NEEM OIL BENEFITS
A colleague of mine recently brought me a bottle of Neem oil from India. I was intrigued and did some research on its benefits.
Neem tree (also known as Indian lilac or Margosa) grows in tropical areas and is abundant in India. Neem has its roots in the Sanskrit word “nimba,” meaning “bestower of good health.” It is perennial and blooms in white flowers. Neem oil has been used for Ayurvedic medicine in India for thousands of years.
It has bitter taste and pungent aroma. The compounds "azadirachtins" in Neem oil repel insects making it a natural insecticide. But here I am most interested in its benefits for skin and hair.
Neem oil contains high levels of antioxidants protecting the skin from free radical damages. It’s also high in fatty acids and other nutrients as below:
fatty acids (EFA)
- vitamin E
Fatty acids and vitamin E can quickly penetrate outer layers of skin, repair damaged tissue, prevent cellular damages and improve elasticity. It is extremely effective in healing dry and damaged skin.
It also stimulates collagen production. It helps smooth wrinkles and fine lines, thus offer anti-aging benefits.
A study on mice indicates that it could help with thinning and dry skin and wrinkles. Have you noticed your skin gets thinner with age? This might be an antidote for that.
Nimbin, an anti-inflammatory compound in the oil, has antiseptic, antifungal, antipyretic and antihistamine properties. Neem oil has been used as a folk remedy for acne, psoriasis or eczema. For acne, Neem oil can be mixed with Olive Oil and applied to face. Leave it on at least a hour before rinsing or leave it overnight.
Neem oil also has long been used for hair care. It repairs damage, removes bacteria, eliminates head and body lice. Oleic acids(omega-9) in the oil eliminate dandruff and stimulate longer and stronger hair growth. It also fights baldness and gray hair.
For dandruff, dilute the Neem oil in a carrier oil like Coconut oil or Grapeseed oil and massage into the scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes or longer before rinsing. You can use it in combination with Neem oil shampoo to increase its effectiveness.
Another benefit is oral care. It is effective in preventing tooth decay, gum disease and whitening teeth. Studies shows that advanced gingivitis patients treated with Neem oil showed significant improvements. By brushing with a neem toothpaste, they had lower level of bacteria, no bad breath and stopped bleeding from gum.
It has a legend behind it. While a half-human/half bird celestial being was carrying Ambrosia, the elixir of immortality, to the heaven, a few drops fell onto Neem tree giving it its healing qualities. It is believed to be inhabited by devas, illumined beings. In India, it is used to ward off evil spirits.
Overall, it represents good health.
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