For most living in Western society, neem oil is still somewhat of a mystery, if not completely unknown. We live in a culture that relies on “popping a pill” that’s been created by synthesized chemicals to try and cure what ails us rather than using natural sources. Some might even say that there is a plot out there to prevent us from learning about these alternative, often Eastern-derived natural health solutions so that pharmaceutical companies continue to cash in on our poor health.
Here’s the good news: Natural health products like neem oil are growing in popularity on a global scale. Neem oil in particular has become what some naturopathic doctors would even call “fashionable” or “trendy” in the natural health world, though it and other parts of the neem tree have been used for centuries in India.
Not All Neem Oil Is Created Equal
Given the sudden popularity of neem, there are a ton of neem-related products out on the market, but not all are as effective as the next. The neem oil itself comes from the seed kernels of the neem tree, with each seed containing up to an astounding 50 percent of its weight in oil. These kernels are pressed together, producing an oil that’s bitter and has a rather strong sulfuric scent.
The best type of neem oil that you can purchase, and that I recommend for the neem applications listed below, is an extra-virgin first cold-pressed neem oil. The oil should also contain at least 100 compounds, the most important being azadirachtin (premium oils contain 2000 ppm).
Though neem naturally has a sulfuric scent, it shouldn’t be unpleasant. Any unpleasant odor is a fairly strong indication that a cheap, poor quality neem has been used, so try to avoid these products. Ideally, the neem oil you obtain should be hand-made and come imported directly from India.
Neem Oil For Skin Disorders
As someone who’s not a fan of pharmaceutical preparations and “treatments,” I wanted to try something other than corticosteroidal treatments to take care of my eczema. Not only was I concerned about the long-term side effects of using chemical-laden products, but I was developing a dependency to these products.
So then I moved to colloidal oatmeal. This proved to be better than the corticosteroid ointment, but it still wasn’t doing the job. Calendula cream – same story. So then I moved onto neem oil, as suggested by one of my knowledgeable naturopathic friends. After four years of suffering from never-ending eczema on my hand, this is what did the trick.
Neem oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it reduces any redness, swelling, itching, and irritation that skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, and other skin allergies can bring. The two substances that act as an anti-inflammatory – nimbin and nimbidin – have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that are comparable to steroidal drugs (prednisole).
What makes neem oil even more effective for the treatment of any skin disorders is that:
- It is a strong analgesic, relieving any pain and providing instant relief for skin discomfort
- It’s an antibacterial agent, meaning it can clear up any infections that may be compounding any skin-related issues
- It’s hydrating, unlike many of the prepared medicinal ointments that a doctor would prescribe to you
There’s also evidence that neem oil may be able to aid in the regeneration of skin cells, meaning it can expedite the healing of any of any skin disorders.
Neem Oil As An Insect Repellent
After investigating the benefits of neem oil for my eczema, I found that it actually has numerous other applications as well that I began to adopt in my own home. Being an avid gardener, I was pretty shocked to find out that you can create your own insect repellent with it and, the best part is, it’s far safer than many of the commercial insect repellants out there. The compound salannin that is found in neem has actually been found to be safer and more effective than DEET.
To make the insecticide, all you need is:
- One quart warm water
- Two teaspoons dish washing liquid
- Five teaspoons neem oil
Add the dish washing liquid to the warm water. Then, slowly add in the neem oil, stirring in one teaspoon at a time. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray on the leaves (tops and undersides) of the affected plants and around the roots. Just be sure that you use it within a few hours of making the insecticide, as the neem oil does begin to break down once the batch is prepared.
Neem Oil As A Mosquito Repellant
When I purchased the neem oil, it was right before the start of summer, and I was glad I had it when mosquito season hit. Rather than using those health-concerning products on the market, all you need to make this repellant is some neem oil and coconut oil (you can also use sweet almond oil). For any amount of coconut oil, mix 5 percent of neem oil into it. Rub it onto your skin, and it works like a charm. I also set out some on picnic tables for a summer evening outside, and it worked wonderfully to keep the mosquitos away.
Neem Oil For Boosting The Immune System And Eliminating Intestinal Parasites
Neem oil isn’t only a topical application; it can also be taken internally too under the direction of your physician. To rid the body of any parasites and to boost your immune system, authors S. Suresh Babu and M. Madhavi of “Green Remedies” recommend individuals add ten drops of neem oil to any eight-ounce glass of liquid and drink once a day.
Neem Oil For Dogs and Cats
There are two applications that you can create for dogs and cats out of neem oil to help keep ticks and fleas at bay: a spray and a shampoo. The best way to use this for your pet is to ensure that you have 100 percent pure organic neem oil and not the refined oil extract that is often sold in stores.
There are two different sprays you can make: a 0.5 percent solution and a 1 percent solution. The 0.5 percent solution is appropriate for preventative use, and the 1 percent solution I found works very well for dogs and cats that already have fleas.
For the 0.5 percent solution, you’ll need:
- ½ teaspoon neem oil
- ¼ teaspoon mild soap or dish detergent
- ½ quart warm water
For the 1 percent solution, you’ll need:
- One teaspoon neem oil
- ½ teaspoon mild soap or dish detergent
- ½ quart warm water
Mix the warm water with the soap, and then slowly add the neem oil to the mix while stirring. Pour the solution into your spray bottle, and you’re done. Just remember that, as with the insect repellant, it’s best to use this solution as quickly as possible as the neem oil does begin to break down immediately.
Creating a neem oil dog or cat shampoo is quick and easy. Take your standard pet shampoo and then add ¼ to one teaspoon of oil for every 100 mL of dog shampoo, depending on how severe their tick, flea, or mange mite infestation may be. Allow the shampoo to sit for up to five minutes, and then rinse. Shampoo two to three times a week until the infestation has completely cleared up.
Neem oil can also be applied directly to the skin of your pets and animals, but animals will often develop a rash. If this occurs, rinse the neem oil off immediately and continue to use only the spray and shampoo solutions.
Neem Oil For Farm Animals
Sheep, pigs, cats, horses, and other animals can all benefit from neem oil. Unlike a lot of other flea, insect, and mange treatment products on the market for animals, they aren’t tempted to lick neem due to its sulfuric and bitter taste and, more importantly, it isn’t poisonous for your animals.
To get rid of any insects and other pests in the barn, mix one part neem oil with fifty parts water. Make as much as you think you may need, and then spray both the walls and the floor of the barn twice a day (when the animals are outside). Remove any food or water from the barn prior to spraying, as the bitter taste of the neem will likely have your animals turning their noses up at the food. If you are using it on your livestock because of mange, you may spray it directly on the infected area. It goes without saying that you want to be mindful about getting the solution in their eyes or mouth.
For any animals with hooves, like pigs, sheep, goats, and horses, neem oil can also make for a very nice hoof treatment. Take five teaspoons of neem oil and mix it in one quart of water. Dip the hoof into the mixture, and you’re set.
©2012 Off the Grid News