Neem oil is cold pressed from the neem tree, which grows in India. The medicinal properties of the neem tree have been well known to the people of India and Pakistan for thousands of years, although it is little known in the west.
Neem has broad applications to human and animal health, as well as organic farming. Neem is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial. But, it has peculiarities that set it apart from other herbs in that class of broad antimicrobials.
Perhaps, its most common use in India is in dental applications. There it is sometimes called “the toothbrush tree,” because it is common for people to pull a twig off of the neem tree, chew the end to form “bristles” and use the twig as a highly effective toothbrush. In the west, neem is added to toothpaste. Although, it tastes as bad as it smells, a small dab of neem oil on sore or injured gums can heal them almost over night.
Neem oil is also commonly added to a variety of creams and salves. It is effective against a broad spectrum of skin diseases including eczema, psoriasis, dry skin, wrinkles, rashes and dandruff. A few drops can be added to hand healing salves and shampoo.
One of the most interesting uses for neem oil is as a birth control method for men. A study was conducted using married Indian soldiers. Several drops of neem oil were placed in a capsule and swallowed by the soldiers once per day. The neem oil did not take effect until after three months, but the results were 100% effective in preventing contraception with no side effects.
It has also been shown to be effective as a powerful spermicide. Neem oil is an ingredient in some spermicidal products. Neem does not work on the hormones, but rather it works to inhibit the flagellation of the sperm, rendering them incapable of reaching an ovum.
Neem oil is highly effective as a mosquito repellent. Because of its unpleasant smell, it is best when it is added to a formula with other essential oils, such as citronella.
Neem oil is an effective and environmentally safe pesticide when it is diluted and sprayed on crops through irrigation systems. It is a healthier alternative to artificial chemical pesticides. Neem oil does not harm the soil and it increases yields.
A comprehensive book on the subject, entitled “Neem, The Ultimate Herb,” by John Conrick, provides more information about the grades of neem oil available, how it is processed and more applications.
Sister Zeus, “Neem and Birth Control.” http://www.sisterzeus.com/neem.html
Riar, S.S. Sawhney, R.C., Llavazhagan, G., Roy, J.B., Kain, A.K., Thomas, P. Singh, R. Singh, B. Devakaumar, C. Singh, M., & Sawheny, R.C. (1993) Neem as a contraceptive. Proceedings of the World Neem Conference, Bangalore, India. Feb. 34-28, 1993.
Conrick, John. Neem, The Ultimate Herb., Lotus Press, WI. 2001.