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Neem oil has a rich culture and significance, especially in Ayurveda folk medicine. This oil can be used in your skincare and promote hair growth and thickness. It can also act as a natural insecticide, keeping your indoor plants free of pests.
Although neem is a harsh substance with a strong odor – and hence it needs to be used with caution, the benefits of the oil are truly remarkable. Read on to find out!
What Is Neem Oil?
Neem oil comes from cold-pressing the seeds of the Neem tree or the Indian Iliac. This tree is native to India, where people have used it for various purposes. You can use neem sticks, the bark of the tree, leaves, or powder. Neem oil is the most common form.
Neem oil was originally used as an insecticide, pesticide, or fungicide. It contains the active ingredient called Azadirachtin, which interrupts the insects’ or pests’ hormonal systems, which makes it hard for them to lay eggs or breed. There are also other components of neem oil that help with this, but it hasn’t been studied yet.
Neem extracts also contain high amounts of fatty acids and nutrients, so it doesn’t exactly smell like honey and roses but make them a good additive to your skincare and hair care regimen.
I know the saying that what doesn’t smell good is usually good for you!
This wonder oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties to help with skin conditions and dental problems.
What Is Neem Oil Good For?
Neem oil is used in a very ancient form of healing called Ayurveda. This alternative medicine has been around for over 3000 years. These practices are still followed today, as sometimes modern medicine just doesn’t seem to do the job or if people are afraid of the side effects.
Neem is one of the most common products used in Ayurveda. They say that neem oil can be used to treat and used for various things. Although there are not many scientific studies, small studies back these claims.
Neem oil helps with the following:
Protects Your Plants from Pests
Neem oil is a pretty effective solution to a variety of pests. This is best for people (like me) who have indoor plants and don’t really want to reach for an insecticide full of chemicals. This is not good for the environment, and a chemical smell isn’t good for you either!
Neem oil kills mealybugs, whiteflies, aphids, and other uninvited guests that creep into your house or gardens to feast on your plants. The oil can also kill the bacteria that causes powdery mildew, scab, and leaf spot. Don’t worry; neem is safe for beneficial insects like cute little ladybugs and pollinators. It leaves no residue on the soil, so your veggies are still safe to eat!
Neem oil cannot be sprayed on all plants! Or, in some cases, it just doesn’t make a difference if your plants have fur or needles. This will make the pests crawl deeper into your plants to avoid the neem oil. If your plant has fuzzy leaves, then neem oil isn’t your best bet either!
Promotes Dental Health
The last thing you’d want to do with neem is put it in your mouth because you’ll be greeted with a very bitter taste!
But, it’s really good for our dental health. Back then, when there was no toothpaste, people used to chew neem sticks to keep their breath fresh and their teeth healthy and clean.
Studies suggest that neem combats the buildup of plaque on our teeth and prevents a gum disease called gingivitis. Since neem contains antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory components, it keeps your gums healthy and your breath fresh.
Apart from keeping your teeth white, neem can also maintain the alkaline levels in your saliva, which supports the enamel in your teeth. This makes your teeth white and strong.
A Great Add to Skincare
This is a more known benefit to neem oil.
The application of neem oil can treat acne and other skin conditions, such as eczema, due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory abilities.
With acne specifically, a study found that neem oil can kill various types of bacteria that cause acne. What was more amazing was that it did this without causing dryness or skin irritation, which is usually seen with other acne medications. This allows neem oil to be a long-term treatment if necessary.
Plus, it’s natural! Mmmm, we like that!
Neem oil can heal skin tissue from the inside and reduces the appearance of scars and blackheads. It can also remove the marks and scars that are caused by acne. Using neem can also promote wound healing and evidence of skin aging.
Since neem also contains anti-oxidants, it can also give you an even skin tone by reducing blemishes and dark spots.
Hair Growth and Reduction of Dandruff
Neem oil is a pretty good solution to treat dandruff. I once used a neem shampoo, and my hair has honestly never looked better. It looked and felt super clean, I had no itchiness, and it had so much volume!
Neem also contains the active ingredient called nimbidin, which helps with inflammation that causes itching, redness, and flaking. This helps in the treatment of scalp irritation, such as dandruff and dermatitis.
Neem oil also combats the fungus that may cause dandruff. And goodbye
Neem oil also contributes to hair growth and strength because it contains Vitamin E and other anti-oxidants. The oil counteracts hair thinning caused by stress, pollution, or medication.
How to Use Neem Oil for You and Your Plants!
So, neem oil can be used for many things, from you to your plants. Here are some pointers on how to use neem oil for you and the health of your indoor plants.
*Always buy 100% pure, organic neem oil. It will usually be yellowish and cloudy and smell something like sulphur, garlic, or mustard. Especially when using it for your face, it’s important to get safe neem oil!
Neem for Your Plants
You can make a neem pesticide spray using neem oil. Neem oil won’t do much if used on its own. You need some water, liquid soap, cold-pressed neem oil, and a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to your plants but start with a small section first. If there’s no damage after 24 hours, then it’s safe for all your indoor and outdoor plants.
Repeat as needed. The neem oil should be used once every two weeks if you are using it to prevent uninvited guests. If you suspect you have a feast going on in your plants, spray your plants with neem oil every week.
Neem oil can be used during the morning or evening hours, but don’t use the mixture during the day. The sunlight with neem can burn your plants.
Neem for Your Skin and Hair
Do a patch test on your arm or hand before applying neem to your face or body. If you have no allergic reaction after 24 hours, then you’re good to go!
Undiluted neem oil is VERY strong. If you’re using it for warts, acne, moles, or fungal infections, you can only use neem oil as a spot treatment. Use a cotton swab to apply it and let it soak for 20 minutes. Wash your face with warm water.
This method is only for very bad cases of skin conditions!
It is recommended to dilute your neem oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil when using it for your entire face or body. This is also good for sensitive skin. Adding another oil can also make the neem smell better. Alternatively, you can also mix neem oil with aloe vera for soothing irritated skin.
This solution can also be applied to your hair.
You can add some neem oil alongside some other essential oils to your next self-care Sunday bath! This will relax your body and keep it super moisturized.
Neem for Your Teeth
If you don’t want to kick it old-fashioned and chew some neem sticks, you can add some neem oil to your normal toothpaste and brush as normal. Just try not to taste it! The toothpaste should mask most of the taste, though.
If you’re making your own toothpaste, you can use neem oil as it’s also very thickening, so your toothpaste will be a good consistency.
Another way to use neem oil for your teeth is by oil pulling. This is an ancient practice used in the Ayurveda system, which is swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria. It’s usually done with coconut oil, but you can do it with neem oil as well.
Neem oil on its own can be really, really bitter, so you can mix it in your mouthwash to mask the taste. Don’t swallow it as it could make you sick!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I store neem oil?
Your neem oil should be stored in a cool, dark place and never in sunlight. You can keep it in the fridge, however, you should never freeze it. This would reduce its effectiveness, it can become unsafe for use.
Is neem oil safe to use?
Neem oil is safe to use if applied and used properly. It has low toxicity for both humans and animals, and it doesn’t cause any disease or cancer. However, it would be best to avoid contact with the eyes when using neem oil.