Neem Oil: Side Effects, Contraindications, Benefits And Uses

The neem tree belongs to the Meliaceae family , whose origin comes from India and Burma; grows in tropical areas; it perfectly resists times of drought and adapts to both arid and sub-humid areas. Of the parts that make up the neem tree, the bark, seeds and leaves are used in the medicinal area.

What is neem oil?

Neem oil is a substance that is extracted from the seeds and fruits of the neem tree. Of the neem derivatives, the oil is considered the most commercialized due to its medicinal properties and agricultural uses.

Origin of neem oil

Neem oil is native to India and Burma (South Asia).

History of neem oil

It is one of the plants most used since ancient times in Ayurvedic medicine (the most important alternative medicine for the internal health and external beauty of the human being) , for more than 4000 years.

In India it has been used as a condiment for spicy foods, both the seeds, leaves and fruits; as well as they are consumed after meals to facilitate digestion and avoid bad breath.

Neem oil was used since ancient times, to strengthen the body, cure diseases and infections in the skin, as well as prevent pregnancy; the shamans called it ” the village pharmacy.”

Due to the medicinal properties provided by the use of this by-product, it has been called.

At the present time, more exhaustive studies are being carried out on the properties that this substance contributes to health, such as preventing cancer.

Neem oil characteristics

Neem oil has a dark brown (ocher) appearance, with a characteristic and very strong smell, similar to that of garlic or peanuts, bitter taste, thanks to the triterpenoid compounds and triglycerides.

In its natural state it cannot be bound with water (hydrophobic), to use it together with water it must be applied with suitable surfactants.

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Neem oil scientific name

Neem oil is known by the scientific name Azadirachta Indica, it is also known by the name of lilac indica or neem, margosa.

Whose name means “free tree of India”

Chemical composition of neem oil

Within the chemical composition of neem oil are plant sterols and essential fatty acids; as well as Azadirachtin, a limonoid that is used to repel insects, as well as acting as a bactericide; Linoleic acid (6-16%) (Omega-6) and Omega-9 oleic acid (25-54%), hexadecanoic acid (16-33%), octadecanoic acid (9-24%), Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid; steroids (campesterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol

How is neem oil extracted?

For the extraction of neem oil, three methods have been used:

The first method, which was used since ancient times, consists of cold pressing; The dry seeds are placed in a container and with the help of an object pressure is exerted on the seeds, until the oil is released, which is light in color and with a less intense odor.

The second method of extraction is at high pressure and steam, where the seeds are heated by means of steam, in order to soften the oil, then it is crushed at high pressure; a dark-colored and very fragrant oil is obtained, but certain active principles are lost due to the heat produced by the steam.

And the third method, is considered the most modern, is the extraction through solvents, it is the most used in the cosmetic area, in order to obtain as much oil as possible; that is, the ground seeds are placed inside a container containing some type of solvent (hexane derived from petroleum), later, it is placed inside a device specially, to remove the oil, of a lighter color.

On some occasions, from that mixture that remains, another little neem oil is extracted.

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Active ingredient of neem oil

The active principle of neem oil is azadirachtin , it is a characteristic tetraterpenoid of plants that belong to the Meliaceae family, as well as salanin and meliantrol, nimbolide and nimbine, nimbidinic acid.

The neem fruit is where the highest concentration of essential oils is found, which is why they provide a large amount of vitamins, mineral salts and proteins.

Recommended dose of neem oil

The recommended daily dose for the use of neem oil is 1 to 2 capsules, exceeding this dose can cause side effects.

Neem oil uses and benefits

Among the different uses that have been given to neem oil are:

  • In the food kitchen.
  • In the manufacture of cosmetics (soaps, body creams, hair products, body creams, hand creams, toothpaste.
  • As an insecticide for plant care, and insect repellent.
  • In natural medicine it is used in antihistamine treatments, against acne, leprosy, malaria, antiseptic, diuretic, emmenagogue, parasiticide, urticaria, tetanus.
  • Among the routes of uses and application that are given to neem oil are, oral, topical and vagina.

Among the benefits given to neem oil are aimed at skin infections, it is therapeutic due to its anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties, preventing the action of bacteria on the hair and skin: acne, hair, fungi, vaginal infections.

  • Offers benefits for good dental health.
  • Helps fight cancer.
  • It works against gastric ulcers.

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What are the benefits for the face and acne?

Neem oil for its properties in carotenes, antioxidants, protects the skin of the face from environmental damage and free radicals, preventing the early appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dry skin.

In relation to acne, it acts as an antibacterial, because it helps to eliminate the bacteria that are hosted on the surface of the skin and cause inflammation, formation of pimples, pimples or breakage of the skin, as well as soothe irritation and redness of the skin.

Due to its fatty acid content, it acts against acne scars, making it less noticeable, giving the skin a healthier appearance.

Is it good for skin and wrinkles?

Neem oil has among its active components, linoleic and oleic acids, apart from vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, nourishes and deeply hydrates the layers of the skin, preventing the formation of wrinkles and the appearance of fine lines.

It is an important ingredient in treatments against blemishes and skin depigmentation.

It prevents and acts against skin infections, due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, such as eczema, fungi and athlete’s foot. in addition to avoiding dryness and irritation.

The skin type must be taken into account, and an action test must be carried out to avoid possible adverse effects.

For more information on this topic, we invite you to read  Do you have Dry and Sensitive Skin? Learn the Causes and Treat it!

It has many properties for the hair

Neem oil is well known for hair care, because it conditions when it is dry and rough.

  • Helps in hair growth and promotes good health.
  • Repairs damaged or split hair, making it more manageable.
  • Controls the formation of dandruff and the premature appearance of gray hair.

Uses of neem oil against lice

Pijos are parasites that feed on blood, neem oil has bactericidal and antifungal properties, thanks to its insecticidal ingredient, azadirachtin, it fights the growth and reproduction of lice; In addition to the acrid smell that it has, it keeps them away, also eliminating the itching and burning.

It can be used applied in the daily use shampoo, or as a mask on the hair, combing it to facilitate removing the lice on the head.

Neem oil and pregnancy

Neem oil has abortifacient effects, due to its emmenagogue properties (accelerates bleeding) so its use during pregnancy is not recommended. Or otherwise, hinder the evolution of the pregnancy.

For more information, see our articles on  Miscarriage: Causes, Symptoms, Types and Possible Treatments

Can it be used while breastfeeding? Why?

There are no known beneficial effects of using neem oil while breastfeeding, so its use is not recommended while you are in this stage.

If its use is decided, it must be under strict medical supervision.

Is neem oil good for children?

It is considered not very suitable for use by children, because neem oil can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures or loss of consciousness, in some cases death.

Neem oil as an insecticide

Neem oil is used in the manufacture of insecticides, because due to its biological components such as azadiracta, it acts against insects, interrupting their life cycle.

Protect beneficial insects such as ladybugs or bees, since they do not eat the plant.

Provides strengthening and protection to the plant from bacteria and fungi, which interrupt its growth.

It is considered biodegradable, because it collaborates with the environment, because it does not leave residues and does not affect the formation of microorganisms, resistant fungi.

Neem oil contraceptive?

Due to its spermicidal properties, it is considered a natural contraceptive, because when applied before having sexual intercourse, it eliminates sperm and when used after sexual intercourse, it acts as the morning after pill.

In ancient times, to date, in India it is widely used by women, they place a cotton ball impregnated with neem oil inside the vagina for approximately 15 minutes and protect it from pregnancy.

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Cosmetic properties of neem oil

Thanks to its antioxidant properties, oleic acid and linoleic acid, neem oil is widely used for skin treatments, because it protects it and acts against aging, due to its components in fatty acids and vitamin E; improves skin elasticity, fights wrinkles and fine lines, as well as skin depigmentation.

  • It is useful against acne and psoriasis, controls skin redness and itching.
  • Helps hair health, because it controls dandruff, hair loss and excess oil.
  • It is widely used to treat fungus on the feet, nails, or any other fungus that affects the health of the skin.

It is an important component in the preparation of facial and body soaps, lotions, shampoos, ointments for the treatment of antifungals, toothpastes.

Medicinal properties of neem oil

Among the main active components that neem oil has, such as alkaloids, quercetin and nimbin, make this substance a great ally in natural medicine, which is why it has been considered as the blood purifier and major detoxifier of medicine. Ayurvedic natural .

Among the medicinal properties that are given to neem oil, are:

Antipyretic, antihistamine, spermicide, antiparasitic, antiseptic, body regulating tonic, febrifuge, vasodilator, immunostimulant, antifungal.

  • Helps regulate blood pressure.
  • Eliminate lice.
  • It fights cold sores, Candida albicans fungi , psoriasis, athlete’s foot.
  • It works in the relief of arthritis.
  • Provides hydration to scaly and dry skin.
  • Eliminates parasites that form in the digestive system.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Helps in hair health.
  • Combat the discomfort of stomach ulcers.
  • Insect bite relief.

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Serves for vitiligo

Vitiligo is a disease characterized by loss of skin color, depigmentation, due to the lack of melanocytes that give the skin its coor.

According to the hydration and moisture properties that neem oil provides, combined with the leaves and bark of the same plant, they help stop skin depigmentation.

Neem oil and cancer

Among the properties attributed to neem oil is that it strengthens the immune system, thereby helping to eliminate certain pathogenic compounds that affect the development of cancer.

In relation to prostate cancer, in a study it was determined that neem oil has a terpenoid bioactive component, called nimbolide, which could reduce prostate cancer and therefore metastasis by 70%; Likewise, the properties of neem oil include polysaccharides (limonoids), powerful components in reducing tumors and eliminating them.

These investigations have shown that neem oil offers anticancer benefits, due to its immunostimulating and suppressive properties, however, it requires much more research and human trials.

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Aromatherapy and neem oil

According to the different beneficial properties, neem oil affects the production of serotonin, so it can be used in aromatherapy to control levels of anxiety, depression and stress.

Agriculture and neem oil

The use that farmers and gardeners give to neem oil is as an insecticide and fungicide, in order to keep pests such as aphids, red spider or whitefly away.

This product, in the area of ​​agriculture, effectively protects crops from possible fungal infections such as mildew, powdery mildew and rust.

It acts as an ecological fertilizer, since it provides nutrients and nitrogen, which is distributed throughout the plant.

Contraindications and risks of neem oil

As for contraindications that the use of neem oil could present, people with hypersensitivity in the skin, it can cause allergies.

When used in the face area, avoid direct contact with the eyes, as it can cause irritability.

It is advisable to use neem oil in low doses, and to control the time of use, because it can cause side effects.

How to make homemade neem oil?

To make homemade neem oil, the following steps must be followed:

  1. Gently crush the dry seeds in a mortar, taking care not to crush the grains.
  2. Then, they are placed from a certain height in a container, which when the light shells fall will come off.
  3. Damaged or poisonous grains are removed, the rest is placed back in the mortar, pounded into a sticky paste.
  4. This dough is kneaded with the hands, filtered water is added to it.
  5. Knead enough until the oil sprouts or comes out.
  6. From 1 kg of neem seeds you can extract between 100 and 150 ml of neem oil.
  7. The seed paste that remains is saved, to be used as a natural fertilizer for plants, trees, or also, it is used as food to deworm animals, in a natural way.

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Veterinary uses of neem oil

The use of neem oil in the veterinary area is very useful for the protection and care of dogs, birds and any other pet.

Combined with the dog care shampoo, it eliminates ticks, fleas, bed bugs and mites that are on the skin and coat; likewise, it acts as a repellent, providing protection after bathing against these insects, and hydrating the coat.

Can neem oil be ingested?

Because it does not represent any type of toxicity, neem oil can be ingested without exceeding the recommended dose, or for a long time, because it can affect the liver.

In the case of pregnant women, its consumption is not recommended.

Neem oil toxicity

To date, no evidence is known to indicate that neem oil exhibits any type of toxicity.

Studies were carried out on some insecticides made from neem, and they turned out to be non-toxic to humans.

In India, a study was carried out on patients with duodenal ulcer problems, and treatment based on neem extracts was applied (they consumed 50mg a day for 10 weeks), after the period it was determined that no person had any type of toxicity to this substance.

Similarly, it is recommended not to exceed the recommended dose.

Neem oil datasheet

  • Common Name: Neem Oil
  • Scientific name: Azadirachta Indica
  • Extraction: Steam distillation
  • Part of the plant used: Fruit and seeds
  • Properties: Nutritious, insecticidal, Moisturizing, Febrifuge, Exfoliating, Emmenagogue, Antiseptic, Antiseborrheic, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial.
  • Contraindications: Do not use during pregnancy or when its existence is suspected, or during lactation; It’s not recommended its use in children.
  • Recommended dose: 1-2 capsule of oil daily.

Almost all essential oils

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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