Everything you want to know about Neem
Just Neem has been in the Neem business since early 2007. With a name like JustNeem, you can probably assume we’re all about Neem…and you’d be right! Our research of Neem and visits to Mauritania, West Africa where we grow our own organic Neem, started several years before and continues to today.
If you’re new to JustNeem or Neem in general, you might have lots of questions. Here’s everything you need to know about what Neem is, how it’s used and why it’s our favorite ingredient. JustNeem Co-Founder & Biochemist Peter Radtke, PhD explains:
What is Neem?
Neem is a natural herb that originated in India and Burma. Neem is also known as Indian Lilac or by the scientific name, Azadirachta indica. This tree can thrive in any warm, dry regions, including Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia. It is highly treasured in India and Southeast Asia for its medicinal value and has been used extensively in Ayurvedic treatments for many skin issues.
Neem products come from all parts of the Indian lilac tree, but the most popular choices are to press the fruit to create Neem Oil or directly use the leaves. These options allow for Neem to be harvested without harming the tree, making it renewable.
In the past, people have used Neem as a natural remedy for a variety of illnesses. Now, many people use Neem as a natural pesticide. Some use it to support their hair and dental health.
Neem is a potent antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that may prevent the development of some conditions. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent with antimicrobial effects that may be effective against several types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Since Neem is useful for deterring mosquitoes, it may also have anti-malarial qualities.
How is Neem Used?
Traditionally, Neem Oil was used to create skin & hair care products that soothed dryness, repaired skin damage, removed bacteria, eliminated head & body lice, prevented baldness, reduced scaring, treated acne, and slowed the graying of hair. Whew, that’s a lot of benefits, right!?! Neem oil may also be used to manage the symptoms of psoriasis, eczema, and other skin disorders.
Scientific studies have shown Neem to have properties that are:
- Anti-viral: inhibits the growth of viruses
- Anti-fungal: inhibits the growth of fungi
- Anti-bacterial: destroys the growth of bacteria
- Analgesic: provides topical pain relief
- Anti-inflammatory: reduces signs of inflammation, swelling, or tenderness
- Anti-microbial: suppresses the growth of microorganisms
“Neem trees are fascinating plants with a powerful biological defense against many insects, fungi, and bacteria. Just Neem harvests these natural substances to create skincare products that effectively protect and heal the skin.” Peter Radtke
The Science of Neem
Neem has stood the test of time. And now, researchers have begun systematically laying out the process of how it all works. Researchers have isolated around 150 of Neem’s compounds, or Neem’s powerful blend. Imagine 150 different compounds working together to protect the Neem tree from bacteria, fungus, bugs, and other threats found in nature!
One of Neem’s incredible advantages is the complexity of its compounds.
The Neem tree has more than 100 healing properties that are excellent for skincare, specifically for problem skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, or acne. Neem is super potent and should not be used in its raw form. JustNeem addresses this by infusing it into an extensive skincare product line, which gives Neem a vehicle to nourish your skin.
Neem oil is the part of the Neem tree that is popular in online articles and research reports. Cold-pressed Neem oil is a dark brown oil, somewhat viscous, that hardens at or below room temperature. It has a strong herbal, if not garlicky smell that makes it hard to use for skincare without the help of other complementary oils that mask its natural odor.
The History of Neem
The Neem tree history can be traced back to the ancient Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations in India and Pakistan. Along with ancient Egypt, these civilizations were considered the “Cradles of Civilization” (circa 2600 – 1900 BC). Nearly 5000 years ago, the Neem tree was used for its medicinal properties in households in these South Asian countries. The earliest writings about Neem were first recorded in Sanskrit and the ancient Indian scriptures of traditional medicine, Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.
For centuries, Indians planted the Neem tree in their homes’ vicinity and used its leaves, branches, and oil for daily Ayurveda medicinal practices. Its small branches were chewed on to keep teeth clean of bacteria and help prevent common dental diseases. For women, in particular, Neem proved an invaluable source of health, hygiene, and beauty that was freely available. Having a bath steeped in Neem leaves kept their skin supple and healthy. Neem leaf powder or crushed leaves incorporated into their face packs provided emollient and anti-aging action. The antiseptic properties of Neem leaf extracts helped in controlling pimples and acne.
The Neem tree has a rich history and incredible variety of beneficial properties. Every part of the tree contains some level of active compounds, which have been found to be useful in organic and natural cosmetics, medicine, and agriculture.
Neem Oil is derived from the seeds of the Neem fruit. Neem Oil and Neem leaves are the most common forms of Neem since they can be harvested without harming the tree itself. Harvesting the Neem Oil and leaves does not harm the fast-growing tree. Steeped in the traditions of time, Neem is becoming indispensable to those looking for an effective natural remedy.
Just Neem uses African Neem harvested from our Neem Tree Orchard in Mauritania, Africa- and there is a reason for that. Our orchard of high-potency Neem trees is a resource and benefit that other producers of Neem-based skincare products do not have.
Early on, Just Neem commissioned scientific research to identify the various strains of the Neem tree. One strain was found to have unique characteristics, including 40% more potency than any other tested strains. That high-potency Neem tree was found among the Neem trees in West Africa, making it an ideal location for the Just Neem Orchard. Dr. Radtke then collected seeds from selected trees and established a Neem tree orchard with only high-potency Neem trees.
In planning and developing the orchard, we worked collaboratively with local villagers and nonprofit organizations to ensure our orchard would help protect the environment and improve local villagers’ lives through better nutrition, education, health care, and economic development.
Neem Articles & Studies
Here you’ll find a collection of articles and studies on Neem.
- Alzohairy, M. A. (2016). Therapeutics role of Azadirachta indica (neem) and their active constituents in disease prevention and treatment. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791507/
- Azadirachtin (121701) clarified hydrophobic extract of neem oil (025007) fact sheet. (n.d.). https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/fs_G-127_01-Oct-01.pdf
- Barua, C. C., et al. (2010). Evaluation of the wound healing activity of methanolic extract of Azadirachta indica and Tinospora cordifolia (guduchi) in rats. https://pharmacologyonline.silae.it/files/archives/2010/vol1/09.Barua.pdf
- Berbis, P., et al. (1990). Essential fatty acids and the skin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2143069
- Candidiasis. (2019). https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html
- Chatterjee, A., Saluja, M., Singh, N., & Kandwal, A. (2011, October). To evaluate the antigingivitis and antipalque effect of an Azadirachta indica (neem) mouthrinse on plaque induced gingivitis: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3283940/
- Cold pressed neem oil. (2012). https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/decision_PC-025006_07-May-12.pdf
- de Groot, A., et al. (2017). Contact allergy to neem oil [Abstract]. https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=01206501-201711000-00006
- Emeka, O., et al. (2013). The wound healing effects of aqueous leave extracts of Azadirachta indica on Wistar rats. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ddb9/20e64e5a0a935eb3936c94cce821be5fee7f.pdf
- Franco, P., et al. (2014). Hypericum perforatum and neem oil for the management of acute skin toxicity in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemo-radiation: A single-arm prospective observational study. https://ro-journal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13014-014-0297-0
- Kaushik, N., & Vir, S. (2000). Variations in fatty acid composition of neem seeds collected from the Rajasthan state of India [Abstract]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11171243
- Kumar, V. S., & Navaratnam, V. (2013). Neem (Azadirachta indica): Prehistory to contemporary medicinal uses to humankind. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3695574/
- Lee, Jae-Won & Ryu, Hyung Won & Park, So-Yeon & Park, Hyun & Kwon, O Kyun & Yuk, Heung Joo & Shrestha, Krishna & Park, Minwoo & Kim, Jung & Lee, Sangwoo & Oh, Sei-Ryang & Ahn, Kyung-Seop. (2017). Protective effects of neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.) leaf extract against cigarette smoke- and lipopolysaccharide-induced pulmonary inflammation. International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 40. 10.3892/ijmm.2017.3178. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320308812_Protective_effects_of_neem_Azadirachta_indica_A_Juss_leaf_extract_against_cigarette_smoke-_and_lipopolysaccharide-induced_pulmonary_inflammation
- Ngo, H. T. T., et al. (2017). Topical application of neem leaves prevents wrinkles formation in UVB-exposed hairless mice [Abstract]. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1011134416303323
- Okoh, S. O., et al. (2019). Inhibitory effects of Azadirachta indica secondary metabolites formulated cosmetics on some infectious pathogens and oxidative stress radicals. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6558881/
- Parida, Manoj & Upadhyay, Chitra & Pandya, G & Jana, Asha. (2002). Inhibitory potential of neem (Azadirachta indica Juss) leaves on Dengue virus type-2 replication. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 79. 273-8. 10.1016/S0378-8741(01)00395-6. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11558357_Inhibitory_potential_of_neem_Azadirachta_indica_Juss_leaves_on_Dengue_virus_type-2_replication
- Polaquini, S. R. B., et al. (2006). Effect of aqueous extract from Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) on hydrophobicity, biofilm formation and adhesion in composite resin by Candida albicans. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003996905002694?via%3Dihub
- Vijayan, V., et al. (2013). Formulation and characterization of solid lipid nanoparticles loaded Neem oil for topical treatment of acne [Abstract]. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221618913601444?via%3Dihub
- Wu, Q., Kohli, M., Bergen, H., Cheville, J., Karnes, R., Young, C., . . . Donkena, K. (2015, June 19). Preclinical evaluation of the supercritical extract of azadirachta indica (neem) leaves in vitro and in vivo on inhibition of prostate cancer tumor growth. https://mayoclinic.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/preclinical-evaluation-of-the-supercritical-extract-of-azadiracht