NEEM OIL BENEFITS AND SIDE EFFECTS
In ancient times, Ayurvedic healers used the herb Neem to treat a myriad of illnesses and conditions we now know today as ulcers, epilepsy, boils, diabetes, malaria, gastrointestinal issues, among many others. This ability to help in a wide range of health concerns earned neem the name “the village pharmacy” and “the healer of all ailments.” But neem has been virtually unknown in the West until fairly recently, and hundreds of research studies are starting to prove what the ancients already knew — neem is a safe, effective healer. Note: Ayurvedic medicine is an old practice of traditional medicine in India, though most western culture would refer to it as an alternative medicine.
NEEM OIL BENEFITS
Neem oil is derived from the neem tree, an evergreen related to mahogany that is native to India. It is a remarkably hardy tree, able to withstand drought and resist pests. Virtually every part of the tree as a use in alternative medicine. Even today, people in areas of India and Asia chew on twigs from the tree to clean their teeth and maintain healthy gums, earning neem yet another nickname, “the toothbrush tree.”
As odd as this seems, neem is highly effective when it comes to dental care. It reduces the bacteria in the mouth that produces plaque on the teeth and one study showed it reversed conditions on the teeth that lead to cavity formations. Users of neem with periodontal issues have reported it closed up large pockets in their gums and eliminated infection, and had the welcome side effect of whitening their teeth, as well.
Other neem uses include the ability to lower your cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels. Neem also has other benefits including purifying the blood, relieving arthritis pain, eliminating fungus, soothes sinus trouble, boosting the immune system, promoting healthy digestion and liver function, treats acid reflux and improves skin ailments such as psoriasis, eczema and acne. Neem hair oil is used to strengthen hair, prevent graying and prompting regrowth. The leaves of a neem tree act as one of the many natural constipation remedies.
Neem has a host of properties that make it extremely beneficial in so many areas of medicine and body cleansing. It is rich in antioxidants, which we all know help prevent cellular damage that can lead to disease in the body and acts as a natural anti aging product. It is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-pyretic (fever reducing) and a broad spectrum antiviral. It also has pain- relieving, anti-anxiety and even contraceptive properties (though traditional methods should still be used!). Neem oil has natural glycerides and long chain fatty acids make it highly moisturizing and beneficial for anti-aging purposes.
And although the Environmental Protection Agency has been slow to approve natural neem oil for pest control, research and countless years of neem use for this very purpose has shown it to be effective in repelling a multitude of insects and treating fleas and lice. On his web site, world-renowned Dr. Andrew Weil recommends using neem to gardeners wanting to grow organic plants.
NEEM OIL SIDE EFFECTS
Though there are no formal studies on neem side effects during human pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women, women trying to conceive should stay way from neem oil and other neem products.
The active ingredient in neem that is used for pesticide applications has been show to cause infertility in rats after months of constant exposure.
The list of neem oil benefits and side effects clearly weighs much heavier on the side of the benefits. As long as you are not pregnant or nursing neem oil seems like a safe form of alternative medicine.
Neem is available in capsules, extracts, powders to take as supplements, and infused in lotions, creams and hair care products. Neem oil is for external use only, but unlike essential oils, which must be diluted, neem can be safely applied directly to the skin. Health food stores have some neem products and they are available online, so it is easy to try neem’s benefits for yourself.