Neem, which is available as powder or oil, comes from the neem tree, also called Niem or Indian lilac. The neem tree contains many different substances that are used in various areas, including the Indian healing art of Ayurveda. In this article you will learn how to use neem, what it is exactly and how it can be helpful.
The Ayurveda Indian art oh healing
Translated, the Indian word Ayurveda means the knowledge of life. In this over 5000 years old tradition, Ayurveda pursues three main goals:
– Individual and healthy nutrition according to a 3-types doctrine.
– Detoxification of the entire body.
– Strengthening of the body’s inherent self-healing powers.
According to Ayurveda teachings, physical and mental imbalance causes diseases. The ideal balance is proportionally determined by three types, so-called doshas. These three doshas are always partially composed of the five elements air, fire, water, earth and space:
Vata is made up of air and space and represents life energy.
Kapha is formed from water and earth and gives the body structure, growth and mobility.
Pitta is composed of fire and water and provides metabolism and digestion in the body.
The effect of neem in this system is described as follows:
it increases Vata and decreases Pitta and Kapha.
What is neem actually?
The name heavenly gift comes from the majestic neem tree: this can grow 200 years old and 40 meters high. In the tradition of Ayurveda, the leaves, seeds, bark and roots of the neem tree are used. It contains over 100 detectable substances with different effects. Therefore, the scope of application is unusually large:
Here, in the manufacture of furniture, the wood used is treated with neem oil. This is to prevent pest and mite infestation.
Neem oil is also used here. This has an antibacterial effect and also eradicates fungi and insects. Since it is a natural product, there are no harmful side effects on humans and animals.
This application will interest you the most and will be described in more detail below. Traditionally, neem is a component of Indian dental hygiene and a remedy against head lice. It is also said to be effective against high blood pressure, anemia and many skin diseases.
The aforementioned oil is the most common form of use. For this purpose, the seeds of the neem tree are collected. One way of oil extraction is direct pressing. Another form of oil extraction is leaving the seeds in a water bath for hours, which dissolves the important constituents. Sometimes this is also supported by induced chemical reactions. Neem is now also available as extract, tea, powder and even toothpaste.
What can you use neem for?
A few examples have already been mentioned. It is unusual from our western point of view that one active ingredient can be helpful for so many different symptoms, as there are
– Thyroid disorders
– Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
– Psychological ailments
– Increased cholesterol level etc.
The main field of application are ailments of the skin. As described above, the antibacterial substances are responsible for this, as well as an anti-inflammatory effect. This is helpful against acne, eczema, herpes, neurodermatitis, psoriasis and other skin complaints.
How to use neem externally and internally
Since an outstanding effect affects the skin, external application has always been common. Side effects and discomfort are not known. When you use neem on the skin for the first time, you can test it on a small area of skin first: if there is no redness or burning itch within 10 minutes, further use is safe.
Neem oil should not be used pure but mixed with high-quality almond or olive oil. Use only 1 percent of this oil (for children) and 3 percent for adults. Even a very small amount will relieve dry skin, cold sores, and minor injuries. A little more oil can be used to treat joint pain, bruises, hematomas and hemorrhoids. For skin eczema and parasites such as scabies mites, the neem oil content should be 25 percent.
Neem extract based on alcohol can be used pure for wound disinfection. For rubs and poultices, it can be neatly diluted with water.
Internally, neem is usually taken in the form of oil and extract, for example, in capsule form; it is also available as a tea. This can be used over a longer period of time, since neem is not so highly dosed in it. The highly concentrated extract should not be taken for longer than 2 weeks.
Neem is very bitter, and some people do not tolerate it well. Therefore, one should follow the intake recommendation of the respective product. The wonderful gift from the neem tree should not be underestimated in its strong effect, even as a natural product. For longer internal use, you should consult a practitioner experienced in Ayurveda.