Dubbed the ‘village pharmacy’ in South Asia, the ancient neem tree has been used for thousands of years for a myriad of therapeutic uses including as an insect repellent, to clean teeth, treat ulcers, skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and ringworm and to destroy harmful fungi, parasites and viruses.
While not as well known as other herbs from the Asian Subcontinent, research shows that neem has a far wider array of medicinal uses than any other herb. In the West, the neem is known usually as a culinary spice or as a toothpaste, but eastern traditional medicine ha has many phenomenal applications and diverse health treatments of this safe herbal ingredient. Various pharmacological properties are found in the bark, leaves, seeds, fruit, gum and oils of the neem tree.
These properties include antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, fever-reducing, anti-nausea and immune stimulation.
Neem stimulates the production of T-cells which help fight infections. Unlike most pharmaceutical antibiotics, neem does not destroy beneficial bacterial that the body needs to maintain optimum health. Neem is one the most powerful known blood cleansers and boxy detoxifiers. For overall well-being, neem leaves contain fiber, carbohydrates, ten proteins as well as calcium and other minerals.
Additionally, neem oil is high in essential fatty acids, and contains all of these vital nutrients in considerable quantities. Ailments that neem helps to clear up include athlete’s foot, yeast infections and herpes viruses.
Skin and Hair:
The high fatty-acid content of the oil may be why neem is so effective for treating many skin ailments. Neem has a very powerful skin rejuvenating qualities and absorbs quickly into the skin. Neem oil is effective on chronic skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and even warts. Scalp conditions such as dandruff, scaling and hair loss also respond well to neem oil or shampoo applied topically. Injuries such as skin abrasions, sprains and bruises are treated with neem lotion or cream due to the soothing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of neem.
The most popular use of the neem tree is as a miswak or toothbrush stick and as a toothpaste. And for good reason; studies show that neem can reduce and even reverse gum degeneration after using neem for only a few months. Infection of the mouth and gums, tooth decay and bleeding and sore gums are also healed or maintained with the use of neem mouth washes, toothpastes or neem leaf extract in water.
Neem can reduce insulin requirements in diabetics by almost 50% in some patients – and without altering blood glucose levels. Hence, traditional Indian medicine treats diabetes with pure, powdered neem leaf capsules.
Medical research on the neem tree also found that it has an ability to reduce blood pressure, decrease the incidence of blood clots, heart irregularities and high cholesterol levels. This is thought to be due in part due to the antihistamine effects of neem which causes blood vessels to dilate. High cholesterol is treated by neem leaf extract or capsules.