The Neem tree (Azadirachtaindica) is a tropical evergreen tree native to India and the Indian subcontinent including Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri lanka. It is typically grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil. It has been used in the Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years for maintaining health and overall well-being. Every part of this tree has medicinal value and all parts of this tree can be used, the sap, twigs, flowers, seed kernels, gum, fruits and roots. Neem leaves are popular leaves in the naturopathic world; for centuries they have and are still being used to treat a wide range of sicknesses. They are highly loaded in powerful phytochemicals that are effective in treating diseases.
Neem has antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that not only benefit your health but also can help you to get rid of common beauty problems.The Sanskrit name ‘nimba’ comes from the term ‘nimbatisyasthyamdadati’ which means ‘to give good health’. Neem has a garlic-like odour, and a bitter taste. The various parts of this tree have many uses that aptly give neem its name in Sanskrit- “sarvaroganivarini”, meaning ‘the reliever of all diseases’.
Significance and Uses of Neem Leaves
The Neem tree (scientific name: Azadirachtaindica) belongs to the mahogany family of trees and is native to the Indian subcontinent but is now also cultivated in other tropical parts of the world.From its leaves to its seeds, bark, branches and roots, every part of the Neem tree has powerful medicinal and healing properties. Neem oil that is extracted from the neem seeds is also used as an ingredient in a number of beauty products. Here are some of the top medicinal benefits of Neem.
1. Neem leaves have powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties that help fight all kinds of infections. Hence it is commonly used in treating acne and skin and scalp infections. Neem leaves or neem leaf powder is also used to cure chicken pox and heal the scarred skin.
2. Neem is a purifying agent. It helps detoxify your system by purifying blood and eliminating toxins from within to maintain good health and is thus a great immunity-booster.
3. Neem aids in maintaining good gastric health. It has been known to be helpful in the treatment of gastric ulcers and other intestinal problems. In India, it is common to chew neem leaves on a daily basis to improve and strengthen digestion.
4. Neem plays an important role in oral health and many oral health products are formulated with neem as a key ingredient. Traditionally, chewing on neem branches is known to strengthen one’s gums, clear plaque, fight bad breath and reduce any inflammation.
5. With its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, neem is also used in fighting dandruff and strengthening your hair.
6. Neem oil is packed with essential fatty acids and vitamins that moisturize skin and maintain skin elasticity, thus giving one a more youthful appearance.
7. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are helpful in the treatment and healing of wounds and scars.
8. In Ayurveda, Neem is also an important component in medicines used to treat malaria.
9. According to certain research, Neem can also play a part in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, including cancer.
10. Neem leaves are also said to help control diabetes by maintaining and reducing blood sugar levels.
11. Irritation of the joints can be cured by using neem leaves. Based on research, neem leaves are reported to contain polysaccharide substance that serves as a natural ingredient to reduce irritation to the joints.
12. Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree and has insecticidal and medicinal properties for which it has been used to preparing cosmetics such as soap, shampoo, balms and creams as well as toothpasate.
*Studies have shown that Neem can act as a natural contraceptive, and hence is not advisable to use before or during pregnancy.