation caused by ulcers can be treated using the anti-ulcer and anti-inflammatory properties of Neem.
- Adding neem infusion to daily bathing water removes body odor and infections and fights acne.
- Boiled and cooled neem water can be used for rinsing eyes regularly. In addition, it cures eye infections and prevents conjunctivitis.
14. Promotes Wrinkle-Free Skin
Neem has anti-aging phytochemicals and works as an anti-wrinkle agent to minimize signs of aging. If you wish to make your anti-wrinkle cream, then go ahead with this recipe:
You need 8 ounces of organic jojoba oil, half an ounce of pure neem seed oil, and 4-5 drops of pure lavender oil.
- Add all the ingredients to a glass bottle. Mix them well.
- Apply to concoction for 15 minutes.
- Wash it off with tepid water.
15. Nature’s Toothbrush
It is an old-age tradition around the Indian subcontinent to chew neem twigs for dental hygiene. Due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties, people used neem twigs to brush their teeth. Nowadays, the market is flooded with tubes of toothpaste that incorporate Neem as the main ingredient.
16. Wonders of Neem Flowers
Neem has white and delicate flowers and is pretty edible and surprisingly therapeutic. These neem flowers can be used either fresh or in dried powder form. In many regions of India, these flowers are used for cooking dishes. Sometimes, they are dry roasted and sprinkled on top of the dish to garnish.
Therapeutically, neem flowers are used to treat nausea, belching, anorexia, and intestinal worms. They are used in Ayurveda for aromatherapy due to their calming effect. A study found that alcoholic extract of the neem flowers can be used as an effective contraceptive (8).
17. Lose Your Weight With Neem
Having neem water regularly will get you in shape. It helps you achieve a clean stomach by improving your metabolism. Neem can break down your body fat, thus assisting in the digestion of fats. It leads to no fat accumulation in the body, keeping your weight in check.
Make a concoction of neem leaves, lemon, and honey for better results.
18. Neem As Supplements
So, if you are wondering about neem supplements, you should first talk to your doctor or nutritionist, as not much research is done on such supplements. Research is primarily on topical use. It is still unclear whether neem supplements could be effective for cosmetic treatments.
Also, it is essential to note that the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate such supplements for product safety. So make sure you take expert advice before you go for these supplements.
19. Other Uses
Intestinal parasites are removed upon daily consumption of neem infusion. Foot ache is relieved by soaking feet in warm neem water. Applying neem water on a burnt surface can help faster skin recovery and prevent infections and allergies in the burnt area. Gargling with neem water provides respite from sore throats.
Risks Associated With Neem Usage
Generally, Neem is safe for human beings to use. However, overuse should be discouraged. It must not be used for an extended period because it harms the liver and kidneys. Furthermore, pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid using neem oil. It may encourage miscarriage.
Chewing neem leaves by a diabetic person reduces the blood glucose level. Excessive use may highly reduce glucose, which must be closely monitored. Neem interacts with antidiabetic drugs and immunosuppressants (9).
Neem, the plant with a gazillion health benefits, has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years for overall well-being. With the increasing proclivity of the modern generation towards embracing natural and herbal remedies, Neem has made a special place in this clean and green living movement. It not only helps you get rid of common beauty issues but also acts as a blood purifier, immune booster and prevents multiple communicable diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1. How can Neem’s leaving benefit my health?
Neem leaves are rich in compounds with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, which can help improve overall health and boost the immune system.
2. Are Neem leaves effective for skin care?
Neem leaves have been traditionally used for skincare due to their antibacterial and antifungal properties. They can address various skin issues, such as acne and eczema.
3. Can Neem leaves promote hair health?
Neem leaves nourish the scalp, control dandruff, and promote healthy hair growth. They are often used in hair care remedies.
4. How can Neem leaves be used to improve oral health?
Neem leaves have natural antimicrobial properties that can help in maintaining oral hygiene. Chewing neem leaves or using neem-based toothpaste may contribute to gum health.
5. Are there any precautions to consider when using neem leaves?
While neem leaves offer numerous benefits, excessive consumption may have adverse effects. It’s essential to use them in moderation and consult a healthcare professional if you have underlying health conditions.
6. Can neem leaves help in treating skin infections?
Yes, the antibacterial and antifungal properties of Neem leaves effectively treat various skin infections, including ringworm and athlete’s foot.
7. How do neem leaves contribute to detoxification?
Neem leaves are believed to have detoxifying properties that help cleanse the body. They may assist in removing toxins and promoting overall well-being.
8. Can neem leaves be used for managing diabetes?
Some studies suggest that neem leaves may positively impact blood sugar levels. However, individuals with diabetes should consult their healthcare provider before incorporating Neem into their routine.
9. Do Neem leaves have any anti-aging properties for the skin?
Yes, neem leaves are rich in antioxidants that can help combat free radicals, potentially slowing aging and maintaining youthful skin.
10. How can Neem leaves be included in a daily routine for maximum benefits?
Neem leaves can be consumed as neem tea or added to salads. Additionally, neem oil extracted from the leaves can be applied topically for skin and hair care. It’s advisable to start with small amounts and observe how your body responds.
- “What are the benefits of neem?” – medicalnewstoday.com
- “Induced termination of pregnancy by purified extracts of Azadirachta Indica (Neem): mechanisms involved” – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Herbal remedies: Health benefits of neem” – timesofindia.indiatimes.com
- “Neem Cures” – neemfoundation.org
- “Use Neem Oil to Improve Your Skin — and Even Fight Pests” – draxe.com
- “Combined antioxidant effects of Neem extract, bacteria, red blood cells, and Lysozyme: possible relation to periodontal disease” – bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com
- What Is Neem Tea? Benefits, Uses, & Recipes – thespruceeats.com
- “Long-term contraceptive effects of intrauterine neem treatment (IUNT) in bonnet monkeys: An alternate to intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD)” – sciencedirect.com
- “Neem” – emedicinehealth.com