Neem Benefits

Latin Name

Azhadiracta indica

Also Known As

Margosa, Arista, Indian Lilac, Vempu, Nimm, Arya Veppu, Azad Dirakht,, Nimba, DogonYaro, Margosa, Neeb, Nimtree, Vepu, Vempu, Vepa, Bevu, Kohomba, Vembu, Tamar, Muarubaini


Indian sub-continent

Parts Used

Leaves, seed and bark can be used although most traditional use, including those documented here refers to neem leaf.

Traditional Use and Health Benefits
Neem is one of the most widely used and well studied herbs of our times. It has a very broad range of therapeutic applications (and many others from agriculture to contraception). It's active ingredients include nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidin and b-sitosterol. Neem is used for many things from bathing new-born babies to protecting people (and plants) from insects. Neem is perhaps best known for its anthelmintic properties (expelling parasitic worms from the body). It is also antibacterial and well known for clearing the complexion and eradicating blemishes. However Neem's benefits don't end there. In Ayurvedic medicine, Neem is known as a powerful blood purifier and is therefore excellent for detoxification, effecting circulatory, digestive, respiratory and urinary systems.  Neem is a tonic and it's astringent properties make it excellent for healing wounds. It also stimulates the immune system by energizing lymphocytes thus reducing or preventing infection. Neem is bitter and considered alterative so it is also used for reducing fevers. Neem is also well known for treating diabetes and for preventing or delaying the onset of the disease. One study indicates that by taking 5 grams of neem leaf per day, a diabetes sufferer can reduce their insulin intake by 50%. Several other studies have been done that show that neem leaf has a hypoglycemic effect comparable to prescription drugs. 
Typical Use
SUGGESTED DOSAGE There are a wide variety of Neem applications and dosages. 2 - 4 grams 2 - 3 times a day would be a fairly standard dose 
Folklore and History
The neem tree is native to the Indian sub-continent, being found in all countries from Pakistan to Burma. Neem is a relative of the Mahogany tree and it is remarkably hardy and virile. It can thrive in a wide range of environmental conditions and easily overcomes the challenges of poor soil outbreaks of pests or adverse climatic conditions. From a herbalist's perspective this is Neem's 'signature', and it's indomitable quality is also manifest in it's range of powerful therapeutic applications. Currently, the oldest evidence for the use of Neem comes from The anciant Indus Valley Civilization known as the Harappan. Studies into Neem were performed by Medical Practitioners of this ancient culture which tells us that Neem was already a household medicine nearly 5000 years ago. Neem is widely used in Ayurveda and is mentioned in the oldest medicinal scriptures the Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita Neem was earlier used in households for giving bath to newly born infants, protect people from insect bites and also indigenously used to protect a number of plants as neem contained insecticidal properties. It was also widely used to cure skin ailments.   Neem's name derives from the Sanskrit Nimba, and it was known as the Sarva Roga Nivarini or Curer of All Illnesses. The Sanskrit treatises Charaka Samhita, Susrutha Samhita and Brihat Samhita, compiled between 6th century BC and 6th century AD, mention neem's properties dozens of times. The neem tree was intimately connected with the everyday life of Indians; its antiseptic properties made it part of 'cradle to death' care. Babies were bathed with neem water and given small doses of neem oil, and neem leaves were hung over their cradles. Forest and agricultural treatises recommended it for soil protection and revival and for pest-repelling. Ghandi's daily neem tea / chutney   In 1971, a timber company in the United States figured out that the neem tree's usefulness in acting as a pesticide and began planting neem tree seeds. He received a patent on it and, in 1988, sold the patent to the US based company W.R. Grace. In 1992, W.R. Grace secured its rights to the formula that used the emulsion from the Neem tree's seeds to make a powerful pesticide. It also began suing Indian companies for making the emulsion.   In 1995, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted a patent on an anti-fungal product, derived from neem, to the US Department of Agriculture and multinational W. R. Grace and Company. The Indian government challenged the patent when it was granted, claiming that the process for which the patent had been granted had actually been in use in India for over 2,000 years. In 2000, the EPO ruled in India's favour but the US multinational mounted an appeal claiming that prior art about the product had never been published in a scientific journal. On 8 March 2005, that appeal was lost and the EPO revoked the Neem patent rights keeping the tree free of these patent restrictions Neem
PRECAUTIONS Neem should be avoided if pregnant or trying to conceive.   Neem leaf has been used by millions of people over millenia and no hazards have been documented for normal dosages.   Because of it's hypoglycemic effect, diabetics must monitor blood sugar levels carefully when  supplementing with Neem leaf, which may cause significant increases in blood sugar levels resulting in hypoglycemia.   IMPORTANT This level of relative safety does not apply to Neem (seed) oil which is toxic at lower levels and potentially lethal to children.