Neem is one of the best natural ingredients available, yet it’s one of the least popular in the western world. Neem is used in over 75 percent of Ayurvedic medicine and has been for thousands of years. Also known as Indian lilac, it’s a tropical evergreen native to India and in some parts of the Middle East. The scientific name is Azadirachta Indica and it is a member of the mahogany family. The leaves of a neem tree will drop quickly when there’s drought in order to protect the rest of the tree, and this makes it extremely resilient in harsher climates.
The leaves, seeds, flowers, oil and bark of the neem tree can be used in many ways and each has countless health benefits. These include boosting the immune system, detoxifying the body, supporting gastric health, treating fungal infections, and effectively preventing halitosis. Not only is it loved for its medicinal properties, it’s also a tea, a garnish for many dishes, an insecticide, a detoxifier, and even a contraceptive.
Here are 10 ways neem will benefit your hair and skin.
1. Combats Dandruff
Dandruff is a condition of the scalp where the skin becomes dry and begins to flake off. It’s experienced by an estimated 50 percent of adults but is more common in men than women. Though the exact cause of dandruff is unknown, it’s generally agreed that most cases are caused by poor hygiene and neglectful haircare like not brushing or shampooing often enough. Pregnant women can also experience dandruff due to a rise in hormones.
There are various ways to treat dandruff. However, a lot of the chemical-based anti-dandruff shampoos and conditioners on the market can actually dry out the scalp and exacerbate the problem. Most of these treatments contain active ingredients like selenium sulfide, coal tar, salicylic acid and ketoconazole, but if you’d prefer a natural way to solve any dandruff problems then neem oil is a great place to start.
You can use neem oil to treat dandruff. Neem oil is a yellowy-brown, bitter-tasting oil that is used widely in many other products like toothpaste, cosmetics, and even pet shampoos. It’s a suitable dandruff treatment due to its antifungal properties. You can make your own neem shampoo at home by adding a ½ teaspoon of neem oil to your normal shampoo. For a stronger treatment, mix it with a carrier oil like coconut and massage it into your scalp. Highly concentrated neem oil can be too strong when not diluted, so don’t apply it directly to your scalp without mixing it first.
Neem leaves are also useful to treat dandruff. Boil a handful of neem leaves in water to make a paste that you can apply to your scalp as an intensive treatment. Add honey or coconut oil to the paste to further condition your hair. You should feel relief from the itching and flaking that occurs with dandruff, and because neem is completely natural, you can use it as often as necessary.