June 25, 2015

The ‘Wonder Plant’ Neem

In the National Academy of Sciences’ 1992 book “Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems,” even highly cautious researchers could not help but call neem “a wonder plant.” And once you learn all about this ancient herb, you will have to agree.

What is Neem?

Neem is an evergreen (botanical name azadirachta indica) native to India that has been used in Ayurvedic treatments for nearly five thousand years. It was given the nickname sarva roga nivarin, which translates to “healer of all ailments.” The tree has another curious nickname that speaks to one of its many incredible properties: “the toothbrush tree.” This is because from ancient times to the modern day, twigs from the neem tree were and are still chewed on to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

In fact, all parts of the tree, from seeds to flowers and bark to leaves have a healthful use. The leaves and bark are turned into powders and extracts and tea; the seeds are cold-pressed into oil; the flowers are cooked and eaten in food dishes.

Neem Properties

Neem has a long list of healing qualities — it is antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-pyretic (fever reducing) and anti-inflammatory. It is a broad spectrum antiviral and an antihistamine. It has anti-anxiety and anti-parasitic properties. It is also extremely high in antioxidants — more than seven times higher than antioxidant-rich blueberries. Taken internally, neem purifies the blood, cleanses the body of toxins, promotes a healthy liver and heart, boosts the immune system, helps digestion, relieves bronchial and sinus inflammation, aids in balancing blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improves the skin, treats ulcers, and aids in acid reflux and gastritis.

Neem Products

Neem oil benefits the hair and skin, mainly, because the oil should not be ingested. Neem oil is highly moisturizing with its natural glycerides and long-chain fatty acids and is beneficial in anti-aging treatments. Other skin issues neem benefits are eczema, psoriasis and acne. Neem oil for hair has been used for thousands of year to spur hair growth, to strengthen hair and even to help avoid the graying of the hair. Neem oil is also a natural insect repellant that is safe to use on your pets and garden, too.