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Based on its extensive traditional use, neem seems to be quite safe. However, formal safety testing has only involved neem oil, the insecticide product made from the plant. While neem has been found adequately safe for use as an insecticide, animal studies suggest that long-term oral use of neem oil might produce toxic effects. 1 In addition, other animal studies suggest that whole neem extract (which includes more substances than neem oil) may damage chromosomes, at least when taken in high doses or for an extended period of time. 2 For all these reasons, as well as the lack of comprehensive safety investigation of neem products other than neem oil, we recommend that young children, pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease avoid use of neem.
- Rahman MF, Siddiqui MK, Jamil K. LDH profiles of male and female rats treated with Vepacide. Phytother Res. 16(2):122-6.
- Awasthy KS, Chaurasia OP, Sinha SP. Prolonged murine genotoxic effects of crude extracted from neem. Phytother Res. 13(1):81-3.