What Is Neem Oil?
Neem is a medicinal herb that is native to the Indian subcontinent. Neem leaves have been widely used in Ayurveda and traditional medicine.
The essential oil obtained from neem also has valuable medicinal properties. The active antioxidants in neem oil are azadirachtin and nimbin, which give neem oil its medicinal qualities.
The color of neem oil varies from pale yellow to green. Neem essential oil can be extracted from the fruit and seeds by the process of solvent extraction, steam distillation and the cold pressing technique.
Uses of Neem Oil
Neem oil blends well with eucalyptus, cedarwood, clary sage, lavender, sandalwood, black pepper and rosemary oil.
Neem oil is used in the following ways:
- In vapor rubs and pain balms
- As a massage oil
- As an insect repellent
- In cosmetics, face washes and creams
- In toothpaste and mouthwashes
Benefits of Neem Oil
The health benefits of neem oil can be attributed to its antiseptic, antioxidant, antihistamine, antipyretic and antifungal properties.
The significant health benefits include:
1. Reduces inflammation
Neem oil is rich in powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that help soothe inflammation in the affected muscles and surrounding tissues. Neem oil is a traditional remedy for acid reflux diseases, arthritis and psoriasis.
2. Stimulates appetite
Most people lose their appetite after a surgery, infection or an extended illness. Neem oil is an excellent appetite stimulant that helps increase one’s appetite and aid in weight gain.
Neem oil is also recommended for those suffering from poor nutrient absorption, weight loss and eating disorders.
3. Treats intestinal ulcers
Intestinal ulcers are caused by imbalanced pH levels in the stomach. Neem oil contains anti-ulcer and gastroprotective properties that soothe acidity and restore pH levels in the stomach. Neem oil is commonly used in the treatment of intestinal ulcers.
4. Detoxifies the body
Neem oil contains diuretic properties that stimulate urination thereby increasing urine frequency and volume. An increase in urination helps eliminate excess water, salts, uric acid, fats and other harmful toxins from the body.
Neem oil is an effective detoxifier that reduces strain on the kidneys and immune system.
5. Maintains skin health
Neem oil is often used in skin care cosmetics. Neem oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties that soothe inflammation on the skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
Additionally, neem oil also eliminates dead cells and promotes the growth of new cells to give your skin a youthful look.
6. Controls blood sugar levels
Neem oil has a hypoglycemic effect, which is a significant benefit for those who have diabetes. Neem oil lowers blood sugar levels and regulates glucose levels in the body.
It helps prevent sudden drops and spikes in blood sugar and prevents people from developing diabetes.
7. Prevents cancer
Neem oil has a high concentration of antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in the body and prevents oxidative stress and cell damage. Neem oil helps lower the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and various forms of cancer.
Neem oil is known to reverse the formation of malignant tumors in the body. It is particularly useful in treating prostate and breast cancer.
8. Boosts immune system
The antimicrobial properties of neem oil make it an immune system booster and protect the body from critical infections. Neem oil contains active ingredients that neutralize and break down the cell wall of bacteria, thereby preventing the spread of the infection.
Side Effects of Neem Oil
Although neem oil has many benefits, it has its share of side effects:
- People having sensitive skin can experience allergic reactions such as swelling, redness, irritation and itching.
- Consuming this oil internally can irritate the respiratory tract.
- Using neem oil in large quantities can cause gastrointestinal disorders like bloating, heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
- When taken in excess it can cause a drastic reduction in blood sugar levels and results in hypoglycemia.
- Can affect fertility in men by affecting the sperm count. Men suffering from fertility issues are advised not to use neem oil.
- Not recommended for use during pregnancy as it can stimulate menstrual flow and cause a miscarriage.