On the lookout for a natural health booster? Try neem and its secrets from the ancient world of Ayurveda…
Think of neem and most will think of the natural, harmless EPA-registered pesticide that doesn’t harm the flora or fauna. But neem or Azadirachta indica is a far more useful plant than just a crop sprayer. Native to southern Asia, neem has its roots deep into the ancient medical science of India, the Ayurveda. So where all could neem be used, and how, and where do you get it?
Where do you get neem?
If you live in an area that doesn’t get frozen solid in winter, and remains comfortably warm in the summers, then you could actually grow a neem tree at home in your backyard. There are many neem tree suppliers in the US and other place so getting a tree is not a problem, but it has to be protected from the cold. Your tree will die of frost instantly as neem is basically a warm-weather tree. In case you are unable to grow the tree, you can choose to get leaf or bark extracts as capsules or as a dried powder for consumption as well as dried leaves and neem essential oil for external use.
Benefits of neem:
- In the garden: Neem trees tend to keep mosquitoes and other pesky bugs away from your garden. Neem is also a very effective organic pesticide, and excellent to use when planting potatoes, tubers and other ground creepers. They affect larvae of various insects and stop them from molting, thereby debilitating the insects in the growth stage. Neem-based pesticides are safe for humans and pets, as well as for the birds, bees and other good bugs in the garden.
- As a home pest controller: If your cupboards tend to get mildew or mold, or even irritating pests such as ants, roaches or silverfish, then keeping dried neem leaves in your shelves will prevent any damage to clothes, books or any other accessory or apparel. It will also take away that “wet” smell of mold and work as a cupboard freshener. You can also add a few drops of neem essential oil to your diffuser to stave off any mosquito bites.
- Skin problems: Have a skin rash? If you have fresh neem leaves, grind them to a paste and apply on the affected areas. Neem leaves contain anti-bacterial agents that treat mild infections. You can also choose to add dried neem leaves to your bath water for the same effect. Oily skins can benefit from the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal action of neem – a daily application of neem paste on the face will reduce the appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, acne and even scars.
- Medicinal Uses: If you seem to be plagued with cold and congestions all the time, having neem supplements can amp up your immunity, thus making you healthier. Ensure you get your supplements from a trustworthy and licensed source. Certain drug trials in India have shown neem to be an effective and economical early cancer treatment drug. The trials are on to prove its long-term efficacy and safety and hopefully sometime in the future – we’ll see neem as a first-go treatment for early stages of cancer!
So there you have it, as a fresh plant, as a dried powder or even as neem oil – this Asian plant seems to have many a benefit! If you know of any other benefits of neem, do write in to us in the comments section below..