Finding natural and safe products for improving your health can be a heck of a challenge. But the funny thing is that this world is full of natural herbs and substances that have the ability to boost your health as well as cure almost any kind of diseases. These natural goodies go unnoticed most of the time simply because people are unaware of their potential benefits. Neem oil is one such natural product that has countless different uses, yet is not known to many of us. While it is mostly popular as an insect repellent, the benefits of neem oil go way beyond just repelling insects.
Neem (Azadirachtaindica), also known as Indian Lilac is a wonderful herb that has been used for thousands of years as an Ayurvedic remedy for many health problems. Irrespective of the availability of tons of skin and hair products in the market these days, the value of neem and the various products derived from the herb still holds true. What’s even more convincing is that almost all the benefits that has been listed under neem are backed by numerous researches and studies.
How is Neem Oil Made?
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. The oil, which has a bitter taste has powerful insect repelling properties and is widely used as an insecticide in many parts of India. Depending on the method of extraction, neem oil takes different colors such as greenish brown, golden yellow, yellowish brown and dark brown.
One of the great things about neem oil is that although insects absolutely hate it, it is perfectly safe for birds, humans and other animals. In fact, owing to its numerous benefits, neem oil is often used in many products such as soaps, creams, lotions, shampoos and toothpastes.
Neem oil is extracted by crushing the kernel of the seed either by cold pressing or by pressing at a temperature of 40 to 50 degree Celsius. It can also be extracted by solvent extraction of the seeds or neem fruit. Depending on the method of extraction, the quality of the oil varies considerably.
Neem oil can be a bit pricey when you buy it from shops. A great way to save money is to make your own neem oil at home. Here’s how to make neem oil for skin:
- Take a few neem seed kernels and grind them with the help of a food processor.
- Transfer the powder into a metal bowl and cover it with water. Let it sit for 48 hours.
- Remove the oil that floats on the surface of the water.
- Now put the kernels back in the processor and repeat the process until you get a liquid consistency. This is 100% organic neem oil.
- Filter the oil into an airtight bottle and use.
Another method of making neem oil for hair and skin is to take a handful of neem leaves and grinding it into a paste. Then heat some coconut oil, add the neem paste and boil in a low flame for about 10-15 minutes. Switch off the flame and allow the oil to cool. Once it has cooled, filter the oil and store in an airtight bottle.
How Neem Oil benefits Your Skin
Neem oil contains Azadirachtin and triterpenoid, two phytochemicals that contribute to the many of the medicinal properties of the oil, including its antimicrobial, antiseptic and antihistamine properties. Because of these effects, neem oil can be found in many skin care products such as face creams, lotions and soaps. Following are some of the most important benefits neem oil for skin:
- Neem Oil for Reducing Aging Signs
You may fear the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on your skin, but these signs are an unavoidable part of aging. Both neem leaves and neem oil have been used for thousands of years to treat many skin problems, including wrinkles.
One of the many factors that contributes to the appearance of aging signs is the oxidative stress on the skin cells caused by free radicals. Neem oil, being a rich source of phytochemicals and other antioxidants can help reduce the negative effects of these free radicals.
The high amount of fatty acids in neem oil also help get rid of aging signs by providing an emollient effect on the skin and restoring the skin’s elasticity. The oil also stimulates the production of collagen, making your skin soft, smooth and supple.
- Neem Oil for Eczema, dry skin, skin rash and Psoriasis
Dry skin, although not a serious condition, can be uncomfortable and unattractive. It is mostly caused by factors such as heat, weather, taking long hot showers, using harsh detergents and soaps, and other skin conditions. An effective remedy to get rid of dry skin is neem oil because it is rich in Vitamin E, fatty acids, antioxidants and many othernutrients. When you apply the oil on your skin, these nutrients penetrate the deep layers of the skin, providing nourishment and moisturization.
Eczema is a rash-like skin condition where patches of skin become itchy, red and inflamed. Factors such as allergens, foods, hormones, irritants, stress, microbes and changes in temperature are considered to cause eczema. Although neem oil will not cure eczema, it can provide immense relief from its symptoms. The oil contains anti-inflammatory compounds that soothes inflammation and helps heal the rashes quickly.
Psoriasis is another common skin disorder characterized by itchy, scaly plaques of red skin. A variety of factors such as emotional trauma, certain drugs, problems with the immune system and bacterial infections are said to contribute to the symptoms of psoriasis. Neem oil possesses antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties and so applying it on the affected area help reduce itching, redness, inflammation and pain. The antiseptic properties of the oil promote faster healing of the area.
- Neem Oil for Acne and Pimples
Neem oil benefits for face health in terms of its ability to keep Acne and pimples at bay. Acne, an inflammatory skin problem mostly affecting teens and adults is caused by the clogging of the hair follicles with sebum, dead skin cells and dirt. People usually turn to a wide range of prescription medications and topical creams to get rid of this annoying problem. Most of these products, unfortunately results only in aggravating the condition.
- Neem oil for scabies
Scabies is contagious irritating skin condition resulting from scabies mites. Neem oil is found effective in treating scabies. It impairs reproductive cycle of these mites and stops their growth. It also moisturizes and soothes the itch. To treat scabies on can apply neem oil diluted with coconut oil to the region directly. Adding neem oil to bathing water also helps. Antiseptic homemade cream made from turmeric and neem oil can be effective as home remedy for scabies. Take 2 spoon neem oil, dilute it with one spoon coconut oil and mix with 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Add little lemon juice and make a paste for scabies.
Neem Oil has been used as a safe and effective acne remedy for many years. As mentioned earlier, neem has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. This helps in getting rid of the bacteria that cause acne, reduce inflammation and prevent further infection. In ayurveda, neem oil for skin allergies has been recommended. Skin fungal infections are also common and neem oil for skin fungus is effective.
In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, neem oil is also used as a remedy for wounds, ringworms, scabies, blackheads and fungal infections.
Benefits of Neem Oil for the Hair
Want healthy, long, lustrous locks? Consider including neem oil in your hair care regimen. Let’s see how neem oil makes your hair healthy and beautiful:
- Neem Oil for Hair Growth
The nutrients in neem oil, in addition to nourishing and rejuvenating your hair, also strengthens the root and promotes the healthy growth of hair. Try out neem oil shampoo.
- Neem oil for hair dandruff
Neem oil is an effective cure for almost all hair problems, including dandruff. It has powerful antifungal properties, which can destroy the fungi responsible for causing dandruff. Moreover, it helps maintain the pH levels and health of the scalp.
To eliminate dandruff, massage neem oil onto the scalp, leave it on overnight and then wash it off in the morning.
- Neem Oil Gets Rid of Head Lice
Head lice (Pediculosis capitis) are parasites that live on human hair and feed on blood they suck from the scalp. They reproduce very quickly and eliminating them is often very difficult. Head lice have developed resistance to most of the medications and treatments available, rendering them ineffective.
Neem oil is a safe and alternative treatment for head lice. It contains acompound called azadirachtin thatinterrupts the growth and reproduction of head lice. The compound affects the swallowing systems of the insect, starving them to death. The soothing properties of neem oil reduces itching of the scalp.
- Neem Oil Reduces Frizz
If you’ve frizzy hair, you can get it under control by applying neem oil. It acts as a conditioner, moisturizes your hair and adds shine to it. Just apply a few drops of the oil on your hair after shampooing. Leave it on for 2 or 3 minutes and then rinse it off.
- Neem Oil for Scalp health
Massaging the scalp with neem oil increases blood circulation and nourishes the scalp and hair roots. The nutrients in the oil improve the health of the hair and scalp, and prevents most the scalp related problems.
- Neem Oil Prevents Premature Graying of Hair
If you suffer from premature graying of hair, try applying neem oil regularly. Although the oil is not effective in reversing gray hair due to aging, it can however, reduce overall graying of the hair due to imbalance of hormones or other hair problems.
Other Health Benefits of Neem Oil
In addition to providing numerous benefits for skin and hair, neem oil is also a good remedy for many ailments affecting the body. Here are some of the health benefits of neem oil:
- Neem Oil for Gastrointestinal Problems
Neem oil can provide relief from gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers that are caused by an imbalance in pH levels. It does this by restoring and maintaining the pH levels of the intestine. Neem oil has analgesic property that helps reduce the pain associated with many gastrointestinal problems.
- Neem Oil Fights Cancer
An important factor that plays a key role in causing cancer is the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. The high content of antioxidants in neem oil scavenges the free radicals and prevents damage caused by them.Neem oil also has immune boosting properties and so cancer patients are sometimes given neem capsules to strengthen their immune system.
- Neem Oil for Healthy Gums
Neem oil has strong anti-bacterial properties, makingit an excellent remedy for gum problems like gingivitis and periodontitis.
Mix a few drops of neem oil with coconut oil and simply massage the comboon to the teeth and gums to get healthy gums and improve oral health.
Neem oil also helps keep your teeth strong and healthy by controlling bacteria and plaque. Just add a few drops of neem oil to your toothbrush and brush your teeth.
- Neem as natural pest repellant
Neem oil has properties to ward of bugs in your house and garden. It can be used as natural pest repellant. One can make home made bug spray for your yard from neem oil. Neem oil is effective in killing mosquito larvae. Spraying diluted neem oil in your surrounding can keep check on growth of mosquitoes. Neem oil treated mosquito nets and mosquito-repellent tablets are effective and available in market. Using neem oil for fleas is found effective.
- Neem oil as a vaginal contraceptive
Lab studies have showed that neem oil has strong spermicidal activity. Application of neem oil intravaginally can work as vaginal contraceptive without any side effects. Nimbin is bio chemical ingredient in neem oil which shows spermicial properties.
Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4000yrs for its medicinal properties. In Sanskrit languate, it is called ‘arista’ meaning ‘perfect, complete and imperishable’. As you can see, neem oil is a wonderful product of nature that benefits our health in numerous ways.No wonder the neem tree is referred to as the “Tree of Life.” The only drawback of the oil is its pungent aroma that may not appeal to most people. Always keep a bottle of neem oil at home so that you can turn to it for solving many of the common ailments that affect your body.
- Neem oil as a vaginal contraceptive – https://www.popline.org/node/403772
- Neem oil extractive – an effective mosquito larvicide. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19810582509
- Immunomodulatory effects of neem (Azadirachta indica) oil – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/019205619290054O
- Neem Oil poisoning – http://www.indianpediatrics.net/jan2008/56.pdf
- Neem: A green treasure – http://eprints.uni-mysore.ac.in/15031/
- Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131773/
- Biological activities and medicinal properties of nee -http://repository.ias.ac.in/5193/1/305.pdf
- Medicinal Plants and their Role in Wound Healing – http://www.kashvet.org/medicinal_plants_wound_healing.html