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Neem oil is a natural and organic plant-based oil that has been used for centuries in India to help with skin and hair care. It is also an ingredient in many other products, including soap, shampoos, lotions, conditioners, and more.
With its harsh taste and garlic-like odor, Neem oil may serve as an all-natural insecticide, repelling both insects and illnesses.
Because it contains high amounts of antioxidants, such as carotenoids, which help protect the skin from oxidative stress and free radical damage, neem oil is utilized in natural skincare products. Consequently, neem extracts and cold-pressed neem oil are extensively used in cosmetics such as soap, hair products, hand lotions, and pet shampoos.
Because neem is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E and can rapidly permeate the outer layers of skin, it is very efficient at mending dry and damaged skin. Let’s take a deeper look at how this oil is produced and how it may be used.
What Is Neem Oil?
The seeds of the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia and Africa and a member of the Meliaceae family, are cold-pressed to produce neem oil.
It is believed that Azadirachta indica originated in India or Burma. It’s a big, fast-growing evergreen that may grow to be between 40 and 80 feet tall.
It can withstand drought, heat and survive for up to 200 years! It may now be found mainly in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
The tree’s bark and leaves are recognized to be medicinal, while the flowers, fruit, and roots are utilized less often. In addition, because the tree is evergreen, the leaves are accessible all year.
The following names also know neem:
- a sacred tree
- a tree of beads
- Lilac of India
What is the purpose of neem oil? The oil may be used for various things since it includes active components that are insecticidal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. One of its many applications is the capacity of neem oil to contribute to protective chemicals in toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, and other products.
One of the most intriguing applications of this oil is as a chemical-free insecticide.
Terpenoids, limonoids, and flavonoids are among the components found in neem seed oil.
The main active component is azadirachtin, which is used to repel and kill pests. The fraction of the active ingredient that remains after extraction is known as clarified hydrophobic neem oil.
According to research published in Frontiers in Plant Science, it serves as an efficient, non-toxic pest control tool for agriculture.
Here are some of the essential neem oil advantages:
1. Helps to get rid of bed bugs
Bed bugs are among the most challenging pests to control in cities, and bed bug bites are something we all wish to avoid. But, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), neem oil may be safe and effective against bed bugs at home and in commercial settings when coupled with certain authorized chemicals.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, cold-pressed neem oil is the only biochemical pesticide approved against bed bugs. In addition, Neem oil has been shown in studies to help reduce bed bug adults, nymphs, and eggs.
2. It may be used as a natural insecticide.
Neem is a natural pesticide that is believed to be harmless.
A study published in the Journal of Insect Science aimed to discover a low-tech mosquito control technique that local people, especially in Africa, could utilize. As the research points out:
The use of most conventional pesticides on a broad scale raises significant environmental issues. Alternative techniques that are more effective, less costly, and ecologically friendly are needed.
The study shows that a crude extract of neem may prevent mosquitos from growing and developing, while a crude powder can kill them (most likely by suffocating the insects). Azadirachtin, a component of neem, is responsible for about 90% of its anti-pest properties.
Insect control is not always guaranteed with neem treatments. On the other hand, frequent treatments may drastically decrease pest populations by repelling them and limiting their larval development, growth, fertility, mating, and egg-laying, as well as preventing them from eating.
3. Helps Plants
Neem may assist in improving plant health by warding off pests and fungi. The EPA notes that “cold-pressed neem oil has been used to manage plant insects and illnesses for hundreds of years.”
According to the American Orchid Society, neem seed oil may be a safe leaf polish, but certain plants may be sensitive. Therefore, for optimum efficacy, a neem spray solution for plants (more on that later in this article) should thoroughly cover all plant surfaces.
The application of neem solutions on plants should never be made in hot weather (85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) or direct sunshine. Instead, place plants in the shade until the neem treatment is dry to prevent harm to plant tissues.
4. It’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
According to studies, neem is a rich source of antioxidants that may help with illness prevention and therapy by inhibiting bacterial growth and modulating genetic pathways.
Azadirachta indica has several active ingredients, including:
These chemicals not only have antifungal and antibacterial properties, but they also have anti-inflammatory, antiarthritic, antitumor, and other properties.
Neem has been proven to have free radical scavenging properties and aid in cancer treatment by regulating cell signaling pathways. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent by regulating the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes.
Traditionally, various components of the neem plant have been used to cure a variety of illnesses by people from all over the world, including:
- issues with the eyes
- worms in the intestines are removed
- Ulcers on the skin and skin disorders
5. Provides a wide range of skincare benefits, such as relief from wrinkles, dryness, and acne.
Why is neem oil beneficial to the skin? According to studies, the neem seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs), triglycerides, vitamin E, and calcium.
Neem seed oil penetrates deep into the skin, healing the tiny fissures caused by extreme dryness, thanks to its EFAs and vitamin E. Oleic acid (52.8 percent), linoleic acid (2.1 percent), palmitic acid (12.6 percent), and stearic acid are among the fatty acids found in neem kernel oil (21.4 percent).
The fatty acids and vitamin E in neem are readily absorbed by the skin and do not leave it feeling oily. On the contrary, these potent skin-boosting chemicals may assist renew skin health once absorbed.
Vitamin E, which is high in antioxidants, works as a free radical scavenger by inhibiting oxidative processes in the skin. It also helps to keep skin smooth and supple.
It’s no surprise that neem seed oil is used as a natural treatment for eczema symptoms, including dry, red, itchy skin. In addition, researchers note that neem seed oil may be used to make soaps instead of palm oil, allowing consumers to benefit from its therapeutic qualities.
What about neem seed oil’s potential anti-aging properties? According to a 2017 study, topical use of neem may help decrease skin aging signs such as thickness, wrinkles, moisture loss, and redness.
Neem is also often used in skin care products to help treat acne organically and with good cause! According to studies, neem seed oil possesses antibacterial properties against acne-causing microorganisms. It may be used as a spot treatment for blemishes and to prevent breakouts.
6. Promotes the health of the hair and scalp
Neem seed oil’s fatty acid concentration makes it ideal for treating damaged hair and hydrating the scalp. Thanks to its antifungal qualities, it’s also a fantastic component for naturally combating dandruff caused by a yeast-like fungus.
Neem seed oil and neem extracts may be found in natural hair care products, or you can enhance the benefits by adding a few drops to shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments.
7. May Aid in the Fight Against Malaria
Neem oil is an effective natural mosquito repellent that is safe against parasites carried by infected mosquito bites, including malaria.
When 2 percent neem oil was combined with coconut oil and applied to the exposed body areas of human volunteers, it offered complete protection against all anopheline species bites for about 12 hours, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. According to the findings, neem oil may even protect people against malaria in malaria-endemic areas.
How to Use
If you’re looking for neem oil, the simplest places to go are online or at health food shops. Look for an oil that is yellow in color, hazy, and smells like garlic and sulfur.
It’s preferable to go for 100 percent pure neem oil, preferably certified organic, since this guarantees that it’s free of any undesirable solvents or petrochemicals employed in the purifying process.
If you’re looking to get rid of bed bugs or mosquitoes, search for solutions like neem oil sprays, which are safer and more efficient than harsh pesticides. When it comes to plants, the American Orchid Association recommends avoiding using neem during hot weather and keeping them in the shade until the neem solution has dried thoroughly.
A common rule of thumb is to use two tablespoons (one ounce) of neem oil per gallon of water. Spray all plant surfaces (including the undersides of leaves) until fully saturated after properly mixing the solution.
You may also use neem seed oil to your skin and hair for medicinal purposes. Many cosmetic products already include neem, or you may add the oil to your handmade preparations.
Neem Oil Anti-Wrinkle Cream
- 8 oz. jojoba oil (organic)
- 12 oz. neem seed oil, pure and organic
- 4–5 drops lavender essential oil
- Fill a cosmetic container or a tiny cosmetic bottle with the contents. Shake or mix well. Apply to your skin as a moisturizer.
- Apply straight to the skin two or three times a day for skin issues, including acne or eczema.
- Neem seed oil should not be applied to the skin undiluted. Always test a tiny quantity of diluted product on a small patch of skin to ensure your skin does not react negatively.
Spray Solution of Neem Oil (from the American Orchid Society and suggested by growers)
- 1 tbsp. neem oil
- 12 teaspoon liquid soap that is suitable for plants
- 1-gallon warm water
- Place all contents in a plastic spray bottle and stir well to combine, occasionally shaking to ensure thorough mixing.
- Because the oil suffocates insect pests, coat all plant surfaces thoroughly for the best results. However, according to some reports, the mixture starts to degrade after eight hours. Therefore a new batch should be used for each application.
Keeping Neem Safe:
Store neem oil sprays in the refrigerator or in a cold, dark place to keep it fresher for longer. It should last around a year or two in the refrigerator.
Make sure it’s properly labeled wherever you decide to keep it.
At low temperatures, it may harden, but you can just put the container in warm water to return it to a liquid state for usage. Ensure it doesn’t become too hot since azadirachtin is destroyed by heat (the most effective component).
Side Effects and Risks
Is it safe to use neem oil on humans? For most people, applying neem to the skin for up to two weeks, taking it by mouth for up to ten weeks, or using it inside the mouth for six weeks is usually safe.
When taken in high quantities or over long periods, neem may be dangerous to adults. Overuse is most dangerous since it may damage the liver and kidneys.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use this oil. It is deemed hazardous for pregnant women since it may cause miscarriage.
Use neem products with your children only if your health care practitioner has given their approval. Serious adverse effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, sleepiness, and others, may develop in babies and young children.
Some individuals may be allergic to neem when it comes into touch with their skin. Because neem is such a potent oil, it’s better to dilute it with an equivalent carrier oil like coconut oil.
Before applying more, test a very tiny quantity of the diluted oil on a small area of your skin to verify you don’t have an inadequate response.
What is the safety of neem seed oil as a pesticide/insecticide?
“No danger to human health is anticipated from the use of cold-pressed neem seed oil due to its low toxicity through all routes of exposure,” according to the EPA.
Azadirachtin and other active components in neem seeds have been found to have pesticide capabilities against a wide range of insects, including numerous mites and nematodes, as well as snails and fungus. However, they are unlikely to cause damage.
“Neither clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil nor azadirachtin are anticipated to damage non-target species when used as indicated on product labels,” according to the EPA.
What is the reason behind the prohibition on neem oil in Canada? “In 2012, there was a restriction imposed on the import and export of Neem oil and associated goods because it was never certified as a pesticide in Canada,” according to the Neem Oil Insecticide website.
This prohibition seems to be based on the fact that neem was never submitted for pesticide clearance rather than any evidence that it is dangerous.
If you have a chronic illness or are presently taking medication, consult your doctor before using neem products.
For the following concerns/situations, neem is usually not a suggested remedy:
- Multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are examples of autoimmune disorders.
- Diabetes – Because neem may cause blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low, people with diabetes should carefully check their blood sugar levels if they use it.
- Stop using neem at least two weeks before your operation.
- Transplantation of organs
Anti-diabetes medicines, lithium, and immunosuppressants are all medications that may interact with neem.
- What is the purpose of neem oil? The insecticide is one of the most frequent applications. It has been used to manage plant insects and illnesses for hundreds of years.
- What pests is neem oil effective against? Bed bugs (at all stages) and mosquitoes are both killed by it.
- Plants may be sprayed with neem oil to keep fungus and pests away.
- The use of neem for skin health includes dry skin, eczema, and acne. Dilute it with a carrier oil like coconut oil for topical application.
- Use caution while using neem products on babies and young children and if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. In addition, if you have an ongoing ailment or are presently on medicine, you should see your doctor before using it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you apply neem oil to plants?
You can apply neem oil to plants by dipping your fingers into the bottle and then spreading it on the leaves.
Can I apply neem oil directly on the skin?
Yes, you can apply neem oil directly on your skin.
Can we apply neem oil on the face daily?
Neem oil is a type of oil that can be applied to the skin and hair. It has many beneficial properties, but it should not be used on the face as it may cause irritation or dryness.
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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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