Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Neem Oil - Ingredient Breakdown of a Stank that Keeps on Giving


Neem Oil
Botanical Name
Azadirachta indica
Color
Neem oil varies in color from a yellowish green to a dark greenish brown.
Scent
Neem oil has an extremely pungent, unique scent; usually I describe neem oil as smelling like a dumpster full of rancid Thai food and garlicky diapers. You either grow to not mind it or hate it so much you can’t use it. Personally, I don’t mind it [and you can cover it pretty well with vaseline].
Consistency
Neem oil is slightly thicker than an average plant oil and it solidifies as it becomes colder [returning to its liquid state at temperatures around 85 F° / 29 C°]. Neem oil does not absorb easily into the skin.

Lauric acid
N/A
Linolenic Acid
N/A
Linoleic Acid
6 - 17%
Oleic Acid
25 - 58%
Palmitic Acid
16 - 34%
Stearic Acid
6 - 24%
Arachidic acid
> 3%
Polyphenols
None; however, neem oil contains numerous powerful triterpenoids [metabolites with potential disease prevention and treatment properties]. Some triterpenoids in neem oil are azadirachtin and nimbin.
Concerns
While often marketed as an insecticide, neem oil is not toxic to humans and other mammals. If consumed in large quantities, neem oil can cause intestinal distress. As with any topically applied product, YMMV- it’s possible that using neem oil could cause skin irritation, acne, contact dermatitis, rashes or more. So be sure to patch test.
Price Range
$5 - 10
[in US dollars; based on a 4 ounce bottle]
Shelf Life
Up to 2 years

History of Neem

Neem has been an indispensible part of Indian life for centuries. The latin name for the neem tree, Azadirachta indica, comes from the Persian name Azad dirakht i – Hind and means “the free tree of India.” The word neem itself is derived from Sanskrit Nimba which means ‘bestower of good health’. This is due to the tremendous medicinal benefits of the tree- either from its bark, leaves, or oil.

Siddha medicine is one of the oldest medical systems known to mankind and is believed to be over 10,000 years old. In this traditional medicine system, all parts of the neem tree have been used to fight various ailments with the first recorded documentation of neem’s use appearing roughly 4,500 years ago. Throughout this time, neem has remained a staple of medicinal treatment in Indian culture.

At the start of the century, neem plants maintained their prestige within the community. As a result, as Indian immigrants began to settle in new areas, they took neem trees with them and planted them in their newly founded communities. Due to the neem tree’s ability to grow quickly, they began to rapidly spread and can now be found spanning from the Indian subcontinent to Asia, Africa, and South America.

Today, research on the medicinal properties of neem have increased massively. And the neem tree plays a large role in various agricultural industries in Senegal, Haiti, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and more.

Benefits of Neem oil

Topically, neem oil: is antibacterial, can provide relief from eczema lesions, inhibits inflammation, stimulates wound healing, is antimicrobial and antifungal, and restores and conditions skin.

Neem oil is a fantastic product for troubled skin, specifically acne. Its antibacterial properties allow for powerful, yet gentle acne prevention while its anti-inflammatory properties work to minimize current acne spots and skin irritation. The high percentage of fatty acids creates an environment that promotes wound healing and improves skin’s natural moisture barrier- an important quality for those with skin trouble/acne as a compromised moisture barrier creates a hostile environment for skin health. Finally, emollient properties inherent to oils condition the skin: neem oil’s thicker viscosity greatly decreases skin roughness, creating smooth and supple skin.

Neem oil also improves psoriasis patches and rosacea thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Some research also notes that neem oil is effective against viral concerns like herpes outbreaks or fungal concerns like ringworm [but see a doctor to properly treat these conditions].

In hair care, neem oil based shampoos have been successful in eradicating head lice and treating dandruff. Using neem oil neat on hair as a leave-in is something I’d advise against though- it smells horrendous and it’s not capable of penetrating into the hair. However, using it as a scalp oil treatment before shampooing can improve overall scalp health [reducing itching, acne, irritation, and so on].

As an interesting side note, it was found that intravaginal application of neem oil prior to coitus can prevent pregnancy. Some research also indicates that neem oil works to combat sexually transmitted diseases. But I super, ultra, mega-mega do not under any circumstances recommend putting neem oil neat inside your vagina. Love yourself, honey. Just use condoms.

Products containing Neem

Where you can buy pure neem oil

New Directions Aromatics [my personal favorite supplier]
If you’re looking to buy in store, you should also be able to find neem oil at your local crunchy hippie grocery store [like Whole Foods or Sprouts].


Have you tried neem oil before? Leave your experiences below in the doobly doo! 

10 comments:

  1. I didn't know that neem oil can be that powerful. Thanks, another information added on me.


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