Neem Oil

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Branch from a Neem tree
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Branch from a Neem tree

All you need to know

About Neem

Azadirachta indica, also known as Neem, Nimtree, and Indian Lilac is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to India and the Indian Subcontinent including Nepal, Pakistan,Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Typically growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Neem trees now also grow in islands in the southern part of Iran. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil.
In India the neem medicinal plant is highly regarded because of its many uses and benefits. Neem is a fascinating and versatile plant and using neem has many benefits.

All parts of the neem tree are useful.

Using The Different Parts Of The Neem Plant

The most widely used parts of the neem tree are the seed kernels, the leaves and the bark:Neem Seeds The fruit of the neem plant looks a lot like an olive. The flesh surrounds a seed that contains one or several kernels. Neem oil the most popular neem plant product, is made by pressing the neem seed kernels. The kernels can contain as much as 50% oil. In the western world the seed oil is mostly known and valued as a safe and effective insecticide making Neem oil very popular with organic gardeners.
Also used as a natural insect repellent a safe and more efficient alternative to the harmful DEET. Neem seed oil is used as an ingredient in many skin care, products. In India most of the neem oil is used in neem soap, but there are also neem shampoos, lotions, creams etc. Besides that the oil is valued for its huge range of medicinal uses. The seed kernels contain the highest concentration of active substances in the neem plant. Pressing them for oil is one way to get at them, but you can also make various extracts from the seeds. A warning: the seed oil can be toxic and should not be taken internally!

Neem Leaves
The Leaves of the neem tree are the most versatile and available resource. They do contain the same active ingredients as the seeds, just in much lower concentration. Leaves are available all year round as the neem plant is evergreen. (Seeds are obviously only available once a year). It's easy to make your own neem remedies from leaves. Leaf pastes and extracts are used in skin care products, hair oils, in neem toothpastes and mouth washes, and they also have lots of medicinal uses.
Many herbalists recommend chewing the leaves, taking capsules of dried leaf, or drinking the bitter tea. The leaves cleanse the blood, help the gastrointestinal system (ulcers!), support the liver, and strengthen the immune system, to name just some of the most popular benefits. Although the leaves of the neem tree have been used this way for thousands of years in India, It is recommended that you are careful when taking them internally. Neem is a very powerful herb. It's best to ask a qualified herbalist first, and to not take it internally over long periods. However, the topical use of neem leaf extracts and leaf paste is considered safe. Skin care and the treatment of skin problem is where the neem plant really shines.

It is extremely effective in eliminating bacterial and fungal infections or parasites
its antiviral activity can treat warts and cold sores
it soothes inflammation and reduces redness
it moisturises the skin and keeps it supple
it can even lighten scars and pigmentation

Neem Bark

The bark of the neem tree is not used as much as the seeds or leaves, for obvious reasons. There is not as much of it, it does not regenerate as quickly, and it is slightly more difficult to use. Because of its dry and hard nature the ingredients are more difficult to extract. However, in one medicinal field the bark is the recommended plant part to use, that field is dental care. The bark contains a higher concentration of active ingredients than the leaves, and is especially high in ingredients with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action. Neem bark is highly effective when treating gingivitis (gum disease).

Uses Of Other Neem Plant Parts

Neem Twigs

Chewing young, supple branches, and then using them as a toothbrush, prevents cavities and gum disease. Indian villagers have used this method for centuries. (Though in modern India neem toothpastes, mouthwashes, and bark powders are the preferred method.)

Neem Cake

Neem cake is a strange name for the pulp that is left after extracting neem seed oil from kernels. It is indeed edible, at least for animals, and is sometimes used as fodder. However, the most common and recommended use is as a soil amendment and fertilizer.

Neem Flowers

The flowers of the neem plant have a lovely, sweet, honey like smell. It is quite intense and noticeable from a distance, but never overpowering. Bees love neem flowers and neem honey is popular. The flower oil is also used in aromatherapy and has a calming and restorative effect.

Other Interesting Uses Of The Neem Plant

The wood of the neem plant

This has become an important source of firewood in some regions of the African continent. The neem plant is particularly valuable as a source of firewood because if its rapid growth (it can be harvested within five years), and because it grows so well with very little water in the poorest of soils.

All parts of the neem plant

These are also very beneficial when used as mulch, as a compost ingredient or as a soil amendment. Neem can be used to reclaim marginal soils. It can bring acid soils back to neutral, the deep tap root can break through hard layers, mine the subsoil for nutrients and bring them to the surface. Growing neem trees improves the water holding capacity and nutrient level of soils.

Health Benefits Of Neem

Both neem oil and neem leaf are fantastic skin care ingredients:
Neem relieves dry skin. It soothes itchiness, redness and irritation.
It improves general skin health and immunity, combating bacterial infections, as in acne, boils and ulcers.
But neem doesn't promote resistance in bacteria. Antibiotics are over-prescribed and are becoming blunt as a weapon in our fight against diseases. Neem is an interesting alternative, and one that will never stop working.
head lice and more
Renders insects infertile when they come in direct contact (For this reason do not use when trying to become pregnant or are already pregnant)

Nobody wants to douse themselves in insecticides, or use corticosteroids forever when a natural product such as neem often does the same job, in fact even better. Used as hair oil neem promotes shiny, healthy hair, combats dryness, prevents premature greying and may even help with some forms of hair loss. Neem oil also makes a brilliant nail oil. No more brittle nails and no more nail fungus. The biggest benefit of neem oil and neem leaf is that they are good for your general health, the condition of your skin and body, and your immune system. So whether you use them to fight some skin condition, or just to prevent any skin related problems in the first place, you are doing yourself something good.

Benefits Of Taking Neem Leaf

Neem leaf is an essential ingredient in many Ayurvedic remedies. Indians have known for thousands of years that taking neem has many benefits. It stimulates the immune system, improves liver function, detoxifies the blood, generally promotes a healthy circulative, respiratory and digestive system. It is famous as a malaria treatment and for diabetes. In the western world people mostly drink neem tea or take neem capsules to boost immune function and for the blood cleansing effect, especially people with skin problems.

Benefits Of Neem For Animals

Wash your animal with neem soap or a neem shampoo and you'll discourage biting insects, ticks and fleas, ringworm, mange mites, any skin disorders or fungal infections. Neem is just as fantastic for the skin and hair of your pets as it is for yourself. Again, you avoid nasty chemicals and harmful medications, they only increase stress for the immune system rather than helping it. Whereas neem benefits the immune system and overall health of your pet or horse. Neem oil for animals can help with fleas, ticks and mange mites. It promotes a strong immune system, healthy skin, a shiny, problem free coat, all the signs of a radiantly healthy animal. Dog owners who tried neem oil and neem products rave about the impressive and immediate effect of neem on the health of the dogs. People usually only discover neem when struggling with a persistent condition that no nasty prescription drug could clear up. And then! a natural product resolves the problem seemingly overnight. It is not surprising that we forever read about the "miraculous" abilities of neem and neem oil.
It's a shame that it takes a severe problem for people to discover neem oil for animals in general. It's also a shame that by then said animals have usually suffered for weeks or months and have been subjected to a range of heavy duty medications, which in themselves have taken a heavy toll on the immune system and the general health of the animal when the regular use of neem shampoo could have prevented problems in the first place.

How To Use Neem Oil For Animals
General Care

This is simple and obvious: give your dog a regular wash with neem shampoo or in the case of a horse or cat, when required. One of the best things you can do for your dog is to buy a good neem oil dog shampoo. Any dog/animal shampoo can be turned into neem shampoo by adding some pure neem seed oil into it. Care must be taken though on the quality of the shampoo (chemicals etc).
Neem oil shampoo for dogs keeps fleas, ticks, mange mites and any other annoying biting insects away, and generally promotes a shiny coat and healthy problem free skin (just like using neem products on your own hair and skin does). This too is also true of horses, research has shown the the scottish female midge (only the pregnant female bites), a ferocious biting mosquito will avoid products which contain neem oil.

Dealing With Skin Problems

No matter if it's a fungus (ringworm), mites (mange), or biting insects, neem oil helps dogs. How exactly you use neem on your dog depends on the severity of the problem.
Using neem spray: dogs can be sprayed with neem spray, just as we spray ourselves with insect repellent. You can do this to prevent problems or re-infection. You can also use a spray to treat your dog repeatedly. This may be necessary when dealing with a persistent problem. It's certainly easier than bathing your pooch three times a day.

Using neem dog shampoo: bathing with a neem dog shampoo is of course also an excellent way to discourage fleas and ticks, and to clean up mange or ringworm. Make sure you leave the shampoo in for several minutes (as long as your dog will tolerate it) before rinsing. Do this two or three times a week. That usually does the job.
If making you own neem shampoo (by adding neem oil to normal dog shampoo), source some oatmeal shampoo. It's the best shampoo to soothe already irritated skin and relieve pain and itching a bit. Otherwise use the mildest shampoo you can find.

Using neem horse shampoo:

Unless your horse is stabled all year round and well rugged you won't be washing your horse on a regular basis. If and when you do give your horse a wash, (before shows etc) you should use a good shampoo, obviously. A more regular wash we use is manes and tails which is natures fly repellent if you will. Using neem in the shampoo will assist with this activity as flies and biting insects will avoid the neem due to the distinctive smell which probably they sense will render them sterile.
This unusual fact was discovered after a plaque of locusts ravaged an area in India leaving a neem tree intact. This spurned people to learn more about neem, why did the locusts leave it alone?

Using pure neem oil:

if you have a severe case of anything you may want to try pure neem oil. Don't use it undiluted, though, especially if the dog has cracked, open skin, oozing sores etc. Neem oil is very strong stuff! You would add to the stress and discomfort, and that makes things worth.
Rather dilute the neem oil 1:10 in a light carrier oil (e.g. grape seed oil or almond oil). Then massage the oil mixture into the skin. You can apply it several times a day on problem spots.
For hot spots like moist eczema, or to treat demodectic mange, you can increase the concentration to a 1:1 ratio. Some people do use 100% pure neem oil in those cases. Don't leave the pure oil on the skin for more than 48 hours, or you dog may develop an irritation. Also monitor the skin, and if there is any reaction, just wash the oil of.

Using neem leaf: the preferred Ayurvedic people treatment for scabies (the human equivalent for mange) is a paste made from neem leaves and turnmeric. It's more effort to make than the oil, but is certainly a good thing to use on dogs with mange.
An easier way to use neem leaves on dogs is to make a strong neem leaf tea or extract, and to dab or spray that onto the skin.

Make sure your dog also eats a healthy diet, with plenty of vegetables, vitamins and minerals. Any neem treatment shows best results when internal and external treatment is combined. Consider supplementing your dogs diet with dried neem leaf or bark. You can buy dried neem leaf, neem leaf powder, or bark powder, either lose or in form of capsules.
Internal use of neem leaf helps with intestinal parasites, generally helps the intestine, stimulates liver function and strengthens the immune system. In short, it will help your dog to deal with the external skin problem by fighting it from the inside.

Where Neem Oil Can't Help Animals

Neem is also not equally effective against all ticks that may affect dogs. Particularly the brown dog tick appears to be very resilient. While neem will help it will not prevent all bites.


This document is intended for informational purposes only. Neither the information nor the products mentioned on the above document are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. None of the information presented on this website is to be taken as medical advice. Always consult a qualified physician, health care or veteranarian for diagnosis and treatment of any condition.
Neem should not be taken by anyone who is pregnant or trying to conceive. Neem contains compounds similar to those in aspirin and must never be used to treat children with fevers. It should not be taken by people with known allergies to aspirin and aspirin like substances. Neem oil should not be taken internally.

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