The "heal-all" tree from India
The neem tree, or margosa, also known as "chinaberry", "bead tree", or "pride of India", is native to the Indies. It was imported to western Africa as an avenue tree to provide shade. Because it is drought-resistant, it is used for reforestation in the Sahel.
It is a large evergreen tree which may reach 30 meters in height. Its small white flowers grow in bunches and are very fragrant. When ripe, the fruit is a yellow drupe containing a single seed.
It is considered a universal remedy, for each of its parts has therapeutic properties. In traditional medicine, the leaves are used to combat malaria, edema, and rheumatism. The fruit and oil from the seeds are used as antiparasitics, anthelmintics (expulsion of worms) and antiseptics.
The oil is extracted from the seeds of the olive-like fruit.
On average, the seeds contain 43% oil. After drying, the seeds are cold pressed.
Virgin neem oil is obtained without the addition of any solvent.
The oil is greenish brown in color and has a typical, pungent, spicy smell to it.
Mono unsaturated fatty acids - oleic acid - account for 50% of its composition.
Palmitic acid C16:0 18.1%
Palmitoleic acid C16:1 0.2%
Stearic acid C18:0 14.2%
Oleic acid C18:1 50.4%
Linoleic acid C18:2 w6 13.3%
Linolenic acid C18:3 w3 0.5%
Arachidonic acid C20:0 1.4%
The level of unsaponifiable matter in neem oil is approximately 2%.
The antibacterial and antiviral action of neem oil results from the NIM -76 fraction. Used as a spermicidal ointment, it appears to inhibit Escherichia Coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Candida albicans and the poliomelitis virus (cf: Journal of Ethnopharmacology - Vol. 71, Issue 3, August 2000, Pages 377-382). Nimbidine, which can be extracted from the oil, exhibits antiulcerative and antidiabetic activity.
The main benefit of Azadirachta indica is its insecticidal properties, which result from the presence of azadirachtine.
Antifungal and antiviral, neem oil can be used to fight lice and other parasites.
Antibacterial action: used alone, neem oil has a bactericidal effect on many bacterial strains.
Fumigatory action: neem oil has a fumigatory effect on a large number of pathogenic fungi when diffused as a disinfecting vapor.
Insect repellent and elimination: a great deal of research has been done in this field.
Neem oil has moisturizing, regenerating and restructuring properties that make it an effective treatment for skin problems.
It can also be sprayed in stables as a fly repellent.
Applied as an ointment, it treats skin irritations such as redness, acne or chapping.
It can also be used in the formulation of products for tired, wrinkled skin, or skin subject to boils and eczema.
As a massage oil, it relieves muscular pain and swollen joints and can reduce fever. Its regenerating and moisturizing properties make it an ideal massage oil.
Finally, it is also used for treating digestive problems and fighting parasites.
As an insecticide, it is good for the care and protection of plants.
As a veterinary product: neem oil can be used to care for animals' coats.
It is added to hand and face creams, sun and after-sun care products, lip balms, and shampoos. It can also be used as an ointment to treat the scalp in cases of baldness, grey hair or dandruff.
Indications for neem oil are as follows:
Combined with the usual shampoo to eliminate parasites and insects such as lice, mites or ticks, as well as dandruff.
Applied on skin irritations, redness, acne, chapping and abrasions; to relieve itching.
- With a massage to relieve muscular aches and pains.