One can find lots of sweetness in the bitterness of Neem. Every part of it, be it leaves, barks, or seeds, is extremely useful. In Sanskrit, Neem is known as Arista, which implies something perfect, complete, and imperishable. Native to India, Neem is a magic herb. With naturally occurring compounds like Ninbinene, Nimandial, Nimbolide, Nimbinen, Nimbin, Nimbidol, Gedunin, etc., Neem has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. Here is a list of 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 also promotes a healthy respiratory and digestive system (1). The bile juice produced by the liver helps in the breakdown of fats, making the whole process of digestion easy. A healthy liver is the first step towards glowing skin and lustrous hair. There 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 by mouth during pregnancy. They may result in a miscarriage (2).
2. Antiviral, Antifungal, and Antibacterial
Extracts of neem leaves have the capability of eliminating viruses by absorbing them. Applying a neem paste on infected areas helps in faster recovery. Smallpox, chickenpox, and wart are also effectively treated by Neem. Neem extracts are known to be toxic for the herpes virus. You can apply either a paste of Neem leaves in the affected area or simply bath in neem water.
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. During blood detoxification, Neem helps to remove toxins present in the blood.
4. Boosts Your Bones
Quite a few people know that Neem could get you stronger and flexible bones. Not only dairy products are essential for robust bones but the Neem leaves also can boost the health of the bones. They contain adequate calcium and mineral content. It results in the strengthening of bones. In Ayurvedic medicine, neem leaves oil is often prescribed to elderly patients to relieve arthritis pain or for any joint stiffness (4).
Massage your body with neem oil regularly as it reduces inflammation and promotes sturdy bones.
5. Effective Insecticide
Tired of the daily menace of insects and mosquitoes? Gedunin present in Neem helps to treat malaria. Mosquitoes, when exposed to crushed neem leaves or neem odor cannot lay eggs. Just keep a neem soaked cotton near your windows or entrance. The smell of Neem will ward off the mosquitoes. Alternatively, you can burn neem leaves as well. It will prove to be extremely effective.
6. Assists in Your Oral Hygiene
Our mouth is a gateway to many harmful pathogens, resulting in the spread of 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 to do due to a busy schedule, you may opt for a toothpaste containing Neem extracts.
It also destroys free radicals responsible for premature aging. Neem promotes healthy hair and wrinkles free skin, which are signs of youthfulness. The more your liver detoxifies, the more energetic you feel, thus improving your overall metabolic cycle. Going ahead, Neem helps you stand stronger on your feet as it elevates your bone health because of the high calcium level in it (5). So, if you wish to age gracefully, you can hardly avoid the wonders of Neem.
8. Improves Immunity
According to Ayurveda, daily intake of Neem tea or Neem capsule builds immunity and strengthens the immune response. Neem tea is especially prescribed in 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:
You just need some fresh or dried neem leaves. In one cup of water, add 1 teaspoon of grounded neem leaves. Boil them for 5 to 10 minutes (7). Additionally, one can add green tea or cinnamon as well. This will help in balancing the bitterness of Neem. Serve hot.
Pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid neem leaves.
9. Healthy Hair
Neem promotes hair health by disinfecting your scalp due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
A clean scalp is a prerequisite for strong hair. It is the best way to get rid of dandruff which strengthens hair follicles and ultimately results in hair growth. Clean scalp provides nourishment and conditioning to your roots, making hair shinier.
You can wash your hair using neem water. And can use neem paste as a hair 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 to 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 deeply cleanses the skin pores, takes out the dirt and germs, and helps in the treatments of acne, pigments, or other skin infections. The neem oil is known to reduce skin dryness, skin itchiness. It also prevents pimples and skin blemishes
Neem has strong anti-fungal properties. It is an effective treatment against fungi responsible for mucous membranes, bronchi infection, and lung infection. Neem also fights against fungi responsible for causing nail, skin, and hair infections. It is an effective treatment against ringworms affecting feet and hands.
12. Protects Plants
Neem helps to control unwanted pests and fungus diseases in plants. According to the American Orchid Society report, neem oil spray is an effective remedy to ward off pests. But, one should always remember to use neem solution under a shade, not in direct sunlight. And 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 to suppress cancer cells due to free radical-scavenging activity. Limonoids and polysaccharides present in neem bark are capable of alleviating tumor and cancer cells.
- Neem bark and leaf seeds have been traditionally used for curing arthritis as well as for reducing joint swelling and pain.
- Neem oil massage relieves lower back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatism, and muscle aches.
- The anti-clotting agents in extracts of Neem leave effectively treat poisons from insect bites.
- Inflammation caused by ulcers can be treated using 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. It cures eye infections and prevents conjunctivitis.
14. Promotes Wrinkle-Free Skin
Neem has anti-aging phytochemicals in it and it 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:
- 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. It is due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. People used to brush their teeth using neem twigs. 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 to cook dishes. Sometimes they are dry roasted and sprinkled on top of the dish to garnish as well.
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 has the ability to 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, then 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 important to note that 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 in faster skin recovery and prevent infections and allergies in the burnt area. Gargling with neem water provides respite from sore throats.
Risk Associated With Neem Usage
Generally, Neem is safe to use for human beings. However, overuse should be discouraged. The reason why it must not be used for an extended period is that 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 the glucose level, 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)
How to buy pure Neem oil?
You can buy it online or at any health store. Look out for its yellow color. It should have a garlic-like smell. Look for organic certification.
How to prepare a Neem spray for plants?
Mix 1 ounce of neem oil per gallon of water. Mix the solution thoroughly. Ready to spray.
Where to store neem solution or Neem spray?
Keep it in a cool and dark place. You may keep it in a refrigerator. This way, you can extend the shelf life up to a year.
- “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