Neem is seen everywhere in India – it’s actually listed under some of the most common trees in the country and is known as "The Free Tree of India". Since ancient times, this wonderful tree has been used in several authentic ayurvedic formulations while the modern science is unveiling its efficacy in curing several ailments. One of the holy trees in Indian culture, Neem has been used in many forms and is known by the name Arista in Sanskrit - meaning perfect, imperishable and complete.
Neem Leaves - Excellent Ayurvedic Herb for your Skin!
Also called the Margosa, the evergreen Neem tree is hailed as a medicinal haven and revered for its healing capabilities. The benefits of the tree are many: the bark, seed, flowers, roots, and twigs are all popularly used to make remedies for bodily disorders. Speaking exclusively of the leaf, they have superb antibacterial and disease-preventing properties.
Straight from the tree, the small Neem leaves are extremely bitter to taste, but are considered safe to take on a regular or daily basis: it’s quite common to see people chewing on them. In the thousands of years that people across India have been taking neem, there have never been any reports of negative side effects from leaves. Neem leaves, which show the most medicinal characteristics out of all the parts of the tree, exhibit antimalarial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anticarcinogenic properties. They can be used to treat eye disorders, bloody nose, stomach upset, skin ulcers, diabetes, gum disease and liver problems. And that’s not even the half of it!
Neem leaves for skincare:
Neem leaves are accepted by all as a godsend for internal ailments, but they can treat the skin as well! This wonder leaf has antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it an extremely popular ingredient in face washes, moisturizers, and face creams. Have you ever seen lotions and other skin products with a slight tinge to them? Well, that probably means they contain neem leaves.
- Lightens dark circles: Neem helps in reducing pigmentation while also acting as a moisturising agent. Applying neem paste to the affected areas can help reduce dark patches.
- Clears acne: Using neem water as a skin toner regularly will help in clearing acne, scars, and blackheads.
- Evens Skin Tone: Neem leaves are packed with antioxidants that are extremely beneficial in reducing melanin production, evening out skin tones.
- Treats oily skin: Neem helps in controlling excess oil production.
- Delays skin aging: Neem is an excellent skin toner that helps to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. With its regenerative properties, Neem helps the skin fight pathogens below its surface. As a result, the skin remains supple and smooth.
- Treats Skin Infections: Neem has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Neem paste for skin treats various types of diseases, such as eczema.
- Exfoliation: Neem leaves are good exfoliators. Using them as a scrub can help in the removal of dead skin cells.
- Moisturizes skin: Yes, while neem helps to control disease, it also acts as a good moisturizer for dry skin. A paste made from neem leaves rehydrates the skin, helping the skin remain soft and silky.
Properties of Neem leaves: Neem leaves contain bioflavonoids such as quercetin, as well as beneficial carotenes and ascorbic acid. They are rich in antioxidants, and the leaf and its constituents have immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antifungal, antibacterial, and antimutagenic properties. The Neem tree contains an array of biologically active compounds that are chemically diverse. More than 130 compounds have been isolated from different parts of the tree.
The uses and benefits of the Neem tree and its parts are truly so diverse that it puts every other tree to shame, for every single part of the tree, from the tips of each leaf to the depths of its roots, have a use.
Besides its many benefits to the skin, Neem leaves can also be used to treat the scalp, improve digestion, boost the immune system, and improve oral health (if you’ve ever seen people chewing on Neem twigs, now you know why). Because the leaves contain carotenes, they can also improve vision.
The bark of the Neem is used for the treatment of malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases, and fever. The flower, which is light-colored and small, still packs quite a punch: it is used for reducing bile, controlling phlegm, and treating intestinal worms. The stem, root bark, and fruit are used as a tonic and astringent. Beyond this, Neem oil is even used as a popular insecticide.
Neem leaves in Ayurveda:
Neem has been popularly used in Ayurveda for centuries as one of its most potent medicinal ingredients. Herbal remedies made from the tree's leaves, seeds, fruit, and bark have always been a mainstay of Ayurvedic healing practices and have traditionally been used against malaria, wounds, and skin diseases.
This large, rather plain-looking tree that can be found even the backyards of many Indian homes today, clearly can be used to treat almost anything. With each of its parts that can cause miraculous effects on our bodies, the benefits of the Neem are unparalleled and there is no doubt that there is more to be uncovered.
Truly, the Neem tree is practically a storehouse of medicine, begging the question: is there anything it doesn’t cure?