Neem is a member of the mahogany family, Meliaceae. Its scientific name is ‘Azadirachta indica’ and the tree native to India. In Sanskrit, neem is arista, which means something that is perfect, imperishable and complete. This Latinized name comes from the Persian words: ‘Azad’ meaning ‘free’, ‘dirakht’ meaning ‘tree’, and ‘i-Hind’ meaning ‘of Indian origin’. So, this word means the ‘free tree of India’.
This evergreen tree grows to a height ranging from about 50 to 120 feet. The special feature of this tree is that it can grow in arid regions with little rainfall. So, its ability to withstand drought makes it ideal for the world we live in today.
This sacred tree is much revered for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat various ailments since prehistoric times. Not only its leaves, but the tree’s seeds, roots and bark also contain important compounds that have many medicinal and beauty properties. The tree is supposed to denote ‘good health’ in our Ayurveda.
Neem is best known for its anti-aging properties. Due to its antioxidant properties, neem protects the skin from harmful UV rays, pollution and other environmental factors. The vitamins and fatty acids in neem improve and maintain the elasticity of the skin, reduce wrinkles and fine lines. This make you and your skin look rejuvenated and youthful.
Neem is also beneficial in fighting against fungal infection. Its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties keep the harmful bacteria and fungi at bay. Thus, it protects the skin and keeps the skin related diseases away.
Neem Bark/Chhal has antiseptic and astringent properties, which helps in healing wounds. The extracts made from neem bark have antioxidant properties. It also acts as a coolant. The bark is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases, pain, and fever.
If you were born in India, you would have seen people chew away at a neem twig. For many years now, a neem twig is what people used as a make-do toothbrush. It fights germs, maintains the alkaline levels in your saliva, keeps bacteria at bay, treats swollen gums and also gives you whiter teeth. The twig also shreds into threads, almost like bristles that also destroy and prevent plaque.
It also serves as Insect repellant. Early research suggests that applying extract of neem root or leaf to the skin helps repels black flies. Also, applying neem oil cream to the skin seems to protect against some types of mosquitos. It is known to cure Ulcers. Some research suggests that taking 30-60 mg of neem bark extract twice daily by mouth for 10 weeks helps heal stomach and intestinal ulcers. Neem bark contains anti-inflammatory compounds that decrease the acid-forming enzymes as well as the gastric acid secretion. Thus, Neem helps to reduce gastric acid damage. Neem extract also helps to increase the level of gastric mucus, which helps in the prevention of gastric ulcers
It also treats Psoriasis. Early research suggests that taking neem extract by mouth for 12 weeks, along with daily sun exposure and the application of a coal tar and salicylic acid cream, reduces the severity of psoriasis symptoms in people.
Neem Bark Powder also promotes skin health by encouraging natural skin rejuvenation, healthy turnover, and maintaining optimal moisture levels. It supports digestive health and healthy metabolism with its naturally soothing properties that rekindle the digestive fire while maintaining Pitta levels.
Other than that, Aqueous extract of Neem bark acts as a potent inhibitor of the virus entry as well as its attachment to the target cells. Thus, Neem bark extract is known to have potent antiviral activity against Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV).