Health benefits of Neem oil 

Neem Oil

The neem tree is an all-rounder, possessing innumerable medicinal properties. Most parts of the plant, be it the leaves, root, bark or fruits, are used for its benefits. The extracts from the neem tree produce neem oil, which is another medicinal blessing to humankind. 

Neem oil is acquired from the neem tree, Azadirachta indica Juss. The neem tree is a member of the Meliaceae family and is said to have originated in India. 

Various oil exists in the market, but neem oil stands out prominently. The article highlights the use of neem oil and its role in human health.

What is Neem oil? 

Neem oil, also known as margosa oil, is a vegetable oil. The margosa oil is extracted from the seeds and fruits of the neem, Azadirachta indica, a tree indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that has spread to many other tropical areas. 

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Owing to its benefits, neem oil is valued globally as a vital source of phytochemicals. It plays an essential role in human health as well as in pest control. 

What products contain neem oil? 

Margosa or neem oil is the most important commercially available neem product used in organic farming and medicine.

Products containing neem oil are toothpaste, soaps, shampoos for pets and cosmetic products like face creams, body lotions, serum and hair products.

How does neem oil work? 

Neem oil works as an excellent insecticide as well as a good product for the skin. Active components in neem oil, like the Azadirachtin, act as a repellent and reduce insect feeding. 

The component also disrupts insect hormone systems, making it difficult for insects to grow and lay eggs. Azadirachtin can also repel and reduce nematode feeding. Other neem oil components kill insects by interfering with their ability to feed.

Neem oil foliar spray

When applied to a young plant, neem oil works as a foliar spray which has been shown to be most effective. The oil possesses a half-life of 3 to 22 days in soil, but in water, it is only 45 minutes to four days. 

It is almost non-toxic to birds, bees and fish. Studies prove that it does not cause cancer or other diseases. If used correctly, neem oil is extremely safe.

Neem oil insecticide

When applied as a soil drench, neem oil insecticide acts as a systemic in many plants, meaning that the oil is absorbed and distributed throughout the plant’s tissue. 

When the product enters the plant’s vascular system, insects consume it while feeding. 

The compound causes insects to reduce or stop feeding, prevents larvae from maturing and reduces or interrupts mating behaviour. In some cases, the neem oil coats the breathing holes of the insects, thereby killing them.

Uses of neem oil  

The uses of neem oil range from medicinal to the cosmetic industry. Neem oil is available as gels, oils, lotions, shampoos, creams and soaps. The topical application of neem oil can soothe skin issues. 

Treats dry skin and wrinkles 

Neem oil contains vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which allow it to penetrate deep into the skin and heal cracks caused by dryness. 

It also helps to restore the skin’s protective layer, preventing moisture loss. To condition dry skin, applying a mixture of neem carrier oil and coconut oil is suggested.

Who knew neem oil could be such an effective remedy for wrinkles? According to research, it can help stimulate collagen production and improve elasticity, making the skin remain young with age. 

Its high vitamin E content also helps to protect the skin from free radicals.

Stimulate collagen production 

As the skin ages, the production of collagen declines, resulting in the appearance of wrinkles. Neem has high Vitamin C content, which aids in the natural production of collagen and infusing the skin with antioxidants to help smooth fine lines.

Reduce scars 

The high vitamin E in neem oil is also excellent for healing the skin, especially the scars. 

Research suggests that neem oil can help reduce the visibility of scars. It has also been shown to help heal wounds and fade acne scars. Essentially, its skin-healing properties are applaudable.

Treats acne 

Neem oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial in treating acne. 

Given its numerous benefits, neem oil may help prevent breakouts due to its antibacterial properties. 

It also reduces the appearance of breakouts due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This property of neem oil may be beneficial in treating inflammatory acne.

Dandruff

Hardly people might have noticed that neem oil is already present in many dandruff shampoos on the market. The oil is a natural anti-fungal, and the yeast-like fungus Malassezia is commonly responsible for dandruff, making them work wonders on the dandruff-prone scalp.

How to use neem oil for skin? 

Moisturiser

Neem oil acts as a moisturiser for the face and the body. Moisturise the face and body by combining equal parts neem oil and another carrier oil such as jojoba, sweet almond or coconut oil.

For acne treatment

For treating acne, apply neem oil to the affected area with a cotton swab and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. To see positive results, wash it away with warm water and use it on a regular basis. Face packs with neem oil also works best for acne.

Toner 

Neem oil helps unclog pores and treat blackheads and whiteheads. It also works well as a toner. Simply boiling a few neem leaves in water serves as a toner, which can be used on the face every night for healthy skin.

How to apply neem oil for hair? 

Although neem oil is taken orally for other treatments, experts agree that it should be applied topically to treat scalp and hair issues. Currently, the majority of neem oil-containing shampoos and conditioners are used to treat lice.

In shampoo 

To reap the benefits of neem oil, it is advisable to mix it into the shampoo. Combine a few drops of this medicinal oil with a quarter-sized dollop of a person’s regular shampoo. Massage the shampoo into the scalp and pull it through the ends of the hair for best results.

As a mask 

Add neem oil to a hair mask, similar to the shampoo treatment, for additional moisturising and hair growth benefits. Make sure to shampoo after this treatment because neem oil can irritate the skin if left on.

Scalp massage oil

One of the best scalp oil is neem oil. Apply the oil directly to the scalp, then massage it gently. Let the neem oil sit on the scalp for about 30 minutes before rinsing off. Diluting it with carrier oil is advisable before applying it to the scalp.

Side effects of neem oil 

The side effects of neem oil are due to neem oil poisoning. It usually occurs in children. The presence of an active ingredient called Azadirachtin in neem oil is responsible for the side effects.

Vomiting  

Within minutes to hours of taking neem oil, vomiting occurs as a symptom of poisoning. 

Diarrhoea 

Diarrhoea due to neem oil ingestion can happen in both adults and children. Sometimes, neem oil is taken for constipation relief. Excess intake of this oil can cause diarrhoea.

Drowsiness 

Initial symptoms of neem oil poisoning occur a couple of hours after ingestion. Drowsiness follows vomiting and diarrhoea.

Seizures 

Seizures can result from even small neem oil doses and co-occur with severe metabolic acidosis. Seizure due to neem oil is also linked to loss of consciousness and coma.

Hives

Symptoms of neem oil allergy in people are manifested in the form of skin rashes or hives. It is recommended to stop using the oil when such effects are noticeable immediately, and a patch test helps prevent allergic reactions.

Conclusion

Neem oil is a herbal elixir containing an active component called Azadirachtin, which is responsible for both the pros and cons of the oil.

Due to their vast benefits, neem oil is valued around the world as a vital source of phytochemicals. It benefits human health as well as has a role in pest control. 

Neem oil can be used as an insecticide and foliar spray. It assists the skin by treating dry skin, promoting collagen production, preventing wrinkles and reducing acne scars. Dandruff is at bay when neem oil is used.

Improper ingestion of neem oil can cause neem oil poisoning, or it can also be allergic to certain individuals, causing allergic reactions. 

If used topically, a patch test is recommended, and if taken orally, quantity must be monitored for safe usage.

FAQs

What happens to neem oil once it enters the body? 

Clarified hydrophobic neem oil consists of glycerides and fatty acids. When neem oil is ingested into the body, they are broken down and used for energy. These are then incorporated into the cells.

Is it possible for neem oil to contribute to the development of cancer?

People have used neem oil in various ways for thousands of years. No evidence of increased cancer risk has been discovered all these years. 
According to research, neem oil does not alter or damage genes. So, No, neem oil does not contribute to cancer development.

What happens to neem oil in the environment? 

Azadirachtin is a significant component of neem oil which degrades quickly. In soil, water and plants, microbes break down the pesticide. 
In soil, Azadirachtin has a half-life of 3 to 44 days. The half-life in water ranges from 48 minutes to 4 days. 
It also degrades quickly on plant leaves, with a half-life of 1 to 2.5 days. In most soil and water environments, microbes break down the remaining components of neem oil.

Can neem oil affect birds, fish and other wildlife? 

Birds, mammals and plants are usually unaffected by neem oil. Fish and other aquatic organisms are slightly poisoned by neem oil. They are also moderately toxic to Azadirachtin, the component of neem oil. 

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