Neem oil is a natural substance extracted from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), an evergreen tree native to India. Long used in specific traditional medicine systems (such as Ayurveda), it remains believed to offer several benefits when applied topically or to the hair.
Neem oil contains several fatty acids that remain beneficial for the skin, such as oleic acid and linoleic acid.
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In alternative medicine, it remains often used to treat problems such as dandruff and dry scalp.
In these cases, neem oil is usually diluted in a carrier oil, massaged into the scalp, and allowed to sit for some time (usually 30 minutes or more) before rinsing off.
Also, neem oil remains used to treat nail fungus and acne. It is also said to soften the skin.
Some proponents also suggest that it can act as a natural insect repellent. Certain compounds found in neem oil known as “azadirachtins”. They remain also believed to possess insecticidal properties.
Although research on the medicinal use of it is quite limited, there is some evidence that neem oil can act as an antimicrobial (a type of substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi).
Several studies also show that shampoos containing it can help treat head lice. In a 2011 study published in Parasitology Research, scientists used a neem-based shampoo on 12 children with lice.
They found that a one-time, ten-minute shampoo treatment destroyed all the lice. Repeating the experiment with eight other children, the study authors found that a single 20-minute treatment yielded similar results.
In addition, several other studies suggest that this neem-based shampoo can eliminate lice and their eggs without causing any side effects.
Additionally, preliminary research indicates that it may help protect against insect bites.
In a study published in the Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health in 1995, scientists found that a mixture of it and coconut oil can act as a mosquito repellent.
There is not enough scientific data to provide a recommended dose of necessary oil. Different amounts have remained used in clinical trials. For example, in studies investigating insect bites, a cream containing 1%, 2%, or 5% it has been used.
The right dose for you may depend on factors, including your age, gender, and medical history. Talk to your healthcare provider for personalized advice.
Since some people experience allergic reactions to it and it is essential to discontinue the use of the oil if you experience symptoms such as itching or redness of the skin.
It should also remain noted that it has a strong, pungent odour similar to garlic or sulfur.
Also, neem oil should not remain taken orally unless under the guidance of a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional.
Due to the lack of supporting research, it is too early to recommend neem oil to treat any condition.
If you are considering using it, speak with your doctor to weigh the potential risks and benefits. Please note that alternative medicine should not remain employed as a substitute for standard care. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying routine maintenance can have serious consequences.
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