Commonly known as mwarobaini – the plant that can cure up to 40 illnesses – Neem is an evergreen plant that is beneficial to humans and the environment at large. It is native to India, and for over 4000 years neem has been used in Aryuvedic medicine, to combat illnesses and health conditions such as diabetes, urinary tract infection, gastric ulcers, indigestion, constipation, asthma, coughs and Malaria.
Neem leaf is used to address gingivitis, gum issues, diabetes, liver problems, heart problems, eye problems and stomach upsets.
Aside from the leaves, neem is availed in different forms, including, oil, capsules, powder, cream, mouthwash or tincture. The bark, fruit and flower of this tree are not as common as the leaves, nonetheless, they are also used for their medicinal properties.
So what are the benefits of neem?
- To relieve stomach ulcers
Too much acid in the stomach or a bacteria known as H.pylori can lead to gastric ulcers. Studies on using neem to address gastric ulcers show that supplements made with neem bark extract aid in ulcer control, by curbing acid secretion in the gut.
2. Dental health
Neem is commonly deemed as the go-to herbal treatment for dental issues. Traditionally, people used to chew the leaves or the bark of the neem tree to fight bacteria and prevent cavity formation. Nowadays, people use oral products made with neem since science supports that neem can prevent gingivitis and reduce plaque buildup.
3. Cancer-suppressing properties
Neem has shown to have immune-stimulating, anti-cancer and tumour suppressing properties. Even though clinical studies on how neem can prevent or cure cancer are not sufficient, neem provides benefits that may lower the risk of cancer.
Since neem stimulates the immune system it is advisable for people with autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis to use a doctor’s guidance when taking neem.
4. To treat acne
Most topical treatments that address acne contain neem for one good reason; neem contains anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties which stop the redness and prevent breakouts respectively.
The anti-inflammatory properties also makes it efficient in addressing burns, wounds, and various skin problems.
Neem oil is recommended as a long-term topical treatment to fight acne and prevent future breakout. Have a look at a review of the bajaj neem face wash for acne scars clearing
5. To maintain healthy hair
Healthy hair begins with a healthy scalp. Neem contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which fight fungal infections and relieve symptoms that cause dandruff. Neem oil alongside neem-based hair products is also good for moisturising the scalp, nourishing the hair and also for promoting thickness and lustre. Neem oil is recommended for people with dandruff issues, a thinning scalp or unruly hair.
Do not apply undiluted neem oil directly on the skin or scalp as it may lead to irritations.
6. Pests and insect repellant
Studies support that a 10-minute treatment with neem products can kill lice and eggs. Hence lice treatments are infused with neem oil because it is effective in killing lice. Neem can also be used as an insect repellant. To use it as a mosquito repellant you can dilute neem oil with water then apply it on your skin or light a neem candle/incense. Another alternative is to burn kerosene mixed with neem oil (100:1 ratio). You may use a lamp or lantern for this.
7. To promote healthy digestive system
In India, neem is used for a variety of gastric problems. Not only are the leaves used as the go-to treatment for peptic and duodenal ulcers but they also treat other bowel conditions like heartburn and indigestion.
Neem can also treat food poisoning as it exhibits antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which relieve the effects of this condition. Besides, it removes toxins and bacteria from the stomach all while protecting the gut against hydrochloric acid. This must be the reason why neem is often used to treat digestive disorders.
Since neem is not only available in its organic form but also in medicated pills and capsules, it is advisable to consult a doctor before using the pills for self-medication. This is so especially for pregnant mothers, children, people with diabetes, autoimmune disorders or someone under medication.
Neem may provide health benefits and medicinal value but it is reported to exhibit negative side effects if not administered under a doctors guidance or supervision.
Get to know the 5 organic plants that help with diabetes.