In Sanskrit, neem is known as arishta which means something that is imperishable and complete. Neem trees are native to India and many of us have grown up in neighbourhoods that house them. It is known to cure a variety of diseases and has been used since ancient times to maintain one’s health.
It’s a one-of-a-kind wonder from nature because all its parts have some benefit for us. Not just its leaves, but the tree’s seeds, roots, flowers and bark also contain important compounds that make it a storehouse of medicinal benefits.
Neem contains over 130 different types of biological compounds which help the body to heal and promote healthy living. It is packed with vitamin E and fatty acids that enhance every part of the health. From giving you clear skin and lustrous hair, neem can also contribute towards preventing and curing chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, inflammation, urinary tract infection along with improving liver and heart health.
The plant is so powerful and has so many benefits that many of us don’t even have a full idea about how it can boost our overall health. Let’s take a look at these five lesser-known benefits of neem:
1.It can prevent cancer
One of the most important benefits that neem has for you is that it can kill cancerous cells. If you consume neem every day, it will help keep the number of cancerous cells in the body within a certain limit.
The first polyphenolic flavonoids to be discovered from fresh neem leaves were quercetin and β-sitosterol. These compounds occupy an essential space in cancer prevention and management. This is due to their antitumor and antioxidant activity along with the inhibitory effect exerted on the development of malignant cells by modulation of cellular proliferation, tumour suppression, and apoptosis. Thus, recent studies have shown the effect of neem in inducing cell apoptosis in cancerous cells.
2. It is good for your bones
It’s not just milk that is necessary for building strong bones. Neem leaves contain calcium and mineral content which help with building strong bones and reduce inflammation. Regular massage with neem oil helps relieve symptoms of arthritic pain. Neem oil works magically in relieving muscle aches and joint pains, helping ease discomfort associated with rheumatism, osteoarthritis and lower back pain.
3. It can prevent viral infections
Neem works as an antiviral agent. It inhibits virus reproduction which helps minimize the impact of an infection. Over the past 50 years, researchers have shown that neem inhibits the growth of many viruses including polio, HIV, Coxsackie B virus, and dengue in the early stages of their replication.
Neem is reported to enhance both humoral and cell-mediated immune response during viral infection. Due to its antiviral potential, neem can be used as preventive medicine against viral infections. Neem boosts your body’s immune system, kicking your cell-mediated immune system into overdrive.
4. It has antifungal properties
Neem oil is known to heal fungal infections like Athlete’s foot and ringworm infections. Neem contains two main medicinal compounds, nimbidol and gedunin, that are extremely effective in killing fungus. Neem oil contains the necessary fatty acids which also promote wound healing and make your skin healthy.
Neem can heal wounds and fungal infections without leaving any ugly scars. In fact, many people report using it to help fade scars. It also prevents septic infections. Neem is an excellent source of moisture for the skin. The fatty acids and vitamins found in neem oil moisturise and condition your skin, making it clear and youthful. Vitamin E in neem oil repairs the damaged skin and also limits the effect of environmental changes that can lead to skin damage.
5. It improves digestion
Neem flowers can be used to treat anorexia, nausea, belching and intestinal worms. Ayurveda suggests neem leaves are good for digestion and metabolism along with improving enzyme secretion. Neem is a bitter herb whoich helps in increasing salivation and enzymatic secretion while stimulating taste buds. It helps in cleansing the oral cavity and improving taste sensation. What’s more, neem also improves the metabolic rate of the body. As a result, the work of burning calories and reducing fat is also rapid.
Consuming a mixture of neem flowers and honey on an empty stomach in the morning is considered very beneficial. Therefore, take it first thing in the morning.
No wonder that neem is regarded as ‘one tree pharmacy’! It has so many medicinal uses and forms an integral part of home remedies.