NEEM – 5000 Years and Going Strong
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on January 29, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Neem is often called the “Village Pharmacy” for its usefulness in treating a wide variety of ailments, from skin conditions to blood sugar imbalances. All parts of the Neem tree, including its seeds, leaves, flower, and bark, have therapeutic value.
Neem is one of the most important herbs of Ayurveda, the ancient healing tradition of India. Extracts from the “Sacred Tree,” as Neem is also known, have been used both medicinally and ceremonially for over 5000 years.
Neem is an excellent antiparasitic and antifungal, and is especially effective against Candida. It can be taken either as a tincture or in capsules if you suspect yeast overgrowth. It works very well combined with Pau d’Arco for this purpose.
Some may be familiar with Neem as an ingredient in toothpaste, where it’s included for its antibacterial effects. Small twigs from the Neem tree were once used (and still are) as a natural toothbrush. They can be chewed to soften them and then rubbed along the teeth and gums to clean and freshen.
A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used to help maintain healthy blood sugar balance, and thus Neem may be of benefit with diabetes.
Neem oil, pressed from the seed, is useful for skin care and is available in cosmetic preparations such as soap & shampoo. It can be used topically for acne, scabies, lice, and fungal infections of the skin & nail. For topical use, I recommend it diluted 50:50 with essential oil of Oregano (see our earlier post on this great herb!).
Neem – revered for good reason!
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan