Neem extracts have been used in the Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years for maintaining health and overall well-being. Its roots, bark, leaves, and seed oil are all used in therapeutic preparations for both internal and topical use. Neem has antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. It has over 130 complex compounds in its leaves, which makes it one of the most unique plant on the planet. Although bitter in taste, neem can be used to prevent and treat various health conditions.
Disclaimer: The article highlights numerous ways in which neem can be used as a natural alternative for certain purposes but one must not completely rely on it for severe medical problems, professional consultation is always recommended.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of neem-
10. Helps lose weight
Neem improves metabolism, thereby helping in weight loss. Ayurvedic experts say, neem flowers aid weight-loss, when taken with honey and lemon, by breaking down fat. When neem is combined with honey and lemon, it can effectively help in speeding up metabolism, get rid of toxins from the body and improve immunity. It also helps elimination of waste from the body – aiding in better fat burning within the body. Neem not only helps in improving the way in which sugar is processed in our body but also helps in maintaining hormone levels which also, sometimes, can be a cause for weight gain.
9. Treats Skin Allergies & Infections- Heals Psoriasis
Neem has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is mentioned in most Ayurvedic formulations for the treatment of skin disorders because of its detoxifying properties. When applied externally, it can be extremely beneficial in the treatment of boils, chronic ulcers, eruptions of smallpox, syphilitic sores, glandular swellings and wounds. Neem has also been found to be effective in leprosy and healing psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease which leaves the skin looking as if it’s burnt. Not only does neem help in getting rid of itchiness and irritation, but due to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, it also helps prevent further infections.
8. Anti-cancer benefits
Neem has many incredible medicinal benefits, the most important of them all being, killing cancerous cells. Neem Leaves have glycoprotein which is a purified form of protein that hinders the growth of tumour cells. Neem extracts have substances such as limonin, ascorbic acid, kaemferole, beta-carotene and azadirachtin which enhance the immune system, reduce inflammation, and interfere with the growth of cancer cells. The anti-proliferative and apoptosis-inducing effects of neem components summarize its anticancer properties and their possible impact on managing cancer incidence and treatment.
7. Improves digestion
High fibre contents of neem helps in improving digestion. It contains 20% fiber alongside essential proteins, fat, calcium and amino acids. It also helps in treating digestive disorders such as gas and constipation. It promotes a healthy digestive system by protecting the stomach, aiding in the elimination and removal of toxins and harmful bacteria. Some compounds in neem reduce the concentration of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, while other compounds reduce gastric secretions.
Neem is very effective as a topical drug for preventing pregnancy, when used topically in the vagina hence it is used in many vaginal creams and suppositories. It is known that the components in neem kill sperms with in almost 30-40 seconds when they come in contact with the semen. Neem oil when used as vaginal contraceptive can not only prevent accidental pregnancies but also help in prevention from AIDs, gonorrhea, trichomonas, chlamydia and several other infections. It is also used for birth control and abortions, that’s why pregnant women are suggested against its consumption. On the other hand, during labor neem prevents possible inflammation and corrects bowel movements there by facilitating normal delivery.
As any other alternative, neem oil is also not completely safe and shouldn’t always be replied up on. Condoms still are the safest of birth control and protective measures.
5. Maintains blood sugar levels
Neem is also a powerful weapon against type-II diabetes, as it helps control blood sugar levels and improves sugar metabolism. Neem extracts and neem seed oil both are known to improve insulin sensitivity, which offers long lasting relief from diabetes. It allows the body to regulate sugar levels even in the presence of smaller amounts of insulin by acting as insulin after being digested by the body. It is used to reduce insulin dependence and also in many anti-diabetic drugs.
4. Treats hair conditions and baldness
Just like neem can be used to moisturize dry skin, it can also be used as a natural conditioner for hair. Neem is well-known for its potent antibacterial and antimicrobial agent and hence can also be used to kill head lice. Applying neem oil to the hair not only stops hair from falling but also helps their growth and prevents premature graying of hairs. Neem also triggers the normal functioning of the scalp to ensure the regrowth of hair. Also, neem leaf has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it effective for treating dandruff.
3. Heals Ulcers
Ulcers in stomach and intestines are caused as an outcome of disturbed pH levels. Neem cures ulcers by restoring the normal pH level. Neem acts as a gastro protective element in treating ulcers. Neem bark extract has been found to be a curative for peptic ulcers, which can be quite painful. It is seen that, with the regular consumption of neem (for at least 10 weeks), peptic ulcers can be completely healed. Also, for individual skin ulcers, applying neem leaf extract or damp whole leaves to the skin ulcer can actually help heal them.
2. For Oral Health
Neem has a variety of medicinal uses mostly because of its anti-bacterial properties. Neem twigs are being used since ancient times to keep mouth problems away. Even today some people use neem twigs to brush their teeth instead of toothpastes. Neem cures the problems of bleeding gums, relieves toothache, evacuates the bad odor and protects the mouth from various infections. The anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties help in preventing mouth ulcers and also acts as a powerful natural remedy to get whiter and healthier teeth.
1. Enhances Blood Circulation & Regulates Hormones
Hormones are highly specific molecules, they regulate on a very specific pathway, and are needed in very small amounts but have huge effects. Internally, neem compounds counteract excessive sweets and seem to provide balance to hormones. Regular consumption of neem leaves helps in enhancing blood circulation as well as preventing hormonal imbalance that are a major reason behind some skin and hair problems. It is also a powerful blood purifier and detoxifier. Consuming 2-3 leaves with honey every morning on empty stomach can help you see significant differences.
Neem is regarded as a ‘one tree pharmacy’ in Ayurvedic medicine and now we know why. The Indian Lilac is not only beneficial for treating severe medical conditions such as cancer or ulcers, if consumed daily, it can help you maintain a healthy body. It is the ultimate storehouse of nutrients, good for your health. These amazing benefits of neem extracts make its bitter taste worth it.