By Foodism Team
Humble Neem Gains Importance
From grandma's kitchen to pharmaceutical giants
There’s a popular Singapore environment conservation pledge which goes - “I am planting a Neem Tree because it is a ‘medicine cabinet in a tree’ ”
Since ages neem has been considered a traditional potent medicine; and the health benefits of neem leaves are renowned across the world. When it comes to India, very rarely would one find a neighbourhood without a neem tree.
So what makes neem such a popular and trusted product?
Foodism brings to you a closer look at the humble neem and its benefits which have led it to span the huge distance from the homely kitchen to the state-of-the-art factories of pharmaceutical giants in one swift leap.
About the Neem Tree
Scientifically known as 'Azadirachta indica' the neem tree is native to India. In Sanskrit, neem means – something that is perfect, complete and imperishable. Surprisingly not only the leaves of this tree but even its seeds, roots and bark contain compounds that have many medicinal and beauty properties. In Ayurveda, the neem tree symbolises 'good health'.
Very few people are aware that the leaves of the neem tree possess 130-plus types of biological compounds like – nimbin, nimbolide and nimandial for instance - which help heal the body and promote healthy living.
Neem is best-known for its anti-aging properties. The reason for this lies in its antioxidant properties that protect the skin from pollution, harmful UV rays, and other environmental factors. Additionally, the vitamins and fatty acids in neem improve and maintain the elasticity of the skin and alleviate wrinkles and fine lines - rejuvenating the skin and giving it a youthful look.
As neem is blessed with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties it protects the skin and keeps skin- related diseases at bay.
Hence Ayurveda, which imbibes the natural pathway for treatment deploys extracts of the neem trees as a key ingredient in all its medicines.
Benefits of Neem
Neem leaves are used to treat fungal and bacterial infections like warts, foot fungi, chicken pox et al. This could be through directly applying the paste on the affected area or making the person bathe in neem water.
The potent calcium and mineral content in neem leaves help build strong bones and reduce any inflammation. Hence in traditional branches of medicine, neem leaves and neem oil are often prescribed to elderly patients to provide relief for arthritic pain and other stiffness or pain which accompanies old age. Regularly massaging the skin with neem oil is purported to promote strong bone health.
One can fight the mosquito menace and thereby protect the family from diseases like malaria, dengue, chikunguniya et al by placing neem soaked cotton near the windows or burning neem leaves.
Ayurveda experts recommend daily intake of neem capsules to boost immunity. During malarial fever neem tea is widely prescribed to lower the body temperature. Albeit the taste of neem is bitter but trust us the impact is magical!
Remember the ‘datun’ which your grandparents absolutely vouch for? Well there are a plethora of reasons for it – primarily neem works to decrease the microorganism culture and germs from attacking your body; moreover it promotes fresh breath, maintains a pH level in the saliva and protects oral health from any sort of decay. With oral hygiene restraining the build-up of harmful pathogens and infection spreading germs no small wonder that neem is an innate ingredient present in many kinds of toothpastes.
Neem is ascribed with the power to strengthen hair quality and promote growth of hair. Owing to its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, neem is the perfect solution for the pesky dandruff which afflicts your tresses! As neem strengthens the hair follicles it encourages hair growth too; and provides the essential nourishment and conditioning to the roots, making them stronger and shinier.
The detoxifying properties of neem enable it to provide the best solution for skin infections including eczema.
A little amount of neem oil applied onto wounds and scars, daily will ensure that the antiseptic properties of neem will heal the wounds without leaving any scars and also ward off septic infection.
The anti-inflammatory properties of neem make it the sure-shot solution for acne. Neem oil purportedly relieves dryness, itchiness and redness of skin; besides preventing pimples and skin blemishes.
Neem is also used in organic farming in the form of the popular neem seed cake - which is basically a neem seed residue which is left after oil extraction. It is extremely beneficial for enriching the soil and works as a nematicide and to bring down nitrogen loss.
Now that’s quite a load of benefits isn’t it! No small wonder then that neem is commonly found in products such as bath powders, shampoos, skin lotions, toothpastes et al; with many companies marketing neem leaf capsules for better immunity.