In the practise of Ayurveda treatments, Neem or ‘Neemba’ in Sanskrit is considered the death-star weapon against disease and infections. Ayurveda describes neem as sarva roga nivarini which translates to ‘that which keeps all diseases at bay’.
Be it chronic skin conditions or that stubborn dandruff problem, digestion or fungal infections, neem has been a reliable treatment option. The Neem leaf is loaded with numerous health and skin benefits. Can you eat the leaf? Consuming it in the form of a paste, in tea or just chewing a twig freshly plucked from the tree has reaped multiple benefits for people since time immemorial. Chewing neem leaves can also nourish our hair and treat headaches.
Clears acne: Using neem water as a skin toner regularly will help in clearing acne, scars, pigmentation and blackheads. Boil about 20 neem leaves in half a litre of water till the leaves are soft and discoloured, and the water turns green. Strain and store in a bottle. Dip a cotton-ball into it and wipe your face.
Lightens skin blemishes: Apply a paste of neem powder, tulsi and sandalwood powder mixed with rose water, on your face. Let it dry before you rinse it off with cold water.
Treats dry skin: Did you know that neem has moisturising properties? Mix neem powder with water and a few drops of grapeseed oil, and apply it to your face as a moisturiser.
Delays ageing of skin: With its regenerative properties, neem helps the skin fight pathogens below its surface. As a result, your skin remains supple. Reduce the effects of ageing by applying neem oil on your face or adding neem powder to your face-pack.
Treats dandruff: Neem has medicibal properties. Boil neem leaves with water until the water turns greenish. Use it after shampooing. If you are suffering from dandruff, you could also apply a paste of neem powder and water on your scalp and wash off after an hour, followed by shampoo and conditioner.
Cures dark circle problems: Neem helps in reducing pigmentation and also acts as a moisturising agent. Mix water and neem powder to make a thick paste and apply it around the eyes. Wash it off after 15 minutes.
Cures asthma: According to experts, neem oil is extremely beneficial when it comes to curing breathing problems or asthma. Have a few drops of neem oil every day, increasing the intake gradually. It also helps in controlling phlegm, cough and fever.
Heals ulcers: According to various studies, neem bark extract has been found to cure stomach and intestinal ulcers. Researchers believe that consuming the bark extract twice daily for 10 weeks, practically heals ulcers. The bark also helps cure malaria and many skin diseases.
Controls diabetes: The plant contains chemicals that help reduce blood sugar levels. Neem acts as insulin after being digested by the body.
Treats mouth and tooth problems: Traditionally, people chewed neem twigs instead of using toothbrushes. The twig’s antifungal and antibacterial properties are said to help in treating mouth and tooth problems.
Here are the most incredible qualities of neem and why you need more of it in your diet and beauty regimen:
Ayurveda practitioners swear by the antioxidant properties of neem. Not only is it known to remove toxins from the body, but also to purify the blood. Chewing neem leaves aids digestion and boosts immune system. Besides, the anti-bacterial properties of neem works wonders for the skin, preventing and curing skin infections, burns and wounds.
Boil about 20 neem leaves in half a litre of water till the leaves are soft and discoloured, and the water turns green. Strain and store in a bottle. Dip a cotton-ball into it and wipe your face. Lightens skin blemishes: Apply a paste of neem powder, tulsi and sandalwood powder mixed with rose water, on your face
Neem balances Pitta dosha due to its bitterness and due to its astringent taste, helps in healing.
Dr Shikha Sharma, Nutritionist
Neem leaves are loaded with several beauty benefits. It gives you a radiant skin and goes to war against acne, dark spots and pigmentation!
Wash your hair with neem water to battle dry damaged hair. The healing properties of neem give a distinct shine to your hair, keeping dandruff and scalp allergies away.
Wellness: Neem Flowers and Twigs
Neemflowers are the only non-bitter part of the neem tree. Besides adding that zing to your meal as a flavour enhancer, neem flowers, in powder form, are effective against intestinal worms and digestive disorders. They even have a calming effect. They have soothing properties and are used in aromatherapy. Neem flower juice boosts metabolism and helps you lose stubborn belly fat.
Neem twigs, on the other hand, promote oral health and prevent plaque, mouth ulcers and keep harmful bacteria at bay.
The most important bioactive compounds present in Neem are azadirachtin, nimbidin, nimbidiol and nimbin which shows antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties .
Dr Shikha Sharma, Nutritionist
Neem oil products
Neem oil is nothing short of a magic potion for skin and hair. Extracted from neem seeds, neem oil is a constant ingredient in soaps, shampoos, medicines, oils and topical medicines. It prevents and cures rashes, and is an excellent mosquito ad insect repellent.
Neem oil also works wonders in curing blackheads and keeping hair and skin healthy and radiant. Not many know this, but neem oil is an effective natural remedy against hair lice as well.
Neem leaves are packed with benefits, and you can find neem-based health and beauty products in stores nationwide in South Africa.