Wonders of Neem: All You Need to Know
Neem bark – What is it?
Neem bark is taken from the neem tree which predominately grows in India and Asia. Neem bark can be used just off the tree or can be freeze dried or ground into a fine powder for use at a later date. Neem bark has been utilized for centuries by the Indian and Asian cultures to treat numerous medical illnesses, prevent pregnancy and also as a potent pesticide.
How does it work?
In Ayurvedic literature neem is described in the following manner: ‘Neem bark is cool, bitter, astringent, acrid and refrigerant. It is useful in tiredness, cough, fever, loss of appetite, worm infestation. It heals wounds and vitiated conditions of kapha, vomiting, skin diseases, excessive thirst, and diabetes. Neem leaves are reported to be beneficial for eye disorders and insect poisons. It treats Vatik disorder. It is anti-leprotic. It’s fruits are bitter, purgative, anti-hemorrhoids and anthelmintic’.
It is claimed that neem provides an answer to many incurable diseases. Traditionally neem products have been used against a wide variety of diseases which include heat-rash, boils, wounds, jaundice, leprosy, skin disorders, stomach ulcers, chicken pox, etc. Modern research also confirms neem’s curative powers in case of many diseases and provides indications that neem might in future be used much more widely.
Ways of using Neem and its benefits
1. Uses of Neem Bark:
The Neem bark has cool, bitter, and astringent properties. It is traditionally used to treat tiredness, Kapha dosha imbalance, worms, fever and loss of appetite. Because of its antiseptic and astringent properties, it is especially helpful in healing wounds.
Probably the most common use of Neem bark is to clean the teeth. The traditional method is to snap off a twig of the tree and chew on it. The astringent qualities of the bark prevented bleeding gums, tooth decay and foul smell long before the advent of toothpaste.
2. The Magical Neem Leaf:
Neem leaf is famous in ayurvedic texts for having an almost magical effect on the skin. It works as an antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory agent. It is effective in treating eczema, ringworm and acne. Traditional methods include crushing the leaves into a paste and applying directly to wounds, ulcers or skin diseases.
Neem leaf has both pungent and astringent tastes. According to Maharishi Ayurveda, the Neem leaf is especially useful in balancing Vata disorders. It removes ama and other toxins from the body, purifies the blood, and neutralizes damaging free radicals. It is nourishing to the hair (keshya).
Neem leaf is also revered for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Even today in India, people sprinkle fresh Neem leaf near the beds of patients with flu or fever, and hang a cluster of leaves on the door outside. The air that crosses the neem leaf is purified of viruses and bacteria, helping to disinfect the room and prevent the spread of disease.
3. Traditional Uses of Neem Oil
The oil is derived by crushing the seeds. Like the leaves, Neem oil is used to treat skin problems. It is especially effective in treating head lice and dandruff, and creates a purifying effect when used in aromatherapy.
Fortunately, you can enjoy the benefits of Neem oil, bark and leaves even if you don’t have a Neem tree growing in your front yard! Here are some simple ways to use Neem for your teeth, skin and hair.
- NeemFlowersMost parts of the neem tree are awfully bitter, with the exception of its flowers. White and delicate, neem flowers with their off-white buds are almost too pretty to be eaten and unbelievably therapeutic. The flowers have a sweet, almost mystical jasmine like scent at night and blossom once in the afternoon and then again in the evening. During the monsoon, you’ll see a bunch of them scattered right under the tree. Also known as Vepampoo in Tamil, these neem flowers can be used fresh, dried or in a powdered form. They’re used commonly in the South to cook a number of dishes: flower rice, pachadi, rasam, lentils and more. They’re often dry roasted and sprinkled on top of the dish to garnish as well. Neem flowers can be used to treat anorexia, nausea, belching and intestinal worms. Ayurveda suggests neem leaves are good for the eyes and useful in treating skin disease and headaches. They’re used in aromatherapy because of their calming effect. A 2008 study also found the alcoholic extract of the neem flowers to be an effective contraceptive.
Where do you get it from?
The best option is to extract the bark from a neem tree itself but it is also available on online retail stores like Amazon and iHerb.
Author: IshitaGoyal (Yoddhas Ambassador)
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