Known as Indian Lilac, Azadirachta Indica or “neemba” in Sanskrit has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 5000 years on the Indian subcontinent. Even today, it’s not unusual to find an ancient neem tree in an Indian family’s backyard or a common compound. Traditional Indian households have been using the powerful herb in lotions for skin problems, medicines, naturally selective insecticides, hair care products, religious ceremonies, as a natural bug repellant (lice and mosquitoes) and more for centuries! The entire spectrum of health benefits of neem oil are just now beginning to be researched.
With 100+ biologically active compounds and its unique ability to treat a whole range of health issues, it is no wonder it is known as the Neem tree is known as the “Tree of Life”. Neem is a source of several bioactive triterpenoids, however, only azadirachtin has been commercially developed. Salanin and nimbin are the other major active potential bioactive compounds. Interestingly, even trees planted in the same area vary in the content of these active ingredients.
Neem oil is a natural oil with a pungent smell and an incredibly bitter taste and a garlic/sulfur smell. It is made from the seeds and the olive-like fruit of the tree.
High-quality neem oil is made by crushing the plant parts, while lower potency oils are made by using solvent extractio
n. All parts of a neem tree are useful (even neem leaves can also be included in a bath to ease skin conditions). Different products are made from different parts of the tree; neem toothpaste can only be made with the bark or leaf extracts of a neem tree, not the oil due to toxicity.
BENEFITS AND USES OF NEEM OIL
Some of the top ingredients found in neem oil include vitamin E, Vitamin C, carotenoids, linoleic acid, oleic acid, quercetin, nimbidin & nimbin compounds and the main compound azadirachtin, which is one of nature’s most powerful insect repellents. These incredible natural ingredients make neem oil a potent antifungal, antipyretic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. We will mainly focus our discussion on the health benefits of the topical use of Neem Oil.
Cosmetic and Medicinal Uses
Neem oil is an incredibly versatile medicinal oil. Neem oil shampoo is used to repel lice and soothe scalp itching and inflammation. Since it is naturally antibacterial and antiseptic it will discourage fungi and parasites when used in soaps and lotions for the skin. In traditional medicine, neem oil is useful for skin conditions like eczema, ringworm, scabies, and athlete’s foot. It can also be massaged into arthritic joints to relieve pain and into the scalp to treat dandruff.
NEEM OIL USES FOR HAIR
NEEM OIL FOR HAIR LOSS
Conditioning the hair with neem oil can prevent hair loss due to dry and itchy scalp, dandruff, and fungal infections of the scalp.
How to use neem oil for hair loss:
- Add to shampoo: Add a few drops of neem oil to your shampoo. Massage the shampoo into the scalp and allow to sit for 10 minutes and wash off. Use daily or every other day
- Intensive scalp treatment: Combine 1 tsp. of neem oil to 2 tsp. of a carrier oil such as coconut oil, almond oil or Emu Oil (excellent for hair loss!). Leave in the hair for 4-5 hours or over-night and then wash.
NEEM OIL FOR DANDRUFF
Neem oil is commonly found in many anti-dandruff shampoos. Its antibacterial and antifungal properties help curb infections that cause or worsen dandruff while restoring the scalp’s natural pH.
How to use cold-pressed neem oil for dandruff:
Scalp Treatment: Massage 2-3 tsp. of warm neem oil directly onto the scalp, leave on for 30 minutes then wash. If the scalp has become sensitive, do a patch test on the skin to assure you are not allergic to the oil by swabbing the inner aspect of the forearm in a 2-3 inch area and wait 3 hours. If not allergic, dilute the neem oil with coconut oil before using
NEEM OIL FOR FRIZZY HAIR
For those who find themselves with frizzy hair in humid conditions, neem oil is great to use due to it hydrophobic (water repelling) properties. It forms a thin coating on the hair which protects hair from the environment.
How to use neem oil for frizzy hair:
Add 3-4 drops of neem oil to 1 teaspoonful of melted coconut oil and massage into the scalp. (Warning: Neem oil has a very pungent scent, so you may want to add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil to mask the smell.)
NEEM OIL FOR SPLIT ENDS
When hair weakens and breaks at the end of the hair shaft, split ends result due to harsh heat styling, damaging hair products, sunlight and more. To control split ends apply 2-3 drops of neem oil with a carrier oil like melted coconut oil to condition and moisturize the hair and make it more manageable
NEEM OIL FOR DRY ITCHY SCALP
There’s nothing more annoying than a dry, itchy scalp. Combining neem oil with powerful essential oils such as eucalyptus oil (an excellent anti-inflammatory), and peppermint oil (to provide soothing cooling relief) is a great way to nourish a dry scalp, curb itching and make your hair smell great!
- To use Neem Oil for a dry scalp, combine 1 teaspoonful of neem oil with 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil, 2-3 drops of peppermint oil and 1 tablespoonful of melted coconut or almond oil. Massage into the hair and scalp. Leave on scalp for 4-5 hours or overnight and then wash
NEEM OIL FOR LICE
Containing nature’s natural insecticide, azadirachtin, neem oil is effective in eradicating lice.
Note: Many commercially available lice sprays contain neem as it is incredibly powerful in treating head lice but the downside is those sprays usually contain toxic chemicals which can do more harm than good. Lice hate the smell of neem oil, so this home remedy below is an excellent natural treatment you can do at home to get rid of lice once and for all.
How to use neem oil for lice:
- Saturate the head with neem oil full strength or mix 4 parts neem oil to 1 part tea tree oil and make a solution with 2 teaspoonfuls of olive oil. The tea tree oil kills the lice and the olive oil suffocates them. Massage the oil through the hair and into the scalp
- Have the person being treated lay down on the floor on a large plastic garbage bag with the oil in his hair. The plastic bag is to catch any running oil.
- Wait an hour, and then shampoo vigorously and rinse the hair with hot water until the shampoo is removed. (The hair should remain a little oily, but not overly greasy).
- Using a metal nit comb, part the hair into small sections and comb out the eggs (nits) from the hair. You can also use tweezers to pick the nits out and squash them.
- Wait two days before washing the hair again. Since the hair will be slightly oily, cover pillows with towels to prevent staining. Once the lice have been eliminated, mix a small amount of neem oil into your shampoo each time you wash your hair as a preventive measure.
- If you had rather purchase a kit with all the ingredients you need for a natural Neem Oil Head Lice Treatment here’s an excellent one to try : Click on the picture for a description and where you can purchase this kit.
NEEM OIL FOR SKIN
Neem oil contains natural nutrients extremely beneficial for those who have eczema, psoriasis and dry, itchy skin. Its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties help to heal small cuts and wounds, alleviate acne symptoms and fight skin-related fungal infections.
NEEM OIL FOR SCABIES
Scabies is n extremely irritating skin condition caused by mites (Sarcoptes scabiei) which tunnel beneath the skin. This tunneling produces severe skin irritation and allergic response resulting in an intense itch. Scabies can be transmitted from objects or direct skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms appear 1-6 weeks after infestation while re-infestation can appear in as little as 24 hours.
How to use Neem oil for scabies:
Mix together the following and apply to the body:
- 4 ounces of Neem oil
- 4 ounces of coconut oil, melted
- 12 drops of tea tree oil
- 2 tablespoons of neem powder
- 4 drops of clove oil1 tablespoon of turmeric
Leave on your body for 1 hour and repeat as often as necessary during the infestation. Alternatively, if the scabies are located to a small area of the body, you may simply apply to that area.
Any Neem remedy for scabies needs to be applied at least daily. Not only will neem disrupt the reproductive cycle of the scabies mites to eradicate the infestation, but it also relieves the itch, numbs the pain, and reduces inflammation. Neem’s antibacterial properties also kill the bacteria responsible for infection from scratching. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional natural treatment for scabies is a Neem paste made with turmeric powder.
FOR DRY SKIN
For areas of the skin that are exposed or washed frequently, the hydrophobic properties of neem oil create a thin barrier on the surface of the skin, locking moisture in and preventing drying. Because it contains Vitamin E and essential fatty acids, neem oil also penetrates deep within the skin healing minute cracks that have resulted from extreme dryness.
- Since neem oil has a rather offensive odor, it is best to mix 2-3 drops with a tablespoonful of melted coconut oil and add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil to mask the smell. Massage into dry, cracked skin areas such as fingers, the soles of the feet and cracked heels. Take care not to slip once the oil is applied!
NEEM OIL FOR SKIN PIGMENTATION
Neem oil is effective for reducing skin pigmentation caused by an over-production of melanin (the pigment that gives human skin its color). By regulating the secretion of melanin, and when used regularly, it will reduce skin pigmentation.
How to use neem oil for skin pigmentation:
- To treat a small area, use a cotton tipped swab soaked in neem oil and apply directly to the pigmented area. Test for sensitivity on the inner side of your forearm before using on the face and neck.
NEEM OIL FOR ECZEMA AND PSORIASIS
Neem oil contains nimbidin and nimbin which are known to be powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Therefore, it can effectively control the inflammation and irritation caused by eczema and psoriasis, helping to alleviate redness, swelling and heal cuts, breaks, and abrasions in the skin.
Rich in Vitamin E, neem oil creates a thin layer to protect the skin and reduce moisture loss. As a natural analgesic, neem oil can provide immediate relief from discomforting skin irritation, reducing scratching.
How to use neem oil for eczema and psoriasis:
- Neem Bath: At the end of the bath add some neem oil to your bath water (lukewarm only) and rinse your body or apply in the shower and rinse to create a protective barrier locking in moisture.
- Neem Topical Application: For sensitive skin dilute the neem oil with melted coconut or jojoba oil and massage lightly onto the affected area.
NEEM OIL FOR ACNE
By reducing inflammation and inhibiting bacterial growth, Neem oil helps to reduce redness and swelling of acne. Its Vitamin E content helps heal damaged skin, reducing acne related scarring.
How to use neem oil for acne:
- Warm 1 teaspoonful of olive oil and add 10-12 drops of 100% cold-pressed neem oil. Apply this blend to the face, especially on pimples and wash off in 1-2 hours. You can also add 1 drop of peppermint oil and 1 drop of eucalyptus oil (both natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agents) for enhanced results.
NEEM OIL FOR FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Research suggests that neem oil is effective against several strains of fungi – particularly ringworm, toe and nail fungus, and athletes foot.
How to use neem oil for fungal infections:
- Soak a cotton-tipped applicator with neem oil and apply to the affected areas three times daily.
- For fungal nails: Blend 2-3 drops of oregano oil (rich in thymol with antifungal properties) with the same amount of neem oil. Apply to the infected nails and itchy skin between toenails. Repeat three times a day until the infection subsides.
NEEM OIL FOR SUNBURN
Neem oil’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic action can help reduce redness and burning of sunburn and the natural antioxidants in the oil can defend against free radicals protecting skin from further damage.
NEEM OIL FOR ANTI-AGING EFFECTS
Research from the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) IN 2011 revealed that neem oil is “abundant in triglycerides, calcium, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids, which work rejuvenate your skin” by stimulating collagen production to smooth wrinkles and hydrate the skin.
How to use neem oil for anti-aging and wrinkles:
- Combine 2-3 drops of neem oil with moringa oil (a proven anti-aging oil which improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging facial muscles). Apply to the face for 2-3 hours and wash off or leave overnight to get the full benefits. Alternatively, mix 2-3 drops of neem oil into your current moisturizer.
NEEM OIL FOR TEETH AND GUMS
Used in India for centuries, the twigs of the Neem tree have been chewed on as all-natural toothbrushes. Chewing on a neem twig (with the outer bark removed), can prevent gum disease (antibacterial), reduce tooth decay, prevent gum inflammation, reduce plaque and also whiten the teeth.
How to use:
- Before brushing, massage 1-2 drops of Neem oil mixed with a carrier oil such as melted coconut oil. Follow by brushing with a gentle toothpaste.
- Alternatively, add 1-2 drops of neem oil to toothpaste on your brush to curb the taste. The neem oil will penetrate the gums and go in between the teeth reducing tooth decay.
- Rubbing neem oil onto floss before flossing can help improve oral health as the antibacterial and medicinal properties of neem seep into your gums.
NEEM OIL FOR CANCER PATIENTS
Neem oil has been proven to be safe and active in the management of acute skin toxicity in head and neck cancer patients submitted to radiotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy. Given this information, researchers are reviewing the use of hypericum and neem oil as a preventative prior to radiation therapy to prevent burns.
NEEM OIL AS A NATURAL PESTICIDE- OUR HEALTH BENEFIT
One of the major commercial uses of Neem oil is as a natural pesticide that is safe to the environment. The diluted oil doesn’t strongly affect humans or beneficial bugs but can keep away pests like mites, weevils, whiteflies, leaf miners, caterpillars, beetles, ants and aphids which suck or chew on plants. It can also deter rust, scab, mildew, and blight in crops.
Importantly, the Azadirachtin in the oil interrupts transitions between different stages of metamorphosis in bugs – such as growing from larvae to pupae – and it prevents insects from developing a hardened exoskeleton.
Surprisingly, neem oil doesn’t harm beneficial insects such as butterflies, lady bugs, earthworms, and bees (which help plants pollinate or absorb nutrients) nor does it affect lacewings which eat insects trying to feed on the crops. When the chemical gets absorbed into the roots of crops, it functions as a “systemic insecticide,” which means crops don’t need to be re-sprayed.
NEEM OIL FOR INSECTS AND PESTS
If you’re looking for a natural way to control insects, pests, and disease, there’s nothing better than neem oil – sometimes referred to as “birth control for bugs” since it disrupts the larva cycle in certain insects.
Neem oil insecticide spray: In a 16oz. spray bottle filled with warm distilled water first add 1/2 a tbsp. of pure Castile soap and 1/2 teaspoonful of cold-pressed neem oil. Shake to mix and spray once a week for best results. To further enhance your insecticide add 10 drops of citronella essential oil to deter the bugs. Because neem oil works naturally, results are not immediate – wait about a week.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that affects many plants, but especially roses. To control and remove powdery mildew from rose bushes and other plants, add 1/2 teaspoonful of apple cider vinegar to the neem oil insecticide spray above. Repeat once per week.
For mosquitoes, Neem oil is a much safer alternative to using DEET containing sprays. To repel mosquitoes, a 1995 study at a field station at the Malaria Research Centre in Ranipur, Hardwar, India, tested a mix of 2% neem oil mixed in coconut oil, when applied to the exposed body parts of human volunteers, provided complete protection for 12 h from the bites of all mosquitoes endemic to that area. The study concluded that the “application of neem oil is safe and can be used for protection from malaria in endemic countries.”
NOTE: There is one important caveat. The only studies that showed significant protection from mosquito bites using neem oil, were those that used the neem oil in coconut oil mix on a certain species of mosquitoes. Results in varying areas of the world may vary according to the mosquito species. Rubbing pure Neem oil on your skin is not the most pleasant sensation – especially in a hot, humid climate. Nor does it have an appealing smell.
Several companies offer personal neem outdoor sprays like this or this. They may not necessarily use neem oil, as neem leaf extract has similar properties though it is not as powerful as the oil. The outdoor sprays do offer some protection against biting insects in general. The number of bites will be greatly reduced, but you will probably still get bitten.
NEEM OIL FOR BED BUGS
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deemed that cold-pressed neem oil “is the only biochemical pesticide registered for use against bed bugs.” In fact, results have shown that neem oil can help control bed bug eggs, nymphs, and adults.
How to use neem oil for bed bugs:
First, fill a 16 ounce spray bottle with water, then add 1 tablespoonful of pure Castile soap (required to solubilize neem oil) and 4-5 teaspoonfuls of cold-pressed neem oil (The EPA recommends a 5.5% concentration level of neem oil for residential use). Shake to mix and add 5-6 drops of an essential oil such as clove leaf essential oil, an effective bed bug repellent.
- Spray bed mattresses, sheets, headboard, underneath the bed and small crevices where bed bugs hide. Use three times a day for the first three days and then three times a day every other day for at least 3 weeks to ensure you have eradicated the infestation. Alternatively, these products are available if you don’t want to mix your own spray.
- If you’d rather purchase a spray, these are available. Just click on the picture above to order.
There is no wonder that the Neem tree is known by many names including “Divine Tree”, “Heal All”, “Nature’s Drugstore”, “Village Pharmacy” and “Panacea for all diseases”. From one source we have Neem oil uses for plants, for gardens, for comfort, for protection and most of all we have Neem oil for health benefits!
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