Although this website is particularly geared for oils, we thought that our visitors may enjoy a more holistic view of Neem, and herewith the traditional Indian uses of Neem summarized:
- It is a bitter, cool, acrid, astringent, and refrigerant herb. Useful for fever, loss of appetite, tiredness, coughs and intestinal worm infestation. Helpful for healing wounds and to combat vomiting, excessive thirst and skin diseases.
More information on Neem oil
- Are used in the treatment of Vatik disorders (that is neuro-muscular pains) and is also reported to remove toxins, preventing damage from free radicals and purifying the blood as well as beneficial in eye disorders and insect bite poisons.
- The fruit is bitter, purgative, anti-hemorrhodial and anthelmintic in nature.
- The flowers are used in conditions of Pitta (balancing the body heat) and Kapha (cough formation) and by nature are astringent and anthelmintic.
- They are bitter and have anthelmintic (vermifuge – destroys and expels intestinal worms) properties, as well as being anti-bacterial.
- The oil derived from crushing the seeds is a powerful anthelmintic compound and has a very wide spectrum of action and is highly medicinal in nature, which includes being a spermicidal compound (this action is because of the volatile fraction coded as NIM-76) s as well as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, etc.
- A mixture of all five parts of the tree - bark, root, fruit, flowers and leaves – are used in diseases of the blood. It is also used to alleviate conditions of excess heat, itching, helps with wound healing, reduces burning sensation in the body as well as in skin diseases.
To keep insects, silverfish, beetles and moths away from your books - place a couple of fresh leaves in your books. This can also be used in herbaria to protect against insect damage.
Neem oil should only be used externally on the skin and has been therapeutically used as folk medicine to control respiratory disorders, constipation, leprosy, as well as a general tonic. It has been used for the topical treatment of rheumatism, eczema, ringworm, athlete's foot, cold sores, psoriasis, warts, chronic syphilitic sores, infected burn wounds and slow-healing skin ulcers as well as controlling various skin infections.
It has anti-inflammatory, antipyretic (relieving fever) and analgesic (relieving pain) activity and possesses immunostimulant activity (increasing the body’s defense mechanism to fight infectious organisms and other foreign material) by selectively activating the cell-mediated immune mechanisms to elicit an enhanced response to subsequent mitogenic or antigenic challenge.
It has proved a very effective spermicide (killing sperm) in rhesus monkeys as well as human spermatozoa (because of the volatile principle coded as NIM-76). Studies showed that intra-vaginal application of a Neem oil mixture before coitus can prevent pregnancy. The mechanism of how it works seems to be non-hormonal - most probably mediated through its spermicidal effect and may have less side effects than steroidal contraceptives.
It is highly effective against human fungi, including trichophyton, epidermophyton, microsporum, trichosporon, geotricum and candida.
Furthermore, Neem oil is effective against a wide spectrum of bacteria – possessing antibacterial action against gram-negative and gram-positive microorganisms, including M. tuberculosis and the streptomycin-resistant strains, Salmonella typhora, S. aureus and in vitro tests showed that it inhibits Vibrio cholerae,Klebsiella pneumoniae, M. tuberculosis and M. pyogenes.
Its antimicrobial effects have been demonstrated against Streptococcus mutans and S. faecalis.
Application of Neem oil on the hair has been shown to kill head lice. A study was also done on various forms of cancer and tumors – and although the results were promising, this application needs more investigation.
Taking Neem oil internally is not recommended and taking internal doses as small as 5 ml have killed infants – and although there are some people stating that the toxicity was caused by other contaminants, and not the oil itself – we would recommend to err on the side of safety. A toxicological test in Germany, using clean Neem kernels resulted in no toxicity, even at a concentration of 5,000 mg per kg of body weight in rats.
Neem capsules containing the aqueous extract are also sold – but it is an extract from the leaves, and is not the oil itself.
However, before taking ANY type of supplement - please discuss it with your medical practitioner beforehand.
We have listed some recipes / ways to use Neem oil below - but a rule of thumb to remember is to keep your dilution of of Neem oil to about 2 - 5% of any mixture that you apply directly onto your skin. Some of the recipes below use higher percentages - but keep a lookout for any skin irritation.
- Cuts, wounds, minor skin disorders and mosquito and insect repellant
- Mix with Vaseline or a carrier oil in a ratio of 1:5 and apply to affected area.
- Athlete’s foot
- Add 15 ml to warm water and soak the feet in this preparation.
- Head lice
- Mix 50/50 with a carrier oil and massage into the hair and scalp. Leave on for 1 hour and shampoo. Repeat once weekly for 3 weeks or as long as the problem persists.
- Stop mosquitoes breeding
- Spray or pour oil on all breeding areas. The oil can be emulsified (to mix with water) by adding normal dish washing liquid to it.
- Plant protection
- Add 30 ml to 1 liter of water and add 1 ml of dishwashing liquid. Mix well and spray immediately for plant protection. Do not store the mixture; make fresh formulation for each spray. Spray the mixture on top of all the leaves and on the undersides where insects often hide – you can also spray it around the roots.
- Lamp oil to ward off mosquitoes
- Add 5 – 10% oil to any lamp oil and burn lamp normally.
- Dandruff and itchy scalp
- Add a few drops to your regular shampoo.
- Ticks and fleas on animals
- Add a few drops to your normal pet shampoo (ratio should be 30 ml (1 oz.) to 240 ml (8 oz.) shampoo). (Personally we have found that plain baby shampoo works the best.
- Apply 1 drop of undiluted oil directly on warts once per day. Watch carefully for any possible irritation, and should that occur discontinue use. Continue for 2-3 weeks.
- Psoriasis, cold sores, eczema, athletes foot, skin ulcers and other fungal skin conditions
- Mix 1 tablespoon (15 ml) with 4 ounces (120 ml) carrier oil such as jojoba or grape seed oil and apply twice a day to affected skin. Should skin irritation occur, discontinue use, or make mixture with less Neem oil.
- Pet and livestock spray for ticks, fleas, mange mites and other pests
- Mix 1 ounce (30 ml) oil with 1 gallon (3.8 liter) water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid (to emulsify the oil). Place mixture into a spray bottle or other type of sprayer, and spray animals once every two weeks. (This mixture can be used on indoor and outdoor plants as well as flowers and vegetables.)
- Cleaning the house
- Add to carpet shampoos and spray mattresses to kill dust mites.
- Hand wash
- Add a couple of drops to liquid hand soap for antibacterial properties.
- FOR ALL THE ABOVE
- As Neem oil has a rather strong smell you might want to add a few drops of your essential oil to any mixture to mask the smell. Lavender or lemongrass essential oils work well – but you could add your personal favorite.
Store neem oil in a cool dark place, away from sunlight. Neem oil can easily solidify - even at low room temperatures. Should this happen put the bottle in warm water (below 95 degree F) to liquefy. Do not place in near boiling water, as it may reduce the effectiveness of the oil.