Surprising Benefits and Uses of Neem Leaves for Skin, Hair and Health
The Neem is one of the most common trees to be found in India. The Neem, which belongs to the Mahogany family, grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions and is native to the Asian countries of India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan.
The Neem, which can be described as a very unique tree on this planet, is also known as the Indian Lilac and the Margosa tree. The tree has over 130 different biologically active compounds, and its leaf is one of the most complex leaves that you can find. The Neem, is a vital ingredient in Ayurveda and it is regarded as a ‘one tree pharmacy’ as the Neem tree has several medicinal uses and forms an integral part of home remedies for the hair and skin. Many people must have heard of neem oil as an insecticide, but very few are aware of the amazing medicinal properties of neem leaves.
The Neem tree has a number of incredible medicinal benefits and one of its most astonishing powers is its ability to kill cancerous cells. If you consume neem leaves every day, they keep the number of cancerous cells in the body within a certain limit, so that they will not group and attack your system. The Neem leaves are considered safe to be taken internally on a regular or daily basis. But, this is not applicable to pregnant women or women who are trying to conceive.
The Neem tree has been described in the Charaka Samhita - Ayurveda’s prime text - as 'Sarva Roga Nivarini', which means a cure for all diseases. Its extracts have been used in the Ayurvedic tradition since a very long time for maintaining the health and overall well-being. The roots, bark, gum, leaves, fruit, seed kernels and seed oil are all used in therapeutic preparations for both internal and topical use for a wide range of ailments and diseases.
Antibacterial benefits of Neem Leaves
We all know that the entire world, including our body, is full of bacteria. But, many of us are not aware that these bacteria are very helpful to us, and without their help we would not be able to digest our food - and, in fact, we may not even be able to exist without them. But, there are other bacteria that can cause a lot of trouble, and you will have to spend a lot of energy to fight these bacteria and build up your defenses.
Use neem, and your body will not have to use a lot of energy fighting these bacteria. Consume some amount of neem every day and it will destroy the troublesome bacteria in the intestinal region, and your colon will generally remain clean and free of infection. Neem has the ability of controlling the odor in the body apart from giving it radiance.
Benefits of Neem Leaves for Skin
The name has been mentioned in most of the Ayurvedic formulations for the treatment of skin disorders because of its detoxifying properties. It also improves the general skin health and immunity, and combats bacterial infections such as acne, boils and ulcers. There are a number of uses of Neem leaves for the skin and it is an excellent healer of fungal infections of the skin.
The Neem tree offers a number of benefits to the entire body, but more particularly the skin. Rub your body with neem paste before having a bath, let it dry for some time, and then wash it off with water - you will find that it acts as a good antibacterial cleanser. You could also soak a few neem leaves in water overnight and bathe with this water in the morning.
The growth of acne-causing bacteria, such as propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) and staphylococcus epidermis is also inhibited by neem. Studies have shown that neem plays a very active role in curing and controlling acne by suppressing P. acnes-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-a and IL-8. It is especially beneficial for skin disorders like eczema and minor skin infections. Neem leaves also eliminate acne-causing bacteria while the high fatty-acid content in neem oil helps prevent and treat scars from acne.
Neem oil and neem leaves are excellent skin care ingredients. The oil relieves dry skin and soothes itchiness, redness and irritation. It has antimicrobial properties that help heal wounds without causing any infections or septic conditions.
It contains high level of antioxidants that help protect skin from environmental damage and from aging. Neem oil contains fatty acid and vitamin E that gets absorbed easily into the skin, helps rejuvenate skin cells, and restore elasticity. It helps maintain a glowing skin and balances the skin tone. Neem leaves are also excellent Exfoliants as it tightens pores and removes impurities when used as a mask.
Benefits of Neem leaves for Hair
The neem tree also offers a wide range of benefits to the hair also. The uses of Neem leaves for hair include its antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it effective in treating dandruff. It also helps relieve dryness and itching, strengthens hair, and promotes hair growth. The neem paste, which is also used as a conditioner for the hair and scalp, also soothes irritation, while it prevents dryness and flaking.
Health Benefits of Neem leaves
It is also a gastro protective and effective in healing ulcers. Neem leaves are known to contain nimbin, nimbinen, nimbolide, nimandial, ninbinene and other beneficial compounds that have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory agents. Gedunin and nimbidol found in neem leaves are powerful antifungal agents that destroy fungi which cause athlete foot, ringworm, and nail fungus.
Neem leaves stimulates the immune system, improves liver function, detoxifies the blood and promotes a healthy respiratory and digestive system. It is effective in malaria treatment and for diabetes also. Neem leaves enhance biological functions by strengthening the immune system
Neem leaves are widely used in the country to treat viral diseases. The extract of Neem leaves absorbs and eliminates virus, and as a preventive measure, you can prepare a neem paste and apply on the affected area. It is very useful for treating warts, chicken pox, and even small pox, as neem absorbs the virus and protects from entering the unaffected areas.
Due to its anti-viral activity, neem leaves are boiled and are used for bathing, especially for people suffering from skin ailments. This provides relief from conditions such as eczema, cold sores, and warts. Neem soothes inflammation by stopping itching and irritation. Neem leaves also helps to remove intestinal parasites and restores healthy functioning of the intestine.
Neem leaves are known to be an effective blood cleanser, and drinking neem leaves-boiled water controls high blood sugar. Neem leaf extract is effective in purifying blood, removing toxins, and defending against inflictions in the body. Neem leaves help to dilate blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and decreases high heart rates. They are also known to control high blood pressure.
Neem contains a component called gedunin that is very effective for treating malaria. Mosquitoes exposed to odours of crushed neem leaves suppress laying of egg laying. Consuming neem leaves is an effective treatment of malaria.
The bark of Neem leaves contain Polysaccharides and liomnoids, which are beneficial for reducing cancer and tumor cells.
The neem leaf seed and bark contains properties that naturally cure arthritis and reduce pain and swelling in joints. A massage with neem oil is effective in relieving muscle aches and joint pains and helps alleviate rheumatism, osteoarthritis, and lower back pain.
The Neem leaves are also effective in treating poisons and insects bites due to its anti-clotting agents that reside in neem leaf extract. Neem leaves are also used in treatment of ulcers and inflammation as they have significant anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer activity.
A burn injury can heal faster with the usage of neem water. The application of neem water on the burn surface helps the skin to recover faster, and also protects against allergy and infection on the infected area.
A few things to keep in mind when using Neem
One of the important things to keep in mind while using neem is that when consumed in excess, it will kill sperm cells. Pregnant women should not have anything to do with neem in the first four to five months of pregnancy, when the fetus is developing
Though neem does not cause any damage to the ovaries, it causes excess heat. When a woman has just conceived and there is too much heat in the body, she may lose the fetus. If any woman is planning to conceive, she should not consume neem as it will generate excess heat, and the mother's system will treat the baby like a foreign body.