Neem Oil

Neem oil is extracted from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree (botanical name Azadirachta indica). This tree is native to tropical regions of the world and is also known as the Indian lilac. Traditionally, neem oil has been widely used in folk medicine across the world. It is useful for curing various types of health conditions. While the odour of neem oil is very harsh, it contains elevated levels of essential fatty acids and several other nutrients. Neem oil is used in the manufacture of various beauty products such as cosmetics, body lotions, skin creams and hair care products.

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All varieties of neem oil are obtained from the fruits (which bear resemblance to olives) and seeds of the neem tree. Superior quality of neem oil is produced by crushing the seeds and fruits of the plant, while inferior quality neem oil is obtained by using various solvents to haul out the oil. All parts of the neem tree, such as the leaves, fruits and seeds, are useful and are often included in a bath for treating skin conditions. However, it is worth mentioning here that any particular part of the neem plant cannot be substituted with other parts while preparing specific products. For example, neem toothpaste is prepared only using the leaf extracts or the bark of the neem tree. It cannot be made with neem oil. This is primarily because ingesting unadulterated neem oil or plenty of diluted neem oil can prove to be toxic. However, the oil is safe for topical use provided you follow the directions on the label of the product.

Many people prefer neem oil as a natural pesticide. This is mainly because this oil does not have any potent adverse effects on humans, other mammals or beneficial bugs, while it is highly effective in warding off pests such as aphids, white flies, weevils and mites. This oil is also capable of protecting crops from the onslaught of blight, scab, mildew and rust. Pesticides containing neem oil serve as "contact" insecticides. In other words, applying these insecticides on plants make their taste bitter. As a result, pests keep away from these plants. A chemical found in neem oil - azadirachtin - also disrupts the transition of insects between different phases of metamorphosis, for instance from developing from larvae to pupae. At the same time, such insecticides also thwart the insects from developing tough exoskeletons. When the roots of crops absorb this chemical (azadirachtin), the latter functions in the form of a "systemic insecticide". In other words, you don't need to spray these crops with insecticides at regular intervals.

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Neem oil offers us numerous benefits and the greatest among them is that it does not cause any harm to the insects that are beneficial for us. Bees, butterflies and earthworms are beneficial insects as they all aid the plants in absorbing nutrients as well as in pollination. Insects like lacewings eat other insects that feed on the crops. Pesticides containing neem oil or azadirachtin do not have any negative effect on bugs like these.

Health benefits

Neem oil obtained from the fruits and seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) offers numerous health benefits. As far as the health of our hair is concerned, neem oil forms a vital ingredient in various herbal hair masks, natural shampoos and conditioners. In addition, this valuable oil is a vital part of various treatments ranging from frizzy hair to dandruff. This oil possesses antibacterial and moisturizing properties, besides possessing loads of nutrients, making it ideal for the best possible health of your hair. Neem oil helps to prevent your hair from absorbing excess water.

You can also use neem oil topically for skin care in various ways. This oil is very effective in protecting as well as treating fungal infections on your skin and nails. At the same time, it helps to alleviate inflammation and also improve the manifestation of age spots and blemishes. There are several other uses of this oil, which include reducing the harshness of sunburns, keep your skin moisturized and aid in the growth of healthy cells, thereby making your skin glow. Topical application of neem oil on the skin also reduces occurrence of acne as it possesses potent antibacterial properties.

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The presence of powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals in neem oil helps to treat a variety of conditions ranging from headache and arthritis to psoriasis and acid reflux disease. In addition, this oil is a very effectual remedy for several common conditions. It even helps to cure the factors that are responsible for various conditions of the scalp.

Neem oil also possesses diuretic properties and many people use it for this purpose. The diuretic properties of this oil aids in promoting urination and, in this way, it eliminates various toxins, unnecessary salts, water and fats from our body. This action of neem oil eases the strain on the kidneys as well as the immune system.

Since ages, neem oil has been recommended for people who have recovered from prolonged ailment and surgery or any type of injury because it aids to enhance appetite as well as increase weight. Moreover, neem oil is a wonderful remedy for people who have eating disorders or those who are enduring metabolic issues that result in poor nutrient uptake or weight loss.

Often imbalanced levels of pH in the stomach are responsible for intestinal ulcers. Secretion of too much gastric juice in the stomach eventually results in an ulcer. It is well established that neem has powerful anti-ulcer and gastro-protective effects. As a result, intake of this oil helps to re-establish the pH levels in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and, hence, relieves problems related to acidity.

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Neem oil is a store house of the essential fatty acids, including oleic acid, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. In addition, it is also loaded with stearic acid and palmitic acid. When taken in the right amounts, all these fatty acids are necessary for our body and they also have the ability to ensure the proper balance of cholesterol levels. Findings of various studies have revealed that neem oil is also effective in lowering high blood pressure, lowering the levels of "bad" cholesterol, keeping the heart rhythm normal and also alleviating inflammation in the arteries and blood vessels, which, in turn, reduces the chances of developing strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis.

Neem oil has antifungal and antibacterial activities, which makes this oil very popular among people who are seeking to boost their immune system as well as protect themselves from various infections. Azadirachtin, an active constituent of neem oil, has the ability to destroy the bacteria's cell walls; thereby neutralize them even before they are able to spread. In this way, neem oil helps to bring quick relief from various infections caused by bacteria.

Neem as well as the various substances derived from it, such as neem oil, has been studied by scientists for its potential to play a crucial role in treatment of cancer. A review paper carried in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2018 states that neem oil as well as the various extracts of neem possess anti-carcinogenic properties.

Many dental care items also contain neem oil, for instance tooth paste. It is also present in make-up items. The anti-bacterial properties of this oil helps to prevent tooth decay, gingivitis as well as canker sores. You can achieve this by drinking a tea prepared with the leaves of neem tree. In India, many people use the tender branches of the neem tree as tooth brush and it is effective in preventing tooth decay, cavities and various other tooth and gum related problems. Generally, the odour of neem oil is very potent as well as harsh. Since it is not pleasant to many people, usually neem oil is masked with various pleasant smelling oils to make its smell enjoyable.

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For centuries, people in India have been using neem oil to deal with various health issues. This oil possesses two defence building mechanisms, which are known as nimbidin and nimbin. Consequently, neem oil has the ability to work as both - an antibacterial as well as antifungal agent. It may be very helpful in aiding the body to keep off viruses and, at the same time, reduce high fevers. However, if your fever aggravates or does not cure even after trying neem oil or other medication for several days, it is strongly advisable that you check with your physician or healthcare provider.

As discussed earlier, neem oil possesses the ability to inhibit the development of insects from on stage to another during their metamorphosis. It is also highly effectively in inhibiting the proliferation of mosquitoes in areas that are disease prone. In fact, investigative studies have hinted that using neem oil in the form of a malaria-control agent in eco-friendly regions is very promising.

Since neem oil is loaded with nutrients, it is often used in various skincare products. Neem encloses very high concentration of antioxidants that aid in protecting the skin from injuries caused by environmental issues. Neem also contains carotenoids (which are very similar to carotene). These carotenoids protect the skin from the harmful free radicals, which are responsible for premature aging.

Neem oil is beneficial because it is especially packed with essential fatty acids, in addition to vitamin E. Moreover, our skin absorbs this oil effortlessly. It also does not make the skin oily. After being absorbed by the skin, the potent nutrients and fatty acids present in neem oil help to reload the cells of the skin and, at the same time, restore its suppleness.

When neem oil is applied onto the skin frequently, the above-mentioned blend of essential compounds makes this oil ideal for eliminating wrinkles, fine lines and scars; thereby preventing all signs of aging. Since neem oil is saturated with antioxidants and vitamin E, it may aid in recovering the youthful glow of the skin. Moreover, it will help to remove the dryness of the skin and repair the damages caused to it.

Neem oil is a wonderful remedy for acne. Hence people who are prone to occurrence of acne should use it regularly. Besides curing acne, this oil will also help to alleviate irrigation and, at the same time, clean up pimples and eliminate swelling. Topical application of neem oil also helps to get rid of bacteria on the skin surface. Any presence of bacteria on the skin surface may result in more break-outs of acne and pimples.

It is worth mentioning here that neem oil also encloses a substance similar to aspirin and it has the ability to cure acne just by cleansing the skin of the bacteria that are responsible for occurrence of acne. At the same time, this chemical may also aid in reducing inflammation and redness.

Neem oil contains elevated amounts of essential fatty acids, which are believed to be effective in putting off and take care of the scars caused by acne. In addition, they are also non-comedogenic. In other words, they work as skincare products that prevent the blockage of skin pores. The leaves of neem tree are also excellent exfoliates and you may use them in your face masks to bring out the impurities from the skin and also constrict the skin pores.

Fungal infections caused on the skin are of various types and they include ringworm, nail fungus and athletes foot. As extracts from the neem tree are known as one of the best available natural anti-fungal agents found across the world, you can use them to treat all kinds of fungal infections of the skin. Compared to the over-the-counter anti-fungal medications, neem is a much superior remedy for the above mentioned conditions.

Aside from the health benefits offered by neem, various parts of this tropical tree are an excellent insect repellent. Topical application of neem oil onto the skin or rubbing this oil all over your body may help in warding off all biting and stinging insects. This is especially useful if you are traveling to or you are residing in places that are infested with such insects. In fact, this is particularly beneficial for people who are very vulnerable to develop diseases from specific insects. In addition, it has been discovered that neem oil has the ability to protect you from fleas. Occasionally, neem oil is also used in the form of a natural pesticide in many home gardens.

Neem oil is very useful in dealing with various types of skin conditions. Skin infections caused by bacteria, for instance acne, or those caused by fungi, such as jock itch, can be effectively treated by topical application of neem oil. For this, you need to add very small amount of neem oil to water and rub the diluted solution on your face every day morning and at night just prior to going to bed. You will be surprised to notice the benefits of doing so. While using neem oil may help you to treat various minor skin conditions, it can also help you to put off developing more serious types of infection. Its use may also help in preventing several infections from deteriorating or resulting in to sepsis. Moreover, neem oil can be used to successfully treat fungal infections such as yeast infections. Hence, it is advisable that you always keep a stock of this valuable oil in your medicine cupboard.

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