Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wholesome Wednesdays: Neem

I've been using neem in several of my recent projects, so i thought it appropriate to write a little elaboration on this magical plant. Disclaimer: pretty much all of this information will be gleaned from  other sources, which i will list at the bottom of this post.

Neem (Azadirachta indica) is native to India, where its myriad health benefits are widely known. Its properties include: antbacterial, anti-parasitic, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory! That's a lot of antis! You can use neem in the form of oil extracted from the seeds, or powdered leaves. Apparently the flowers smell amazing, i find the oil from the seeds to be less than appealing, but sometimes medicine just can't smell sweet!

A truly comprehensive description of neem can be found at this website. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to read through it. Some skin troubles neem can help (the oil or the leaf) include:
  • Acne
  • Inflamed skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Scars
  • Chapped skin
  • Psoriasis
  • Oily skin
  • Dry skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Scabies
Other uses for neem include:
  • Insect repellent
  • Pesticide
  • Fertilizer
  • Contraceptive
  • Flea and Lice control for pets
As a gardener, i first new of neem as an insect repellent and fungal controller. It's good for all plants and is totally organic. Apparently it's just as good for us humans as well. I've been using neem for its skin healing properties for my troubled scalp and my husband's troubled face skin. I'm going to look deeper into a beauty and health practice (used by my loved Christi Turlington) called  Ayuverdic healing. I will be pursuing some neem leaf powder to use in more concoctions, but for now am marvelling at the effects of the oil. It may not smell amazing, but when paired with the other ingredients in my new homemade deoderant (post coming soon!) i smell not at all. Not at All! Other than smelling a bit like neem, of course. I have never experienced a truly effective deoderant before. I'm blown away. But more on that later.

I look forward to experiencing and exploring more of the benefits of neem as time goes on. Apparently, even growing the tree isn't all that difficult, so i may give that a try in the future. They thrive in hot weather, though - so perhaps i should have tried earlier in my time spent in Austin.
That's all for now. I just love discovering natural plants that pack a healthy punch!

Herb Quarterly, Laurie Rowell

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