Azadirachta indica (neem) leaves, oil uses and benefits

Neem tree is a large evergreen tree that grows up to 20 metres in height. There are many benefits and side effects of neem plant.

Neem leaves grow alternately with 8-19 leaves present in each leaflet. The leaf has serrated edges and is 2-3 cm long. The terminal leaflet is often missing. The petioles are short. It bears white flowers that are 5-6 mm in size, protandrous resulting in male and female flowers in the same tree.

The fruits are 2-3 cm long and 0.6-0.8 cm broad. The hard, inner shell contains two to three seeds. The branches form a broad crown.  In this article we will discuss about all these medicinal uses, benefits and side effects.


Common name of the plant

Common names for this plant include neem, Nimtree, Ineem, Indian Lilac, neemba and nimba.

Botanical name and family

The botanical name of the plant is Azadirachta Indica. It belongs to the Meliaceae family.

Geological places where neem tree grows

Neem is native to India. It grows in all the countries in the subcontinent such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. It also grows in Australia, the Middle East, and in parts of Africa.

Neem medicinal uses in treating diseases

The leaves, bark, seed oil, powder and seeds of the neem tree are used in medicine. At times, the roots, flowers, and the fruit may also be used. You have over 700 medicinal preparations in Ayurveda, Amchi, Siddha, and Unani medicine.

Beauty aid: The astringent property makes the neem leaves indispensable in the manufacture of facial creams and soaps. It also finds use in nail polish and other cosmetics.

Cure leprosy: Due to the positive effect on the skin combined with the antiseptic and antibacterial properties, Azadirachta Indica finds use in curing leprosy.

neem leaves flower fruit bark
Leaves, flower, fruit and bark

Calming and cooling effect: The crushed leaves of the neem plant is applied on the skin and head of people who have suffer from sunburn.

Bloody nose: Roast some leaves of the neem tree and put this on your head. This will stop the nose bleed immediately. You could also put 1-2 drop of neem oil in the nostril if the patient is an adult.

Digestion: Azadirachta Indica enhances the action of the liver and augments your digestion. Add some neem leaves when you prepare the dishes.

Use in toothpaste: The neem prevents gum disease and helps maintain healthy teeth. People chew on the twig of the neem tree and this makes their teeth white and shiny.

Intestinal worms: Neem has anti-parasitic properties that helps it kill parasite and worms. If you have intestinal worms, fry 3-4 neem leaves in some ghee and eat it with rice. Within 3-4 days, you will be free of worms.

Cleanse the blood: Azadirachta Indica helps eliminate toxins in the blood and so your skin become clear. It fights the free radicals and removes excess sugar. You only need to take a little neem with your food to achieve this.

Balance acidity: The herb promotes good health by aiding elimination and removing toxins and noxious bacteria. Azadirachta Indica preparations reduce the concentration of acid in the stomach and promotes digestion.

Good for the eyes: Boil some neem leaves in a potful of water. Use this to clean your eyes.

Prevent stomach upsets: You can use neem tree to prevent stomach upsets and intestinal disorders. It prevents ulcer formation and helps maintain proper pH levels.

Support healthy liver: For people suffering from kidney problems or fatty liver, Azadirachta Indica gives an affordable solution. Do not overdo it as it may prove toxic.

Boost immune function in the body: Neem stimulates the immune function of the body. But again, overdose is dangerous.

Prevent Skin ulcers: Azadirachta Indica helps maintain skin health by purifying the blood and fighting against pathogens that attack the skin from the outside. Neem oil for skin is great.

Used for abortions: People use neem inside the vagina for birth control.

Help to fight Asthma: One of the best neem plant medicinal uses is the way it clears the respiratory passages. Neem tree helps you fight infections and gives you relief from cough.

Keep diabetes in check: Use two drops of neem oil to keep the sugar levels under control. Overuse may be toxic so take care.

Side effects of overdose of neem tree

There are instances when the neem plant was involved in damages to the health and even death. Here are the things one must expect along with the good things.

  1. Liver and kidney damage: The excess consumption of the neem can cause damage to the organs. So, care must be taken to use the neem in moderation.
  2. Increased fatigue: People who are already fatigued must avoid consuming neem as it will worsen the fatigue.
  3. Immune system overdrive: One of the most serious side-effects is the way the body immune system goes into overdrive when one overdoses on neem when treating ailments.
  4. Dangerous for those who have had an organ transplant: patients who have undergone organ transplant will have immunosuppressant medication to keep their own immune system from attacking the new organs. If they have Azadirachta Indica, it will cause the immune system to become enhanced and attack the new organs.
  5. Lowers blood sugar: The neem will cause a severe drop in the blood sugar levels. A little neem oil will help control the blood sugar levels but when taken in excess it will cause dizziness and numbness. Sometimes, the person may go into a coma.
  6. Causes stomach irritation: The neem preparation can cause irritation in people who are sensitive. So, one must check the medical history of the person before administering neem preparations.
  7. Allergic reaction: People who have allergy will aggravate their situation when they use neem oil.
  8. Death in infants: Certain substances present in neem cause Reye’s syndrome in infants when they touch neem oil. If the child has even the smallest dose of neem oil, they will die.
  9. Infertility and miscarriage: The farmers use neem preparations to cause infertility in the pests. This will keep the pest population under control. They disrupt the direction of the sperm and so they cannot conceive. When women are overexposed to Azadirachta Indica, their body rejects the sperm and this results in miscarriage.

The neem extract is strong enough to kill pests and insects. So, you must make sure that you do not have excess of the neem tree preparation. If you feel nauseous or ill after taking neem preparations, consult your health care provider at once.


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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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