The neem tree (Indian Lilac) is native to India, and is found in tropical regions such as Bangladesh and Myanmar. It can grow up to more than 100 feet in height and produces neem (Azadirachta indica), which have been used extensively in Ayurveda for thousands of years.
Every part of the neem tree has medicinal properties - not only its leaves. From the tree's flowers and stems to bark, seeds and roots, this simple Indian tree has a lot going for it.
Neem leaf powder can be made out of dried neem leaves, and is the simplest way to benefit from ingestion of these leaves. It can also be applied topically to the skin. Alternatively, you could make neem leaf extract tea to enjoy the health benefits of this medicinal plant.
Let's look at some of the biggest health benefits of neam leaves for health and wellbeing.
1. Improves Skin Health
Looking after our skin is a full-time job. It's rarely as simple as washing your face once a day and leaving it to look after itself - most people face a lifelong battle against acne, dry skin, blackheads and more. Luckily, you don't need to break the bank with expensive commercial treatments to look after your skin, as neem leaves have got you covered.
Thanks to the anti-bacterial benefits of neem leaves, they can be used in powder form to treat a variety of skin conditions, from eczema to psoriasis. It can also ward off blackheads and help treat acne scars and pigmentation.
To use neem leaves as an anti-acne treatment, apply a paste made from equal parts neem leaf powder and water to your face. Leave the paste to sit as long as you can, preferably overnight, to allow the moisturizing properties of this remedy to get to work.
With repeated topical application of neem leaves, you should experience a reduction of acne, softer, more hydrated skin, and a restored skin pH balance. You should also see a reduction in blackheads and large pores, as neem leaves can act as a natural toner.
2. Boosts Hair Health
It's not only our skin that feels like a lifelong chore to look after - it's also notoriously difficult to achieve the hair length and thickness you're aiming for. If you struggle with split ends, thin hair, dandruff or even hair loss, the hair health benefits of neem leaves may come in useful for you.
Neem leaf powder has been used for centuries as a herbal dandruff remedy. Because neem leaves are antifungal, they can reduce infections and help to restore scalp health.
Neem leaf powder can be used to treat the scalp - just make a paste by mixing the powder with lemon juice, then apply it directly to your scalp. Leave for around 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
This remedy should help to strengthen your hair follicles and clear dandruff, and can even add extra shine and volume to your hair. By using this remedy over a period of several weeks, you should be able to benefit from thicker, longer, healthy hair.
3. May Improve Dental Health
Looking after your dental health can help you to maintain a healthy body, so it's important to do everything we can to avoid complications such as gum disease. It's easy to look after our teeth and gums with regular brushing and flossing, as well as making sure we're adding the right foods to our diets - and neem leaves are a great diet choice.
According to several studies, the use of neem leaves can prevent plaque buildup and even prevent gingivitis (gum disease). In one study, participants who were given a mouthwash containing neem leaves were protected on the same level as participants who took a commercial anti-gum disease mouthwash.
It's thought that in ancient Ayurveda, people would chew sticks made from neem to clean their teeth, and there's evidence to suggest that neem can prevent bacteria from accumulating, thus preventing the formation of cavities and reducing the risk of gum disease.
4. Anti-Cancer Properties
Though there's certainly no evidence to suggest that neem leaves can be used alone as a cancer-fighting drug, emerging evidence suggests that the neem tree may offer anti-cancer benefits. Some research suggests that neem leaves may be able to suppress tumor growth and stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.
While the evidence so far is promising, there's a lack of testing in the area, and more research needs to be done to determine exactly how this herbal remedy can prevent cancer, and how it may be used in the future.
5. Boosts The Immune System
Neem leaves may be able to stimulate the immune system in fighting cancer, as mentioned in the point above, and this is thought to also apply to our ability to fight off illnesses and disease in general.
When it comes to immunity, we should all take whatever help we can get. Our immune system keeps us alive, healthy and well by fighting off harmful pathogens and preventing them from being able to cause damage to the body. The foods we include in our diets can affect the capabilities of the immune system, so it's important to eat the right foods for boosting immunity, especially if you're prone to getting sick.
Neem leaf powder is thought to be a powerful natural immune stimulator, thanks to its potent anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Ayurvedic medicine suggests that neem leaf powder may act as a cleansing agent, encouraging the body to expel harmful toxins and impurities and helping to keep infections at bay. There's not much clinical evidence on this so far, though, and again, more research is needed.
6. Regulates Blood Sugar
If you struggle to regulate your blood sugar levels, you may be at risk of contracting type 2 diabetes, or you may already have a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Luckily, high blood sugar is reversible, and there are many ways you can reverse diabetes or reduce your risk of the disease.
Exercise and diet play a big role in diabetes prevention, and there are plenty of foods that can help you manage your blood sugar levels effectively.
7. Promotes Gut Health
Most of us don't link our gut health with our overall health, but research shows that gut health is actually connected to our immune system, our brain health and mood, our sleep abilities, and even heart health. So it stands to reason that looking after your gut is essential for overall health and wellbeing - and neem leaf powder is a promising ingredient to add to your diet for this purpose.
Records dating back for centuries show how neem leaf powder has been used as a natural medicine for a variety of intestinal disorders, including ulcers and inflammation. Because of the anti-inflammatory benefits of neem leaf powder, it can help to promote healthy digestion and maintain overall good gut and digestive tract health.
8. Relieves Pain And Inflammation
Inflammation is the body's normal way of righting itself when something goes wrong, but when inflammation becomes chronic, things get serious. Diseases like arthritis and autoimmune disorders can be difficult to manage and are caused by too much inflammation in the body.
With the anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory properties of the neem tree, neem seed oil is often used to provide relief from inflammation of the joints in certain forms of arthritis. It's thought that neem oil is particularly powerful in treating rheumatoid arthritis, providing relief from pain and swelling all over the body.
9. May Purify Blood
We don't know too much about the blood purifying health benefits of neem leaves and neem oil just yet, but it's thought that the detoxifying properties of neem make it an effective detox ingredient. By encouraging the body to remove toxins from the blood, neem oil helps to cleanse the body and boost blood circulation.
Some studies also suggest that neem can be used as a water pill, or a diuretic, and according to Ayurveda, many people have used neem over the years to detox the body.
10. Effective Insect Repellant
When applied topically, neem oil can work in a similar way to citronella, producing a scent that insects don't like. You can use neem oil to repel insects by diluting it and applying it to your skin, burning a neem oil candle, or making a neem oil kerosene lantern.
According to a recent study, neem is highly efficient in protecting against mosquitos for at least three hours after being applied to the skin.
Headlice is never pleasant, and the little bugs can be a nightmare to get rid of. Luckily, certain properties of neem oil make it effective in killing lice in a single application.
You might find extract of neem listed as an ingredient in some commercial anti-lice shampoos - that's how effective it is. One study found that using a 10-minute neem extract-based anti-lice treatment effectively killed both headlice and their eggs.
When using neem to kill head lice, you can either take some diluted neem oil or combine neem powder with water to make a paste. Apply the oil or paste to your hair and leave for around 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse hair and brush with a fine-tooth comb to remove any lingering headlice.
Use a second treatment the next day to stay on the safe side.
Where To Find Neem Leaves
Neem is widely available in various forms online, from herbal tea, neem twigs, neem oil & neem powder, to capsules, dried leaves, medications and more. You can also find neem seeds, mouthwash, tinctures, creams and shampoos.
If you're looking at using neem for a specific reason, such as to support oral health or to treat a skin condition, simply choose the type of neem product that's most suitable for you. There are so many medicinal properties of neem that you won't have a problem finding a use for it even if you simply buy it in powder form.
A word on buying neem oil as a healthy skin remedy - if it's not already diluted in a carrier oil, make sure you dilute it in coconut, almond, or olive oil before you apply it directly to your skin.
Neem currently doesn't have any standard dosage recommendations as there isn't enough scientific information to support any recommendation. That's why it's important to buy your neem products from a trusted manufacturer and carefully read the instructions on the product label before you use a product.
When it comes to side effects of neem, the powder generally safe, and doesn't have many side effects. The only thing to be aware of is that neem isn't recommended for pregnant women and children, and it's best to avoid while breastfeeding, as there's not enough evidence to support its safety. Additionally, consuming an excessive amount of neem may cause kidney or liver damage. Always seek medical advice from your doctor if you're unsure about your health & neem use.
How Can You Make Neem Leaf Powder At Home?
If you fancy making your own neem leaf powder, it couldn't be simpler - though you will need access to fresh neem leaves, so you'll have to live near to a neem tree or find a reliable online seller. After leaving the leaves to sundry for around two days, they should be crisp and dry. Once they've taken on this texture, you can simply put them in a blender and blitz them until they're ground into a fine powder. Store this powder in an airtight container and use as and when you please.