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Medicinal Uses of Neem (Azadirachta indica): Overview, Benefits, Risks, and Extracts

Updated: Apr 23



Championed as Sovereign remedy for all diseases health benefits are much sweeter of this bitter  neem leaves .Almost every neighborhood in our country is adorned with this wondrous tree which is has myriads of health benefits 

Be it is gastro intestinal ,dental ,skin ,hair  ,this holy neem has plethora of health benefits .

Also named as ‘holy tree’ ,’natures drug store’ .’life giving tree’ ,this humble tree has a strong initial grasp in the world of medicine and well being

From  its leaves ,roots ,stem ,flowers ,seeds bark or fruits ,every part of this holy tree has potent pharmacological properties like antifungal ,anti viral ,anti bacterial ,anti histamine etc

It goes by the scientific name Azadirachta indica which indicates a free tree native to India ,comes  from family of Meilaceae .Sanskrit name indicates this versatile tree as ‘Arishta’ which means ‘reliever of sickness ‘.

With this incredible potential in medicine pest management and environmental welfare ,various bioactive component of neem acts as anti inflammatory and anti bacterial too


Mentions about neem in ayurveda

Its mentioned in puranic scriptures like Atharva veda ,upanishads ,amarakosha and ghrysutra as a rejuvenative herb and journals for various indiactions which includes kusta (Skin ) ,Deepana (kindles Digestion ),pachana(helps in digestion ) ,keshya (hair) ,anulomana ,prameha (Diabetes) ,thrisha hara (relieves thirst ) ,swasa(Asthma ) .ama hara ( treats indigestion ) ,vauasthapana (prevents ageing ) ,rasayana (rejuvenation ) ,balya (norrishment) ,

Meha hara (cures uti) ,pandu (relieves anaemia )kass hara (relieves cough ) ,sonithaasthapana (conrols bleeding ) ,vamanopaga ( treats emesis )  jwara (cures fevere) ,krimi hara(anti worms ) ,kantya (improves voice ) ,and hridhya (treats cardiac ailments )  Jvara (useful in fever),

 

Neem is also beneficial on an ecological scale, as it helps curb air pollution, improve soil health and allow life-sustaining fauna to thrive. Plus, Neem is considered sacred in certain communities of India. It is often planted in the vicinity of Hindu temples to clean the air and create a positive atmosphere conducive to rituals.

Owing to several benefits of neem and cultural significance, it has been part of the Ayurveda tradition for over 4000 years.


For centuries its addressed as Wonder tree Do you know why?

Neem contains both alkaloids and liminoids, each with  an array of medicinal properties  For instance, one liminoid (azadirachtin) has been found to be 95% effective when used as a pesticide and insecticide.

Another liminoid found in Neem leaves, a fundamental component of many neem products, have myriad uses in traditional medicine. (gedunin) has been used to treat malaria in tropical countries. Two other alkaloids (nimbin and nimbidin) have antiviral and antifungal properties.


Ayurvedic energetics

The holy neem is sanctified with Tikta (i.e. bitter taste) and Kashaya Rasa (I.e. astringent taste) and Laghu (i.e. light) and Rukshna Guna (i.e. dry quality). It intrinsically portrays Shita Virya (i.e. cold potency) and KatuVipaka (i.e. pungent metabolic taste). Being light and dry, it pacifies the Pitta (fire and air) doshas and Kapha (earth and water) doshas whereas an excess of it can aggravate the Vata (air) doshas. Owing to the intrinsic properties and doshas, Neem has a positive effect on the various Dhatus (i.e. body tissues) of the body including Rasa (i.e. Plasma), Rakta (i.e. Blood), Mamsa (i.e. Muscles), Asthi (i.e. Bones) and Shukra (i.e. Reproductive Fluids). 


Neem Balances Pitta. 

Neem is quite bitter in taste, which gives it a powerful cooling energy (virya). This cooling principle, combined with its capacity to support healthy blood, helps balance the body's systems, a benefit closely linked to the medicinal properties found in neem extract. pitta—particularly when there is heat in rakta dhatu (the blood).


Neem Balances Kapha. 

Neem’s light and dry qualities give it the ability to counter kapha as well. Neem’s kapha-reducing properties encourage proper fat and water digestion and elimination, keeping water retention from accumulating in the body.


Neem Can Aggravate Vata. 

Neem’s cold, light, and dry qualities tend to aggravate vata. Neem is therefore often recommended in combination with other herbs that help subdue its vata-provoking nature.

The ayurvedic properties help in portraying the following main prabhava on the body which are,  Vranahara (helps treat wounds), Shramahara (relieves tiredness), Chardi (relieves vomiting and nausea), Aruchihara (treats anorexia) and Krumihara (relieves worms).


What Are The Chemical Constituents Of Neem?

Blessed with bio active component including These biochemical components like azadirachtin, nimbolinin, nimbin, nimbidin, nimbidol, nimbanene, nimbandiol, nimbolide, sodium nimbinate, gedunin, salannin, quercetin, 6-desacetylnimbinene, ascorbic acid, n-hexacosanoland amino acid, 7-desacetyl-7-benzoylazadiradione, 7-desacetyl-7-benzoylgedunin, 17-hydroxyazadiradione, ß-sitosterol, and polyphenolic flavonoids accounts for wide range of therapeutic properties

 

In this blog lets explore heart of this miracle tree NEEM 

·      Alleviates acne

Neem can alleviate skin blemishes due to its anti-inflammatory properties

·      Fortifies skin

Being rich in  Vitamin E ,it can revitalize your skin  and help to repair the damage  and prevents wrinkles .Being an excellent exfoliant ,it can help to remove the dead cell. It can impart cooling effect to the body  due to its bitter taste .teenagers and adults use neem paste as first aid to treat acne .It can whiten your skin and protect against UV rays .Owing to thiktharasa,it offers various healing against eczema ,boils ,psoriasis and scabies

·      Use as a face pack

Grounded neem leaves goes well along with turmeric or rose water to treat acne and can improve the complexion

·      As a scrubber

Grounded dry neem leaves along with dried orange peel with lemon juice and milk can help as a gentle scrubber .It can work against wrinkle and can help to whiten the skin

·      For acne

Neem along with aloe gel can treat acne

·      Fungal infection

Scientifically proved against all fungal infection

·      Detoxifies major systems

Consumption of neem leaves can detoxify the toxins from the body and can stimulate the kidney and liver metabolism

·      Boosts immunity

Known for its antimicrobial and anti-bacterial effect, neem plays a huge role in boosting immunity and is considered a vital medicinal plant in the Indian subcontinent. It can support overall health by eliminating free radicals ,regulating hormones and by boosting immunity

·      Insect & Mosquito Repellent

Dried Neem leaves  and neem oil helps as a mosquito repellent and can protect skin  from blisters

·      Aids digestion and gut health

Owing to its anti inflammatory  andanti flatulent properties ,neem can help in relieving series of diseases like ulcer ,flatulence ,constipation etc .Its kapha reducing properties can encourage good fat and water digestion and elimination ,keeping water retention from accumulating in the body

·      Effective in no healing ulcers

Highly effective in healing wound due to its antiseptic properties

·      Reduces Dandruff

Widely used in shampoos and conditioners owing to its anti bacterialproperties .Due to its cooling properties ,it can support lustrous and smooth hair .It can equally help to reduce lice and  dandruff  in hair .It has intrinsic anti microbial activities an anti inflammatory properties  so it can treat various infectious conditions like folliculitis  and can improve hair strands .It also reduces the stress hormones and also prevents hair breakage

 

Application of paste of neem leaf ,methi seeds and water can help to reduce dandruff

 

·      Can alleviate joint inflammation

Application of neem oil or extract  on the affected area can reduce the inflammation in arthritis

·      Supports lung health

Can clear the kapha blockage and improve healthy breathing

·      Regulates Diabetes, a benefit substantially supported by studies that found neem leaf extract helps in managing blood sugar levels.

This incredible leaf portrays strong anti-diabetic properties which play a key role in pacifying the blood sugar levels in the body. The β-pancreatic cells, which helps in the production of insulin becomes extremely active on the consumption of the leaf powder or juice. It also helps to reduce the breakdown of starch into glucose which in turn leads to low blood glucose levels in the body and maintains a balanced diabetic state, showing the beneficial effect of neem on diabetes management.

·      Uplifts oral hygiene

Abundant in germ killing properties ,neem helps to prevent bad breathe and halitosis and also helps in preventing swelling in gums ,bleeding ,tooth ache and other oral problems .So its widely used in tooth pastes ,mouth wash and tooth powders

 

Chewing neem Twigs, often used as a natural toothbrush, are enriched with neem seed oil, promoting oral health and serving as a natural mouthwash. is a traditional morning ritual for maintaining optimal oral health

 

·      Ward off bugs using natural neem products which act as a natural pesticide.

Imbued with potent anti microbial and anti bacterialproperties ,neem can control problems ranging from rashes ,fever and infectious diseases like dengue ,malaria ,typhoid ,yellow fever etc


Culinary versatility

Though leaves are too bitter in taste, neem flower, a part of the same medicinal plant, is widely used in various culinary preparations like rasam, pachadi across the Indian subcontinent.  and curries .Each ugadhi you might have tasted traditional dish  with mixture of neem flower ,banana and jaggery as a first dish in most of the south Indian traditions .This adds on to its Deepana properties


Harnessing multiple uses of the parts of this versatile tree

·      Neem Powder

Neem powder along with aloe juice and water can control diabetes

Daily consumption of neem powder can keep your skin flawless and can purify blood

·      Neem leaves

Decoction of neem leaves removes toxins from blood and can purify the skin

A paste of neem leaves can treat acne an boils ,urtricaria ,eczema etc

The Neem leaf is especially useful in balancing vata  disorders. It  removes ama and other toxins from the body, purifies the blood, and neutralizes damaging free radicals. It is nourishing to  the hair

Neem leaf is also revered for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Even today in India, people sprinkle fresh Neem leaf near the beds of patients with flu or fever, and hang a cluster of leaves on the door outside. The air that crosses the neem leaf is purified of viruses and bacteria, helping to disinfect the room and prevent the spread of disease.


How can we use neem leaves? 

·      Skin issues - Combine neem leaves paste with turmeric and apply it on eczema, itching, ringworm, and mild skin issues. 

·      Ear problems - Add honey to the blended neem leaves and a few drops of it will ease ear boils. 

·      Wound healing - Make  paste using neem leaves and apply it on insect bites or wounds (do it for a few times every day until it heals). 

·      Eye problems - Boil neem leaves, leave this water to cool down and use it for washing your eyes. This eases the state of redness, irritation, and tiredness. 

·      Get rid of dandruff - Boil neem leaves and let the water turn green. Once it is cool, use it for washing the hair after shampoo, as the effect of neem extract in the solution can promote a healthy scalp.

·      Immunity booster - Crush some leaves of neem and have them with a glass of water. It will boost your immunity magically. 

·      Neem bark

Neem bark decoction is used in treating fever and malaria. It is traditionally used to treat tiredness, KAPHA dosha imbalance, worms, fever and loss of appetite. Because of its antiseptic and astringent properties, it is especially helpful in healing wounds.

The astringent qualities of the bark prevents bleeding gums, tooth decay and foul smell long before the advent of toothpaste.

·      Neem  twigs 

The neem twig is a superb toothbrush having magical power for maintaining alkaline in the salvia, fighting germs, keeping bacteria away, treating swollen gums, and making your teeth whiter. It also prevents the plague

·      Neem oil

It is especially effective in treating head lice and dandruff, and creates a purifying effect when used in aromatherapy.

Neem oil is very effective as mosquito repellent. It is used in cosmetic preparations also (Soap, Balms, Creams, Shampoo, Toothpaste).                                                                                                       

·      Flowers of neem 

Delicate and white neem flowers with off-white buds are not just aesthetically pleasing but are also therapeutic when ingested, showcasing the diverse utility of neem products. In South India, these are used in varied dishes such as pachadi, flower rice, lentils, and rasam. On the top of the dish, they are sprinkled to garnish. 

Neem flowers are also used in the treatment of belching, nausea, anorexia, and intestinal worms.


Ayurvedic formulations using  with Neem.

NimbadikashaymTikthakamkashaym

Guggulutiktamkashyam

Nimbamrathsavam

NimbadhiChoornam

ManjisthadiKwath

NimbadiKwatha Tablet

MahathikthakaGritham Capsules

Gulguluthikthakamghritham  Capsule


Is Neem Safe?

·      Discontinue use and consult your health care practitioner if there are any signs of nausea, vomiting, loose stools, or excess hunger.

·      Neem may intensify the effect of medications aimed at lowering blood pressure or blood sugar, causing blood sugar and blood pressure to drop.


Contraindications

·      Infants or children

·      Those who are pregnant or trying to conceive

·      Those with allergies to any plants in the mahogany family

·      Anyone exhibiting extremely elevated vata, wasting , or debility

·      Even people having kidney or liver issues should totally avoid using neem supplements since an over usage of it can cause loose stools, vomiting, acidosis, liver damage, decreased fertility, encephalopathy and even seizures in children. 

·      Drug interactions: Neem may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners. In case you are taking any medications, it is recommended to consult with a doctor before using Neem.


Dosage: 

It is crucial to consume Neem in the recommended dosage, as taking large doses may lead to side effects.

Genera instructions on dosages

Neem Leaves:  4-5 leaves once a day.

Neem Churna: ¼-½ tsp twice a day.

Neem Capsule/ Tablet: 1-2 tablets or capsules twice a day.

Neem Juice: 2-4 tsp twice a day.

Neem Syrup: 3-4 tsp twice a day after meals.


Is neem a sperm killer?

The aqueous extract of neem leaves are potent spermicide


Can I eat neem leaves daily?

Yes but in recommended doses ,may be 4-5 leaves a day


Who should not use neem?

Neem can affect fertility in both men and women .So those who are planning to conceive should not use neem

Those who has low blood sugar levels should avoid neem


What are the side effects of eating neem leaves daily?

On intake of neem in a daily basis ,it can  harm kidney and liver


Is it good to eat raw neem leaves?

It can protect the gut and alimentary system by avoiding pathogens


What diseases are cured by neem leaves?

Most of skin lesions ,and infectitious diseases like small pox ,chicken pox ,warts can be treated using neem


Is neem leaf good for kidney?

It can contribute to development of kidney stones  due to its high oxalate and other components like nimbolide is proven to exhibit nephrotoxicity and can impair  renal cells


Does neem increase blood pressure?

Its potent in lowering the blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels


What does neem do to men?

It can affect their fertility  rate in a higher possibility


Does neem oil affect sperm?

Yes it can


How do you use neem leaves?

You can use it as a paste in local application for skin lesions and non healing ulcers


Do neem tree repel mosquitoes?

Yes it can


Will neem oil kill aphids?

Yes, it is a natural pesticide, derived from neem extract, and can kill aphids effectively.


Where neem tree grow?

The botanical name indicates neem as a ‘free tree  of  India ‘ so mostly found in subcontinent levels


How neem oil works?

Neem oil interferes in the endocrinal system of the insect which can stop their growth .They also suffocates their breathing openings


Can neem remove pimples?

Yes .It acts as a natural cleanser owing to its anti bacterial property


Is neem oil a carrier oil?

Yes it has components which can reduce fungal infections


Is neem good for hair growth?

Yes components like linoleic acid  and fatty acid can strengthen the hair follicles


Can neem oil kill ants?

Yes it can


Is neem harmful for eyes?

May be slightly irritation to eyes


Is neem tree invasive?

Yes it can be invasive in some areas


Can neem remove dandruff?

Yes it can ,wng to have vitamin E and fatty acid ,it can help to reduce dandruff


Neem have strong antibiotic properties

It  has strong  anti bacterial ,anti viral ,anti malarial anti fungal properties


Can neem oil kill lice?

Yes you can get rid of lice using neem oil


Do neem trees lose their leaves?

Yes they do in winter and also in drought


Are neem seeds edible?

Yes they are


Is neem good for seborrheic dermatitis?

Yes they can reduce seborrheic dermatitis owing to their anti fungal properties

Are neem leaves and curry leaves the same

No they are different from each other 

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