Sadhguru examines the numerous benefits and medicinal uses of neem ‘Azadirachta indica’, a versatile natural product that is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-aging. It also helps keep cancer at bay and is used as an adjunct in yogic sadhana Kambo Training.
What is neem?
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is an evergreen tree that has earned the well-deserved reputation of being the most potent medicinal plant in the world. The neem tree is known in Ayurveda as nature’s pharmacy. It grows mainly in the Indian subcontinent, but is now grown in similar climates around the world, as people are beginning to recognize its usefulness.
How does it work? Uses of Neem Leaves, Bark, Root and Fruits
The neem tree is packed with chemical compounds that have been found to be extremely beneficial. From the neem bark to the leaves and even the flower, fruit, seed and root, all parts of the neem tree have been widely used to cure various ailments. According to research , neem has free radical scavenging properties as it is a rich source of antioxidants and is also effective in treating cancer by regulating cell signaling pathways. Neem also plays a role as an anti-inflammatory substance by regulating pro-inflammatory enzyme activities, including cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX) enzymes.
Benefits of neem leaves
Sadhguru: Neem is a very unique tree and its leaves are the most complex on the planet. The neem tree has over 130 different biologically active compounds, and the neem leaf is one of the most complex that can be found on the planet.
Health benefits of neem: helps destroy cancer cells
Neem has many incredible medicinal benefits, but one of the most important is that it kills cancer cells. Everyone has cancer cells in their body, but they are usually disorganized. However, if certain situations are created in the body, they will organize themselves. As long as these cells are wandering around on their own, it’s not a problem. If they all get together in one place and get along, it becomes a problem. This is like a change from petty crime to organized crime. It is a serious problem. If you consume neem every day, it keeps the number of cancer cells in the body within a certain limit, so that they will not cluster against your system.
Benefits of neem: helps destroy harmful bacteria
The world is full of bacteria. The body is too. There are more microorganisms living in you than you can imagine. Most of these bacteria are useful. Without them, you couldn’t digest anything. In fact, you cannot exist without them. But some bacteria can cause problems. Your body constantly expends energy to handle these bacteria. If excessive levels of bacteria are produced, you will feel “down” because your defense mechanism has to expend too much energy fighting them. By using neem internally and externally, you can control these bacteria so that they do not grow excessively and your body does not have to expend too much energy fighting them. If you consume a certain amount of neem daily, it will destroy problematic bacteria in the intestinal region, and your colon will remain generally clean and infection-free.
Benefits of neem leaves for the skin
Almost everyone has some minor skin problems, but, if you wash your body with neem, it becomes clean and radiant. If you rub neem paste on your body before bathing, let it dry for some time and then wash it with water, it will act as a good antibacterial cleanser. Alternatively, you can soak a few neem leaves in water overnight and bathe with this water in the morning.
Yogic benefits of neem leaves
First of all, neem generates heat in the body. This creation of heat supports the generation of intense forms of energy within the system. Different qualities can predominate in the body; two of them are sheeta and ushna, in traditional terms. The word closest to “sheeta” in Spanish is ‘cold’, but it is not exactly that. If your system moves towards sheeta, mucus levels in the body will increase. Excess mucus in the system is linked to a number of conditions, from the common cold and sinusitis to many other problems.
For a hatha yogi, neem is particularly important because it keeps the body slightly oriented toward the ushna. “Ushna” means you have some extra “fuel.” For a sadhaka exploring unknown terrains, it is safer to carry an extra can of fuel, in case your system needs that extra power. You want to keep the heat slightly higher than is usually needed. If the body is in sheeta condition, it will not be able to do much activity. But, if you keep your body slightly towards the ushna side, even if you travel, eat out or expose yourself to anything else, this extra fire in you will burn and handle these external influences. Neem is a great support in that sense.
The versatile and beneficial neem tree
Each part of the neem tree has different medicinal properties, making it the most versatile medicinal tree in the world. Although the benefits of the neem tree are traditionally known in the Indian subcontinent, in the last decade or so, modern research has put the humble neem tree in the spotlight. Researchers have found that neem products are virtually non-toxic and compatible with beneficial insects, pollinators and bees. They are environmentally friendly, sustainable, renewable and accessible.
Benefits of neem juice
Drinking neem juice can help reorganize and restart the digestive process. It also significantly improves metabolism. When consumed in juice form, bitter neem is effective in breaking down body fat. It also helps cleanse the colon and improves the body’s excretion process. Likewise, it purifies the blood by preventing unwanted bacterial growth thanks to the antibacterial and antiseptic enzymes that are present in abundance in neem. For all these reasons, neem juice is considered one of the most beneficial juices that can be consumed. However, research has not yet established how much may be too much and doctors recommend moderation in neem juice consumption.
Benefits of neem powder
Neem is also available in powder form and has a long shelf life, making it ideal for taking on trips. Another advantage of spraying neem is that it is easier to obtain in parts of the world where this tree does not grow. Neem leaf powder can be both used internally and applied externally to the skin. Neem leaves can be powdered at home; Neem leaves are simply dried in the sun and then mixed into a fine powder.
Medicinal use of neem
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, neem is the king of all medicinal herbs. Fundamental Ayurvedic texts describe how neem treats skin disorders, hair problems, improves appetite, enhances digestion, ignites belly heat, improves breathing, helps control diabetic conditions, helps heal wounds and relieves nausea. Neem has been declared the “Tree of the 21st Century” by the United Nations. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences also recognized the medicinal value of neem in its 1992 report titled Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems. These are some of the main medicinal uses of neem:
Protection: neem leaves to protect the skin
Traditionally, neem leaves are used to treat lice, skin diseases, wounds or skin ulcers. External application of neem also has value as a mosquito repellent. Neem is probably the oldest skin softener in the world and has been used for this purpose for millennia. Neem leaves can be boiled in water and the water can be strained and saved to be used as a skin ointment.
Cleaning: neem seeds for purification
Neem seeds have cleansing properties and are used to eliminate intestinal worms. The seeds are pressed to extract the juice, which is then ingested. This neem seed juice is effective in destroying roundworms and other unwanted parasitic organisms that may be present in the intestinal tract.
Cure – Neem bark to cure dental diseases
The bark of the neem tree is recognized for its ability to combat dental plaque and reduce the amount of bacteria present in the mouth. Traditionally, the twigs of the neem tree are used as toothbrushes for this very reason. The bark of the neem tree also helps heal wounds in the oral cavity thanks to its antiseptic and astringent properties.
Purifier: neem roots for purification
Like the other parts of the neem tree, neem roots are also rich in antioxidants. The results of a study conducted in 2011 revealed that neem root bark extract showed greater free radical scavenging effect with a scavenging activity of 50% at 27.3 μg/mL, and the antioxidant activity was found to be Total of this extract was 0.58 mM standard ascorbic acid.
Uses of neem fruit
The fruit of the neem tree is pressed to extract its oil, which can be applied to the scalp to eliminate dandruff and is also used as a preventive measure against dandruff. This extracted oil can also be used as an effective mosquito repellent and is often found as a component of many air fresheners available on the market.
Uses of neem flower
The flower of the neem tree is known to be an antiseptic that can also cleanse the system when consumed. This is one of the reasons why South Indian cuisine incorporates neem flowers into certain dishes. For example, the traditional New Year is celebrated in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka with a unique dish called Ugadi Pachadi, made with jaggery (unrefined cane sugar) and neem leaves. Ayurveda describes the neem flower as refreshing and recommends incorporating it into summer dishes to combat the summer heat.
Possible side effects of neem
Sadhguru: One thing to keep in mind is that excessive consumption of neem will kill sperm cells. In the first four or five months of pregnancy, when the fetus is developing, pregnant women should not take neem. Neem does not cause any damage to the ovaries, but it causes excess heat. When a woman has just conceived and there is too much heat in her body, she may lose the fetus. If a woman is planning to conceive, she should not consume neem because there will be excess heat, and the system will treat the fetus as a foreign body.
If the heat increases, certain changes will occur in the system; Women will notice it more than men. In case this affects the body’s normal process, we lower the heat to a certain extent; but generally we don’t want to give up neem because for people doing sadhana, a certain amount of heat is needed in the system. Once they start taking neem daily, some women may find that their menstrual cycles become shorter. In that case, just drink more water. If drinking more water is not enough to reduce the heat, add a piece of lemon or the juice of half a lemon to the water. If it is still not enough, have a glass of white melon juice, which is very refreshing. Another option is castor oil. If you apply some to your navel, anahata, base of your throat and behind your ears, it will instantly cool the system.