Do you know that the bitter leaves of the neem have healing powers? For ages, neem is used for treating several ailments due to its anti-viral and antibacterial properties.
By Monali Bordoloi
Pari Mukherjee, a bubbly college-going girl, is facing an issue that every teen faces once in a while - acne. She loves the outdoors and never misses an opportunity to go for a trek or a hike. However, these days, she is suffering from acne and skin breakouts which have caused her to stay indoors most of the time. Pari has been trying various creams, lotions, and face washes. But, the problem persists.
One day, Pair's grandmother notices her problem and suggests an inexpensive and effective remedy - Neem. Now, the regular use of neem paste has considerably reduced the acne problem of Pari and has left her skin free from eruptions and blemishes.
Neem leaves have multiple uses. In fact, all parts of the neem tree are used in various herbal preparations. From diabetes to dandruff, the neem leaves are said to have a cure for all. According to Dr Gowthaman Krishnamoorthy, a leading Ayurveda specialist of Chennai, "Neem is one of the most versatile plants. It can boost our immunity to fight infections. Ayurveda says neem is excellent in taking care of ailments occurring because of excess pitta dosha.”
He adds, “Patients suffering from chickenpox are recommended to sleep on neem leaves. These leaves are known to neutralise insects, mites and ticks. Neem is also used for blood purification.”
Neem leaves have anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, neem oil works very well in treating pain from arthritis. Neem oil or paste when applied to aching joints and muscles caused by arthritis, works very well. Neem oil massage can significantly reduce pain and discomfort in arthritis patients. Regular application can even increase flexibility in such patients.
It is said that the consumption of neem leaves lowers the sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes include it in their food to check their blood glucose level. Regular consumption of neem leaves also delay the onset of diabetes in high-risk individuals. The chemical components of neem optimise insulin receptor function in the body and ensure that it is receiving appropriate amounts of insulin.
Neem leaves can destroy the bacteria that causes skin infections. This antibacterial property of neem makes it an excellent remedy for all kinds of skin problems. The paste of the neem leaves can be used to treat mild skin diseases like eczema, ringworms and itching. The paste also helps to treat dark spots on skin and in eruptions. Neem contains an astringent, which helps in skin tightening and thus delays the onset of wrinkles and ageing.
Neem oil and extracts are commonly used in shampoos and soaps because of its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Neem acts as a tonic for hair, its antioxidant content strengthens the hair and eliminates dandruff. Neem also helps in keeping the skin hydrated. Neem paste on the scalp is also used to lice infestation in school-going kids.
A mixture made of neem leaves is used to soothe eye troubles like irritation, tiredness and redness.
Neem improves the gums as it removes tooth decay and treats gingivitis. Neem extract is used extensively in mouthwashes and toothpaste as the antibacterial properties of neem helps in treating periodontal disease and bad breath (halitosis.) Brushing your teeth with neem twigs also strengthens the gums and removes the bacteria from the gums. Neem twig can also treat swollen gums and regular brushing gives you whiter teeth.
Neem also helps in eliminating toxins from the body by stimulating the liver and the kidneys. By eliminating toxins, neem can optimise the metabolic activities of the body.
Neem has proved to be beneficial in treating inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Reducing inflammation there helps in treating ulcers and a wide range of other intestinal issues, like constipation, bloating and cramping. To treat stomach flu and infection, neem could be safely used.
Neem acts as a natural mosquito and insect repellent. The best part is that neem is a non-toxic mosquito repellent.
Neem is used to kill parasites in the stomach. For long, neem leaves are in use as deworming food. The main advantage of neem as de-worming food is that it not only kills the parasites, but it also removes the toxins that parasites leave behind.
Dr Gowthaman Krishnamoorthy shares some ways of using neem.
With inputs from Dr Gowthaman Krishnamoorthy, managing director, Shree Varma Ayurveda Hospitals, Chennai.
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