By Olivia |
If you haven’t heard of neem, you’re not alone. While the South Asian herb has been used for nearly five thousands years, it was fairly unknown to the Western world until the last century. And that is a shame because in ancient India neem was given the name “healer of all ailments.” That’s a pretty bold claim, but one that is bearing up to modern science.
A book called “Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems,” which was the result of a U.S. government-funded research project, had this to say about the ancient medicinal: “Two decades of research have revealed promising results . . . Even some of the most cautious researchers are saying that ‘neem deserves to be called a wonder plant.’ ”
So what is neem and what does it do? Neem comes from the neem tree, an evergreen (azadirachta indica) related to mahogany that is native to India. What it does is just about everything. Neem benefits practically every part of the body. It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, just to name a few. It is a natural pesticide and insecticide and even spermicide. It is used to treat acne and other skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis. It purifies the blood and detoxifies the liver. It helps with arthritis, gastritis and sinusitis. It aids in diabetes and dental disease. It soothes and moisturizes irritated and intensely dry skin. It boosts the immune system. And if you want to know how to grow hair, try neem oil for hair, which has been used in India for century upon century to strengthen and regrow hair. It even helps prevent premature graying of hair.
Every part of the amazing neem tree is used to make remedies. In parts of Asia today, people still chew on neem twigs to clean their teeth and keep their gums healthy. Neem is extraordinarily high in antioxidants. As an example, blueberries have an ORAC level of 62 (ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a scale that measures the antioxidant content of supplements and foods); neem bark has an ORAC level of 476 — more than 7.5 times that of blueberries! As you know, antioxidants are the hot topic these days because they combat the free radicals that cause disease and speed up aging.
Neem is becoming more widely available, and it comes in several forms. Neem bark has the highest ORAC value and is typically used in supplements. Neem leaf, which has an ORAC value of 357, is also used in supplements and in liquid extract form. Neem tea can be found, but as healthful as it is, neem has a very bitter taste that many Westerners do not like. Neem powder is used for dental care products, but if you want to try twigs, you can find those too. Neem oil finds its way into many products, such as lotions, face serum, supplements, soaps, toothpastes and mouthwash, shampoos, conditioners and insecticides, but it is also available on its own as pure neem oil. Neem in all its forms has been deemed safe in hundreds of studies, but neem oil is for external use only.
So there you have it in a nutshell. A wonder plant that lives up to its other moniker, “nature’s pharmacy.”
If you’re thinking of giving neem a try, click here now before life’s distractions make you forget!