What’s that you say? Neem Oil? Hmmmm….never heard of it!
I get this a lot. When I am selling my organic soaps at festivals during the summer, Neem Oil is almost always the ingredient I get perplexed looks over. While it is a commonly used oil in many natural skin care products, it is one of the lessor known ones.
Neem is a tree that belongs in the mahogany family and is native to India and Pakistan and other tropical and semi-tropical regions. The tree has hard, fissured or scaly bark, feather-like leaves that are tinted with red and purple when young. It also has small white, fragrant star-shaped flowers. The fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil.
Neem Oil is rich in essential fatty acids that nourish and balance problem skin. The natural oils and glycerides quickly and easily penetrate outer layers of skin to soothe even chronically dry, itchy or flaking areas. Neem oil contains both potent anti-oxidants and is rich in essential fatty acids making it very effective for smoothing wrinkles and fine lines while helping to prevent the signs of aging when used regularly. It has been traditionally used to even out skin tone irregularities, helping to balance and restore proper skin pigmentation for issues such as vitiligo or age spots.
With more than 180 separate compounds, Neem Oil has some extraordinary benefits. Probably most impressive is it’s high levels of antioxidants. Neem Oil has up to a hundred times more concentrated antioxidants than those found in blueberries or broccoli. This means that Neem Oil is a powerhouse in helping to protect the skin from environmental damage.
So what are some of the compounds found in Neem Oil? Let me share and please bear with my over-the-top scientific names for these compounds.
- Catechin, Epicatechin, and Gallic acid. These all have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.
- Cyclic tetrasulfid and Gedunin. These are anti-fungals.
- Margolone and Mahmoodin. These offer anti-bacterial properties.
- Nimbin. This is a real powerhouse compound which has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-histamine properties.
- Nimbidin which is an anti-fungal and analgesic.
- Polysaccharides and Sodium nimbinate which are anti-inflammatory.
- Quercetin. Another powerhouse compound. This compound exerts strong anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting both the manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic/inflammatory mediators.
There are a lot of recent studies on Neem Oil since it is gaining more prominence in the natural skin care world. These studies have confirmed many of the traditional uses for Neem Oil as well as discovered several new uses. These studies have concluded that Neem Oil can be useful in the treatment of:
- Psoriasis – Neem Oil may be the wonder cure for psoriasis. It relieves the itching and pain while reducing the scale and redness of the patchy lesions.
- Herpes – Recent tests in Germany show that neem extracts are toxic to the herpes virus and can quickly heal cold sores.
- Periodontal disease – Neem Oil has been proven to prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. Mix oil into your toothpaste to prevent cavities and gingivitis.
- Skin Disorders – Neem Oil is highly effective in treating skin disorders like acne, shingles, eczema, itching, dandruff, and warts.
- Allergies – Neem inhibits allergic reactions when applied externally or consumed.
- Ulcers – Neem extracts give significant protection from discomfort and speed the healing of gastric and duodenal lesions.
- Hepatitis – Tests in the U.S. show Neem adversely effects the virus that causes Hepatitis B.
- Fungal Infections – Neem is toxic to several fungi which attack humans, including those that cause athlete’s foot and ringworm, and Candida, an organism that causes yeast infections and thrush.
- Cancer – Polysaccharides and limonoids found in neem bark, leaves and seed oil reduced tumors and cancers without side effects.
- External parasites – Neem Oil quickly kills external parasites and is safer and just as effective as a standard treatment for head lice, ticks, fleas, and scabies.
Neem is an excellent insect repellant. Its extracts have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on food crops. It is non-toxic to birds, animals, beneficial insects or man and protects crops from over 200 of the most costly pests.
It is little wonder why I have chosen to create a soap using Neem Oil as a base ingredient. My Neem Tea Tree Organic Complexion Soap is the perfect complexion soap, especially if your skin is in need of some love and tenderness. The healing properties will have your skin smiling again in no time!