Sacred tropical tree of Indian and Myanmar origin, the Neem – or Melia white Cedar (Azadirachta indica), is also known as the tree with “a thousand virtues”. Traditionally used in Indian agriculture for its natural insecticide properties, this VO is also used to fight bacteria, fungi and parasites. It is a vegetable oil rich in oleic acid and is widely used in cosmetics. We can often find it in the composition of anti-lice shampoos or in mosquito repellent lotions. Furthermore, it has positive effects on problem skins, and more precisely on acne skins.
The Neem, belongs to the family of Melias, Azadirachta indica, whose meaning translates as free and independent tree, is a sacred tropical tree that can live up to 200 years, in poor soil, resisting droughts and most harmful insects. This tree can reach thirty meters in height and over two meters in circumference in India. It is considered a universal panacea because all its parts have therapeutic virtues. Some sacred Hindu texts call it “the village pharmacy”, since it heals a great number of infections.
Mini identity card of Neem oil
- Manufacture: The oil is extracted by cold pressure of the almond inside the kernel of the yellow fruit that grows on the Melia tree Azadirachta (or Azadirachta indica).
- Sensitivity to oxidation: stable, keeps well.
- Profile: Pasty oil of a brownish colour. The oil can solidify under 25 degrees but this does not alter its quality. To liquefy the oil all that is needed is to hold the bottle under tepid water. The oil should never be heated above 60 degrees C.
- Penetrating to the touch.
- Usage: agriculture or cosmetic, almost always in dilution.
- Perfume: bitter and strong, resembles the smell of sulphur and garlic.
Composition in fatty acides
- mono unsaturated: 45% to 48% of oleic acid (Omega9)
- poly unsaturated: 11% to 12% of linoleic acid (Omega6)
- saturated: 28% to 30% of palmitic acid, 6% to 8% of stearic acid, 0,5 % arachidic.
THE UNBELIEVABLE PROPERTIES OF NEEM OIL
Neem oil can be used in a number of situations for man, beast or plant.
Neem oil in cosmetics
Beware, because of it very strong and powerful smell, it is necessary to dilute it to a percentage of 20% within another oil or in vegetable butter, be it for the body, the face or the hair.
For the skin
– mature skin: antioxidant action. Rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and carotenoids, Neem oil fights signs of ageing by softening wrinkles and fine lines, while at the same time regenerating the skin itself by improving its elasticity.
– nail mycosis, cutaneous mycosis or athlete’s foot, the Neem oil is an antifungal agent that helps destroy the fungus causing the infection.
– acne: its antibacterial and antiseptic properties help protect the skin against the start of imperfections that become infected and lead to pimples. It purifies the skin deep down and helps the healing process thus getting rid of lesions. By eliminating the impurities and bacteria responsible for the imperfections, it leaves the skin clean and smooth.
Mix 8 ml of Neem oil + 2 ml of Tea Tree EO and apply locally (directly on the pimple or pimples)
– eczema and psoriasis: anti-inflammatory action: apply the oil directly onto the skin or add a few drops in the bath water.
– dry or sensitive skin: it softens the skin, soothes irritations, hydrates deep down and reduces tugging. Mix it with almond oil to increase the nutrition element.
– dull complexion: add a few drops of rose essential oil to lighten the complexion and give it back its freshness.
Apply regularly on the roots, mixing it with coconut oil or almond oil for example, it will beautify your hair immediately. By restoring the hair’s pH it lessens itches, prevents dandruff, enhances hair growth and strengthens the roots.
–dandruff or oily roots, use Neem oil as a mask once a week. Apply the oil on the scalp by massaging it gently, then wrap a towel around the head and leave it for an hour. Follow it by a gentle shampoo.
-yellow, soft or brittle nails: to strengthen nails and give them back their colour, mix Neem oil with lemon EO.
–healthy teeth and gums: add once in a while a little drop of Neem oil to your toothpaste. It will cleanse your mouth if you often suffer from mouth sores, gingivitis or bad breath. In India, it is common practice to chew a small sprig of Neem rather than using a toothbrush. Beware, the very bitter taste is not pleasant but the outcome is worth it.
–lice: very well known for getting rid of lice for all heads, it is also reputed for cleansing the scalp deep down. Its efficiency in that regard is strongly backed by the scientific study of shampoos found in commercial outlets that contain Neem oil. Only a few minutes suffice to reduce significantly the number of lice on the scalp.
Apply Neem oil all over the hair or mix it with your shampoo. Massage the head and leave it for 30 minutes. Comb through with a fine comb, then rinse and shampoo again. The lice will have been smothered and the nits killed. Repeat this every day until all lice have gone. You can add Super Lavandin EO for greater efficiency.
Useful for plants and animals
Neem oil protects humans, animals and plants. In India it is one of the most widely used plants. The name Neem is derived from the Sanskrit Nimbati Swastyamdadati. It means, that « which brings good health ».
Neem oil is biodegradable and shows no resistance to insects while at the same time being very cheap. It can be used in organic agriculture because it is a natural insecticide that will protect plants from parasites while being safe for humans, animals and useful insects. It can be used on plants at any time of the year.
Repulsive, it keeps away insects and parasites from your plants. Use it in a spray or put it on the leaves of plants. With only one litre of oil, you will obtain 50 litres of spraying product.
Protection for animals
Neem oil can be used on animals to keep away parasites or to treat infected skin (ticks or fleas). This oil is most suitable for cats, dogs and also horses. In general it is used dilutes to 1/10th or a little more depending on the situation.
If ticks or fleas are present and visible, you can also apply Neem oil directly onto the infected zones and leave it for one hour. Follow this with rinsing and a gentle shampoo with lots of water.
Gardening and agriculture
Neem oil is used worldwide in the protection of plants (trees and vegetables included) and allows a good yield of production.
Dilute 20 to 30 ml of Neem oil in a litre of water. Stir and spray on the vegetation once a week in the most vulnerable period of growth.
Neem oil: effective against insects
Neem vegetable oil is recognised as being an effective repellent against insects, parasites and mites, be it for Man, animal or vegetable.
Its repellent action works also on mosquitoes and inhibits the growth and development of larvae.
Neem oil: insecticide
Neem oil has a repellent role and is anti-mites with: ants, cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, sand flies, termites and their larvae, mites and bed bugs.
Spraying couches, beds, mattresses, blankets and duvets with Neem oil.
Application: a few drops on the affected areas.
Anti-mite spray: if you don’t like being covered in oil, you can also dilute Neem oil in alcohol or in water. That way you will obtain a repellent anti-insect spray. This spray can be used on the skin as well as on material and travelling bedclothes. For a greater efficiency, add lemongrass, geranium or eucalyptus citriodora EO to the spray.
Neem oil as insect repellent
When rubbed onto the skin, Neem oil will keep away: mosquitoes, fleas, stinging flies and ticks because of its sulphuric odour.
Repellent oil for the body: mix 10 ml of Neem oil in 90 ml of another more neutral vegetable oil and take it with you in a spray bottle.
This solution is very efficient against mosquitoes, but also against ticks and flies!
Neem oil should be mixed with another vegetable oil for most type of applications in order to dilute it.
Applied locally, it can soothe and/or heal almost everything.
Inversely, it is preferable not to ingest it, at the peril of being the victim of many gastric unpleasant reactions.
It should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by very young children.
Important: Using it orally, Neem oil can only be ingested if done within the context of a medical treatment strictly supervised and upon the recommendations of a professional carer.
Indeed, Neem vegetable oil can be toxic for the kidneys, the liver and dangerous for the heart when taken orally, in large quantities and long term.