Neem
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
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Neem Usage

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What Is Neem Used for Today?

The uses of neem are remarkably diverse. In India, the sap is used for treating fevers, general debilitation, digestive disturbances, and skin diseases; the bark gum for respiratory diseases and other infections; the leaves for digestive problems, intestinal parasites, and viral infections; the fruit for debilitation, malaria, skin diseases, and intestinal parasites; and the seed and kernel oil for diabetes, fevers, fungal infections, bacterial infections, inflammatory diseases, fertility prevention, and as an insecticide. 1 However, there is no reliable research evidence to support any of these uses.

As with many plant products, test tube studies indicate that, on direct contact, neem can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. 2 3 4 5 This does not mean, however, that neem acts as a systemic antibiotic if it is taken by mouth. Neem mouthwash or chewing gum might be helpful for preventing cavities because it can directly come in contact with cavity-causing bacteria, 6 but this has not been proven.

On the basis of extremely preliminary evidence, neem has also been advocated as a treatment for diabetes . 7

References

  1. Stix G. Village pharmacy. The neem tree yields products from pesticides to soap. Sci Am. 266(5):132.
  2. Almas K. The antimicrobial effects of extracts of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Salvadora persica (Arak) chewing sticks. Indian J Dent Res. 1999;10:23-26.
  3. Badam L, Joshi SP, Bedekar SS. 'In vitro' antiviral activity of neem ( Azadirachta indica. A. Juss ) leaf extract against group B coxsackieviruses. J Commun Dis. 1999;31:79-90.
  4. Juglal S, Govinden R, Odhav B. Spice oils for the control of co-occurring mycotoxin-producing fungi. J Food Prot. 65(4):683-7.
  5. SaiRam M, Ilavazhagan G, Sharma SK, et al. Anti-microbial activity of a new vaginal contraceptive NIM-76 from neem oil ( Azadirachta indica ). J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;71:377-382.
  6. Almas K. The antimicrobial effects of extracts of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Salvadora persica (Arak) chewing sticks. Indian J Dent Res. 1999;10:23-26.
  7. Khosla P, Bhanwra S, Singh J, et al. A study of hypoglycaemic effects of Azadirachta indica (Neem) in normal and alloxan diabetic rabbits. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2000;44:69-74.
 
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