Neem oil comes from the neem tree, and is used in organic gardening, natural medicine, and dentistry. It is often used as an ingredient in body lotions and toothpaste. Twigs from the neem tree can be chewed, and the ends used as an effective toothbrush. The oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties, and is a natural insect repellent.
People in India and Pakistan have been using neem oil medicinally for centuries. It has been used to treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, allergic dermatitis, and other skin conditions. Neem is effective in treating skin problems because it reduces inflammation and can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It can also reduce the pain and itching caused by scratches and insect bites.
The neem seed is composed of 50% oil and contains emollients, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. These moisturizing properties make it a popular ingredient in skin creams and lotions. It is also used in soaps, cosmetics, and hair care products.
Neem oil and leaves contain a compound called salannin that is more effective than DEET and other chemicals used in insect repellents. It is also safer. The oil has a strong odor that repels insects, and is similar to garlic. It is a popular ingredient in natural insect repellents, and is usually blended with citronella and other scented oils to mask its unpleasant odor.
Azadirachtin is an ingredient in neem oil that inhibits insect reproduction by preventing the larvae from maturing into the next phase of their growth. Organic gardeners often use the oil in a spray to control aphids, mealy bugs, Japanese beetles, and locusts. Neem oil spray is also effective against spider mites, scales, and white flies. Its fungicidal properties make it an efficacious control for powdery mildew.
The oil has a bitter taste, so insects will starve before eating leaves and fruit that have been sprayed with it. Neem is nontoxic to bees and earthworms. It is also harmless to mammals and birds. Neem is biodegradable, breaking down quickly into harmless components. These qualities make neem oil a good choice as a pesticide for organic farmers, gardeners, and people who grow houseplants.
Neem oil is considered by some to play an important role in dental health. Studies have shown that its antimicrobial properties are effective in the treatment of periodontal disease. They have also shown that neem oil can help prevent cavities, reduce plaque, and freshen one’s breath.