Neem leaves are important in the culinary and herbal world of Indian culture. They are very versatile since you can use them to make natural skin balms, food garnishes and herbal tea. Sometimes, the leaves are also dried and consumed as an herb or extracted to create powerful medicinal oil. Let’s take a look at 15 of the main benefits of neem leaves for health. Neem is the popular name of a tree native to India and widely cultivated in the Indian subcontinent, some parts of the Middle East and many tropical and subtropical countries. The scientific name of the plant is Azadirachta indica, a part of the mahogany tree family. Neem is a fast-growing tree with broad leaves that quickly fall into drought as a survival method. The tree grows resiliently in subtropical and tropical areas.
The plant has a great importance in the culture of India. For 5000 years, people in India have used all parts of neem trees, including leaves, seeds, bark, roots and flowers, as ingredients of traditional Ayurvedic treatment. Neem leaves have a wide range of benefits due to the richness and uniqueness of the organic compounds that make up the leaves. A single leaf contains at least 130 types of bioactive compounds; one of the most beneficial seems to be a tetranortriterpenoid called nimbidin. Nimbidin has a great variety of herbal and medicinal properties. A group of researchers from India conducted a review of the scientific literature on the topics of neem as a medicinal plant. Its review was published in the journal Current Science in June 2002, discussing the medicinal potentials of nimbidin.
“The team reported that nimbidin is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, spermicidal and antipyretic”.
In addition to nimbidin, there is also nimbin, sodium nimbidate and nimbodine. Those compounds have great medical importance, too. Nimbin, for example, has spermicidal properties, while sodium nambidate is a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent and nimbolide has antimalarial and antibacterial properties. These bioactive compounds make neem leaves a powerful herb for many medicinal purposes.
Benefits of Neem Leaves:
1. Fight Effectively Against Bacteria:
One of the most beneficial properties of neem leaves that is widely recognized by many is their antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. The benefits of Neem leaves and their derivatives: oil, tea and other forms have antimicrobial and antibacterial effects that come into play when taken externally or internally. This is the reason why neem leaf tea is usually consumed regularly as a general tonic and a health booster to strengthen the immune system. The bioactive compounds nimbidin and nimbolide are very potent agents that can easily destroy bacteria. In the early 1990s, Noel Viermeyer, Ph.D., led a team of researchers to study the medicinal properties of neem. The result was published in the report entitled “Neem: A tree for the solution of global problems”, which analyzes the potential of the plant as a medicine for various diseases, but not for the control of pathogenic bacteria. However, another study that was completed and published in the 2011 edition of the “International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences” denied this claim. The study showed how neem leaf juice has strong suppressive properties against different types of bacteria. In the study, the researchers used Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhosa to evaluate the effectiveness of neem leaf juice. Both bacteria are responsible for dangerous diseases that are widespread throughout the world. The test showed positive results in the effectiveness of neem leaves to eradicate bacteria.
The positive effects are due to the existence of nimbidin and nimbolide in the leaves. In reality, most parts of the neem have antibacterial properties, but the leaves have the strongest effects. Because of this, many people drink tea or juice of neem leaves to treat food poisoning, intestinal inflammation and typhoid fever.
2. Relieves Gastrointestinal Conditions:
Neem leaf juice is also commonly used to treat gastrointestinal problems. The anti-inflammatory properties of neem leaves make them work against inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. The inflammation causes several gastrointestinal ailments that include ulcers, constipation, stomach cramps, swelling and a number of other gastrointestinal problems. Jean Putz and Ellen Norten wrote in their “Neem: India Milagous Healing Plant” report that neem leaf juice contains some extremely potent agents for treating gastrointestinal ailments, such as diarrhea, constipation and hyperacidity. In addition to having strong antibacterial properties, consuming neem leaves is also good for the liver. A healthy liver will lead to improved digestion. The ability of neem leaves to cleanse the colon is also what makes the leaf valuable for gastrointestinal health. Diarrhea and dysentery, for example, can be treated by consuming a tablespoon of neem leaf juice three times a day. In a few days, the symptoms will gradually ease.
3. Relieves Eye Problems:
Neem leaf juice can also be used to relieve some common eye problems, such as night blindness and conjunctivitis. Effectiveness was reported in the 2011 edition of the “Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research.” In the report, the researchers mentioned that applying neem leaf tea juice to patients’ eyes every night is an effective treatment to cure both night blindness and conjunctivitis. Get the benefits, just grind the neem leaves finely and add water. Squeeze this paste to get the liquid and apply it directly on your eyes.
4. Treat the Fever:
You can also use the benefits of neem leaves to treat fever. Followers and practitioners of traditional Ayurvedic medicines commonly use neem leaf juice to treat high fever. This practice has been done for centuries and many doctors reported the effectiveness of this type of treatment. This is because neem leaves have antipyretic compounds that reduce fever by lowering body temperature. Neem leaves are also particularly effective in the treatment of dengue and malaria fever. While it has been used as a primary treatment for both diseases in areas with lack of access to modern health facilities, you should not take this as the only treatment that replaces the recommendation and prescription of doctors.
5. Solve Dandruff Problems:
Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, neam leaf is a popular ingredient in many hair products, including shampoos, scalp cleansers and hair masks. Neem leaves prevent the fungus and dangerous bacteria that inhabit your scalp from causing problems such as infection, itching, irritation and dandruff. The ability to keep the scalp hydrated also prevents the formation of scales or layers of dry skin on the scalp. On the other hand, neem leaves give a nutritional boost to your scalp and improve your health. Nutrition deepens by nourishing the follicles and strengthening it. The antioxidant content fights free radicals that accelerate the breakdown of your skin cells that contribute to the formation of dandruff. In addition to using commercially produced neem shampoo, regularly washing your hair with neem leaves is an effective method to prevent and treat dandruff.
6. Powerful Body Detoxification:
Most of the benefits of Neem leave have many active ingredients that will help you eliminate toxins in your body. Whether you consume the leaves in the form of tea, eat it as a garnish or vegetable, take the extract as an oral supplement, or even apply the leaves or paste directly on the skin, the leaves will have detoxifying effects on your body. Neem leaves activate the work of the kidneys and liver while helping them expel toxins and optimize the body’s metabolism. As a result, there will be no more toxins in your system. In addition, neem leaves can also clean the toxins that are most visible on your skin. Every day, many microbes, germs, dirt and dust accumulate on your skin. These harmful substances can be removed by topical application of neem leaves to avoid irritation and other skin problems.
7. Treat Acne:
Acne is the most widespread skin condition that can happen to anyone and in many areas. Despite its common occurrence, acne is also very difficult to eliminate. To treat acne, we have to eliminate the oil or fat that makes the skin condition more prone to bacteria. Neem leaves can remove this excess oil. In addition, the detoxifying nature of the leaves will eradicate bacteria and other microorganisms that cause inflammation and skin irritation. The antibacterial properties will also prevent the rupture from reappearing in the future. Then, the antioxidant properties of neem leaves will relieve scars and help regenerate new skin cells and preserve the youthful appearance of the skin.
8. Reduce Cancer Risks:
There is ongoing research on the application of the benefits of neem leaves as a possible treatment and prevention of cancer. The potential is believed by many people due to the high levels of antioxidants present in the leaves. Antioxidants reduce the possibility of cancer development due to its ability to fight free radicals, the byproduct of cell metabolism that can trigger inflammation, cancer and other chronic diseases. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals to stop being unstable and reactive. According to multiple reports, there is a positive correlation between the present of antioxidants and the reduced risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Consequently, this makes nim a powerful agent to fight cancer.
9. Reduce the Pore Size:
The benefits of Neem leaves are also well known for their ability to soften and cleanse the skin. People use neem leaves to create masks by crushing the leaves and mixing them with a little water until a thick paste forms. When used regularly, the mask acts as an excellent scrub. Deeply cleanses the skin and lifts dead skin cells while reducing pores. This helps prevent the development of pimples and spots on the skin. Your face will also look brighter and cleaner. When you use this as a regular and prolonged treatment, your skin will rejuvenate faster and look younger than your age.
10. Treat Diabetes:
The characteristics of the benefits of neem leaves in the treatment of diabetes are still under constant investigation for a more accurate and proven analysis, but there is definitely a relationship between the consumption of neem and the lower demand for insulin among diabetic people. This is because neem contains active compounds that make insulin receptors work better. Therefore, it makes sure that your body receives enough insulin. The function of an optimized insulin receptor protects you against diabetes. If you are already under treatment with diabetes, this significantly reduces your dependence on insulin therapy.
11. Prevents Fungal Infection:
The antifungal properties of the benefits of Neem leaves can be used to treat fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and candida yeast. Simply use neem oil or neem paste topically on infected areas. Alternatively, there are also commercial products of neem extracts on the market. The active ingredients in neem leaves will work quickly and efficiently to prevent and treat fungal infections.
12. Works as an Effective Contraceptive:
In many developing countries, where birth control pills and other modern techniques to prevent births are not accessible to many, neem leaf oil has long been used as a cheap and safe alternative to contraceptives. Neem trees can grow in many areas of the poorest countries, where many people are struggling with the growth they cannot bear. Researchers are also excited about the effectiveness of neem oil in preventing pregnancy. According to some studies, neem oil is not only safe to use, but also effective as pre and postcoital contraception. This impressive ability is due to the active chemicals in the neem leaves that kill and destroy sperm. According to several more recent studies, when neem oil is applied before intercourse, it can kill sperm instantly and remains active in the vagina up to five hours after application. It is also extremely safe to use because it does not cause irritation and other side effects. Other experiments in rats also demonstrated the ability of neem extract to cause long-term infertility, prevent fertilization and even terminate early pregnancy. In addition, neem leaf oil can also play a role as a lubricant. The antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties also protect the vagina from some sexually transmitted diseases. You do not have to worry about your sex drive, as neem extract reduces fertility without affecting your libido level.
13. Improves Oral Hygiene:
Neem leaf extract is also known for its ability to improve oral hygiene and health. In the past, twigs and neem leaves were often chewed to clean teeth, prevent gum disease, and tooth decay and tooth loss. Some studies are carried out to investigate the effectiveness of this traditional method of dental cleaning and the results are positive. According to studies, neem leaves and barks contain powerful ingredients to destroy bacteria that cause inflammation and decay, reduce plaque and gum disease, and promote better oral and dental immunity against diseases. Using leaf extract and neem bark as toothpaste will also refresh your breath.
14. Treat Scabies:
Scabies may seem like a small or unimportant skin problem, but it is very annoying and can cause permanent scarring or worse infections. Many conventional treatments for scabies are not healthy because they can irritate the skin. These treatments penetrate the skin very hard to destroy the cause of scabies. It works like a pesticide. However, the use of neem leaf oil can provide a safer and smoother way to treat scabies mites. Neem leaf oil not only kills mites, but also reduces inflammation, cures infection, relieves pain and itching, and relieves skin. It is also a good alternative for resistant scabies mites that are not destroyed by conventional medications. Traditionally, you can also follow the traditional neem leaf treatment recipe based on Aryan Indian medicine. Simply create a neem paste by crushing or grinding the neem leaves and mixing it with a little turmeric. Apply the paste on your entire body after a wash bath. Let it dry and rinse thoroughly.
15. Repels Mosquitoes and Other Insects:
Neem trees are known as an effective mosquito repellent. People planted the trees in the garden because mosquitoes hate trees. Many people also rub the leaves or apply neem paste on their skin to prevent mosquitoes from biting them. However, mosquitoes are not the only insect that hates neem leaves. The powerful leaves have many more important roles in destroying or repelling insects. Farmers in many parts of the world also spray their crops with neem pesticides. It works with grasshoppers, caterpillars, whiteflies, aphids and many other insects that can destroy crops. However, although the term is a pesticide, it doesn’t really work by killing insects. Most of the time, it only prevents plants from being eaten by insects by inhibiting the growth of eggs or pupae, interrupting sexual communication, preventing females from laying eggs, blocking the ability of adult insects to “swallow” and repel the insects of the area.