Neem Extract: What Is It? Benefits, Applications, Risks, and Adverse Reactions
Neem comes from the Indian subcontinent. It is a tree called Azadirachta indica.
In traditional Asian medicine, different parts of this tree have been used for a long time. It has been used in the past to treat pain, fever, and infections, and its branches have been used to clean teeth.
This article looks at the science behind neem benefits for skin and explain what it is used for, what benefits it might have, and what risks it might have.
Neem is what?
Neem is a unique medicinal plant because all of its parts can be used. This includes its leaves, flowers, seeds, fruit, roots, and bark. It is sometimes called "the village pharmacy."
Some of the ways this tree was used in the past can be seen in manuscripts that are hundreds of years old. People used its flowers to treat problems with the bile duct, its leaves to treat ulcers, and its bark to treat diseases of the brain.
From different parts of the plant, over 140 different active compounds have been found. The antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and wound-healing properties of neem come from these active compounds.
Even though we don't fully understand how neem works, scientists are still looking into it.
Neem could be good for your health
Even though research on neem is just getting started, it shows promise for a number of health issues, such as controlling blood sugar and helping your hair, skin, teeth, liver, and kidneys.
Remember that more research needs to be done on people.
May help hair stay healthy
Neem seed extract has a compound called azadirachtin, which may help fight parasites that live on hair and skin, like lice. Azadirachtin works by stopping parasites from growing and preventing them from reproducing and doing other things that cells do (9Trusted Source) .
In a study that looked at how well a shampoo made with neem killed head lice on children, leaving the shampoo in the hair for 10 minutes killed the lice without hurting the skin.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, neem extract and nimbidin, a compound found in neem oil, may also be used to treat dandruff. Fungal growth on the scalp can lead to dandruff and itchy scalp.
May improve the health of teeth and gums
In India, people often chew neem bark to keep their teeth clean.
Neem's ability to kill germs, reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, and boost the immune system may be good for oral health. Studies show that neem may help relieve pain and treat gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay. More research is needed, though.
Also, studies done in test tubes suggest that neem may make it harder for bacteria to live on the surface of your teeth, which would stop plaque from forming.
Also, a 21-day study of 45 people with gingivitis showed that neem mouthwash was just as good at stopping gum bleeding and plaque as chlorhexidine mouthwash, which is a strong prescription mouthwash.
May be good for the liver and kidneys
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of neem may help fight oxidative stress, which in turn may be good for the health of the liver and kidneys.
Free radicals, which are unstable molecules, build up and cause oxidative stress. Even though your body makes free radicals as a byproduct of metabolism, they are made more common by things outside of your body.
Some drugs, like those used to treat cancer, painkillers, and antipsychotics, can cause oxidative stress, which can damage the cells in your liver and kidneys.
In an interesting study, high doses of acetaminophen caused liver damage in rats, but neem leaf extract helped repair the damage.
Another study on rats found similar results, which suggests that neem extract helped repair the damage that chemotherapy caused to the kidney tissue.
However, studies in humans are needed.