Neem – Benefits and Side effects

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Neem is a natural herb derived from the neem tree, also known as Azadirachta indica or Indian lilac.

Different parts of this tree have long been utilised in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It has traditionally been used to treat pain, fever, and disease, and its twigs have been used to clean teeth.

The extract is derived from the tree’s seeds and has a variety of traditional applications. Although neem is well-known for its pesticide and insecticidal properties, it is also used in hair and dental products.

This article will cover the uses, benefits and side effects of neem.

How does it work? 

Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4000 years due to its medicinal properties. Neem products have a variety of therapeutic properties and are used in various fields, making them a green treasure.

Neem contains chemicals that may aid in the reduction of blood sugar levels, the healing of digestive ulcers, the prevention of conception, the killing of bacteria, and the prevention of plaque formation in the mouth.

Uses of neem

The most common application of neem is in hair and skin care products. Some people seem to take neem extract capsules, but there isn’t enough research to say whether they currently have any medical benefits.

The oil is yellow or brown and smells strongly of garlic or Sulphur. When consumed, it has a strong bitter taste.

Neem for hair:

There is little research on neem’s effect on hair health, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it may be beneficial for

 Dandruff

Neem is a popular anti-dandruff shampoo ingredient. Despite the lack of research, neem is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent that may help reduce dandruff.

 Lice

According to the findings of a small study, neem is an effective anti-lice and anti-nit agent. The study only tested 12 lice-infested children, but all were lice- and nit-free after treatment with a neem-based shampoo. No side effects and no lice were present for 7–10 days after treatment.

Neem for skin

Neem seed oil contains high fatty acids, including oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. These fatty acids collectively have anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antimicrobial properties that promote healthy skin.

For psoriasis and eczema

While Ayurvedic medicine, an Indian traditional healing system uses neem to treat psoriasis and eczema, few scientific studies back up these claims.

Acne

Because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, neem oil may also aid in treating acne and other skin conditions. According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Acute Diseases, neem oil can kill many types of acne-causing bacteria.

It also didn’t irritate the skin or cause dryness like other acne medications. This suggests that neem oil may be a viable long-term therapeutic option for mild acne.

Skin ulcers

According to animal studies conducted by PubMed Central, neem leaf extract expedites wound healing by increasing the inflammatory response and the formation of new blood vessels.

A 34-day case study published in PubMed Central in 2013 found that applying 100 mg of neem oil topically each day completely healed chronic skin ulcers.

Neem for oral health

Neem can also be found in dental products such as mouthwashes, toothpaste, and tooth powders. Neem can relieve toothache pain and improve dental health by cleaning the teeth and gums and reducing gingivitis.

Neem as a contraceptive

Preventing sperm cell multiplication can be used as a pre-or post-coital (sexual intercourse) contraception. Immunomodulators found in purified neem extracts induce the cells responsible for pregnancy termination. After one or two cycles, fertility is restored, and future pregnancies are unaffected.

Neem for gastric health

Stomach ulcers

In another PubMed Central study, six people with intestinal ulcers were given 30 mg of neem extract orally twice daily. After ten days, acid secretion had significantly decreased, and the ulcers were almost completely healed in 10 weeks. Nonetheless, this was a small study. More human studies are required.

  • The anti-inflammatory properties of neem aid in the reduction of gastrointestinal inflammation, which helps prevent a variety of diseases such as constipation, stomach ulcers, flatulence, and so on.

Neem for Malaria 

Malaria is a typical tropical disease. Because it is effective against parasites that carry the virus, the neem leaf extract is beneficial in indirectly preventing the development of the malaria virus. Burned neem leaves are used as a mosquito repellent.

Neem for heart health

Blood clots, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) are significant causes of heart attacks.

Neem leaf extracts have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce clot formation, reduce strain on the circulatory system, prevent irregular heartbeats, and lower harmful cholesterol levels. Neem is beneficial to heart health.

Neem for Diabetes management

According to animal studies by PubMed Central, neem leaf extract could be a frontrunner for new diabetes medications.

This is because neem extract may help restore cells that produce insulin — the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar — and lower blood sugar levels.

Nonetheless, human studies are limited.

Neem for liver and kidney health

Neem’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may aid the tussle against oxidative stress, promoting liver and kidney health.

The accumulation of unstable molecules known as free radicals causes oxidative stress. Although free radicals are produced naturally by your body as a byproduct of metabolism, external sources increase their presence.

Some medications, such as cancer treatment, pain relievers, and antipsychotics, may contribute to oxidative stress, resulting in tissue damage in your liver and kidneys.

Interestingly, one PubMed Central study on rats discovered that neem leaf extract reduced liver damage caused by high-dose acetaminophen.

Another rat study found similar results, indicating that neem extract reduced the damage to kidney tissue caused by chemotherapy medication.

Human research, on the other hand, is required.

How to use neem? 

Neem is available online and in many dietary supplements and natural food stores. It is available in capsules, tinctures, powder form, oil, creams, hair products, and mouthwashes.

There are no recommendations for the proper use of neem in any form. Follow the directions on the product label to ensure your safety.

The Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate dietary supplements such as neem (FDA). As a result, the purity and safety of a supplement may differ from one manufacturer to the next.

The benefits of consuming neem leaves on an empty stomach

As explained previously, neem leaves have numerous benefits for your hair, skin, and overall health.

Its nutritional content is primarily made up of protein, carbs, minerals, vitamin C, carotene, glutamic acid, proline, cystine, and a variety of fatty acids known to be highly beneficial to the skin.

They are most effective when consumed as raw leaves in the morning on an empty stomach, ensuring that the nutrients are fully absorbed without being diluted by other foods or drinks.

Consuming neem on an empty stomach ensures that the nutrients reach your bloodstream in their active form and work from within. Let’s take a closer look at how neem provides the benefits mentioned above.

1. Reduction of acne breakouts

Neem leaves, as previously stated, have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. When consumed, the compounds found in neem can help fight various skin infections, including acne, skin irritation, bug bites, eczema, ringworm, and burn complications.

Neem consumption helps to purify your blood and maintain healthy skin. It also reduces inflammation in your body, which aids in the control of your sebaceous glands and inhibits excessive sebum production.

This is especially beneficial for seasonal acne during the monsoon and summer seasons, when oily skin can clog one’s pores and cause blackheads and other blemishes.

2. Maintenance of a healthy scalp

Neem leaf consumption promotes scalp health and hair growth. Neem’s antifungal properties can aid in treating scalp infections caused by Malassezia, a fungus that feeds on natural scalp oils and causes hair to become greasy.

Applying and eating neem leaves has been shown to help keep Malassezia-induced scalp infections at bay, thus reducing dandruff and scalp flakiness.

Neem is also high in antioxidants, which help fight free radical damage. This helps prevent early “scalp ageing,” inhibiting hair loss and stimulating new hair growth. Antioxidants in your diet can help improve the cell turnover cycles of your scalp, keeping it healthy.

3. Improve your immune system

Taking neem on an empty help improve your gut health. Maintaining good gut health is crucial for feeling good inside and out, leading to better absorption and digestion of food and elimination of toxins.

This regular detox keeps your blood fresh, improves your body’s ability to fight infections, and keeps fever and flu at bay.

Eating neem leaves can help your immune system self-regulate, and its high ethanol content can increase the antibacterial effect against external pathogens. Thus, drinking neem water on an empty stomach strengthens your body’s immune system.

4. Improves oral health

The compounds found in neem can aid in the removal of tartar and plaque from your teeth and gums. The antibacterial properties of the leaves are also beneficial in getting rid of oral bacteria and can help with a foul odour.

Chewing neem leaves is a herbal treatment that naturally polishes and whitens teeth. So, incorporating this ritual into your morning routine can significantly improve oral health.

5. Regulates blood sugar

One of the long-practised uses of neem leaves is for blood sugar management.

While experts say more research is needed to determine the direct relationship between chewing neem leaves on an empty stomach in the morning and blood sugar levels, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence.

This is because neem contains a high concentration of flavonoids and glycosides, which can help people with diabetes maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

As consuming neem leaves has no potential side effects, it is a safe component to include in your diet.

Side effects of neem  

When taken orally

The neem bark extract may be safe for most adults when used in moderation. Doses up to 60 mg per day have been used safely for up to ten weeks.

If taken in large doses or for an extended period by mouth, neem can be harmful. When taken in excess, it can harm the kidneys and liver.

When applied to the skin

Neem oil or cream may be safe to use on the skin for up to two weeks.

When applied in the mouth

Neem leaf extract gel is possibly safe when used in the mouth for up to 6 weeks.

For organ transplant patients

There is concern that neem may reduce the effectiveness of medications used to prevent organ rejection. If you have had an organ transplant, avoid using neem.

Before/after surgery

Neem has the potential to lower blood sugar levels. It is expected to impair blood sugar control during and after surgery. Neem should be avoided at least two weeks before surgery.

Other side-effects

People taking diabetes medications must talk to their doctor before using neem to avoid the risk of dangerously low blood sugar levels.

A single dose of neem has been shown to have long-term contraceptive effects in men. Because of its ability to inhibit sperm development and the lack of research into its safety, you should avoid neem if you are trying to conceive.

Because of its mixed safety record and lack of comprehensive research, neem is not recommended for infants, children, pregnant or nursing women.

Conclusion

Neem is a unique plant in that it has medicinal properties in all of its parts, including its leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, roots, and bark.

Even though scientific research on this supplement is still in its initial stages, evidence suggests that it may treat dandruff, lice, gingivitis, and dental plaque and promote wound healing.

However, dosage information is currently unavailable, and due to a lack of regulatory frameworks, many neem products are not tested for safety and pureness. As a result, before using any neem product, consult with a doctor.

FAQ’s

Is neem an effective insect repellant?

Because of its repellent scent, neem oil is an excellent indoor mosquito repellent. You can make an effective insecticide by combining neem oil and coconut oil in equal parts and rubbing it on exposed body parts.

Can neem cause infertility?

Some evidence suggests that neem can harm sperm and may affect fertility in other ways. So, avoid using neem if you are trying to conceive.

Is neem harmful to the eyes?

Neem oil can cause minor irritation to the eyes and skin. Azadirachtin, a component of neem oil, can cause skin and stomach irritation.

Can neem grow without water?

The neem tree, known for its drought tolerance, can survive with as little as 6 inches of average rainfall but grows best with 18 to 47 inches. It can withstand dry spells of seven to eight months.

Is neem leaf toxic to humans?

Unlike many synthetic chemicals, neem oil has a low toxicity rating, making it safe for beneficial wildlife such as pollinators. It is also non-toxic to humans. But consult a doctor before you decide to take neem.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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