Medicinal herbs have been used to treat a whole range of illnesses, conditions, injuries and disease since the beginning of civilization. Many have endured and become commonplace in the Western world — aloe vera comes to mind — but others have remained somewhat in obscurity, such as the neem tree.
Native to India, the neem tree has been a cornerstone of Ayurvedic remedies for nearly five thousand years, and is known as the “healer of all ailments.” After reading this article, you will realize that is not hyperbole. The neem tree and the many products derived from it combat a myriad of health woes. Even the most cautious of researchers have deemed to call it “a wonder plant,” according to the National Academy of Sciences’ 1992 book “Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems.”
Benefits of Neem
The herb neem has a host of incredible qualities. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, antihistamine and even broad-spectrum anti-viral properties. It can reduce fever and relieve pain. Neem is also an extraordinary antioxidant, having more than seven times the ORAC value (a way of rating antioxidants) of blueberries, which are prized for their high antioxidant content. It also is an excellent purifier, cleansing the body and blood of toxins, and aids in treating ulcers, acid reflux and gastritis, as well as the teeth and gums.
Neem can be taken in several forms. In Asia, the entire neem tree from bark and leaves to seeds and flowers is used in the making of medicinals. Neem leaf and bark can be taken internally as a powdered supplement or liquid extract. Taken this way, neem helps balance cholesterol and blood sugar levels, relieves sinuses and bronchial inflammation, promotes healthy digestion and liver function, improve the appearance of the skin and more. Neem twigs are available to chew on for dental care (it is known as the “toothbrush tree”), but it also comes in a toothpaste and tooth powder. Neem oil, cold-pressed from the neem seed, is for external use only. But neem oil benefits a number of skin conditions, including acne, eczema and psoriasis. It is also very moisturizing with its long-chain fatty acids and natural gylcerides and can be used for anti-aging purposes. Neem oil for hair has been used for millennia to strengthen and darken hair as well as to encourage hair growth. The oil is also an effective bug repellant you can use on yourself, your pets and your garden.