Neem juice, extracted from the fruit and leaves of the neem plant, known scientifically as Azadirachta indica, has played a significant role in traditional Indian medicine for millennia. Modern medical researchers began looking seriously at the medicinal properties of neem juice and other neem derivatives in the latter half of the 20th century and have turned up increasing evidence of neem’s potential health benefits. Consult with your doctor before self-treating with neem juice or any other herbal remedy.
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Of all the bioactive compounds isolated from neem plant materials, nimbidin, a tetranortriterpene, appears to have the widest array of medicinal properties, according to a team of Indian researchers who undertook a comprehensive review of the existing scientific literature about neem. In an article that appeared in the June 2002 issue of “Current Science,” the team reported that nimbidin shows great potential as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, spermicidal, hypoglycemic and antipyretic agent. Also present in neem are the closely related compounds of nimbin, nimbolide and sodium nimbidate, which also appear to be medicinally significant. Nimbin has spermicidal properties, nimbolide is both antibacterial and antimalarial, and sodium nambidate is a strong anti-inflammatory agent.
In the early 1990s, Noel Vietmeyer, Ph.D., directed a National Research Council study into neem’s medicinal properties. In the council’s report, entitled “Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems,” Vietmeyer discusses neem’s potential for a wide variety of medicinal applications, but zeroes in on its proven ability to control the spread of several species of pathogenic bacteria. A study in a 2011 issue of the "International Research Journal of Applied and Basic Sciences" shows neem juice’s strong suppressant properties when used against Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella typhosa, both of which are responsible for widespread illness worldwide.
Combats Gastrointestinal Ills
Ellen Norten and Jean Putz, authors of “Neem: India’s Miraculous Healing Plant,” report that neem juice is extremely effective in relieving the symptoms of several gastrointestinal ailments, including constipation, diarrhea and hyperacidity. To ease the symptoms of diarrhea and even dysentery, they recommend taking 1 tablespoon of neem juice with sugar three times a day.
Fights Eye Problems
Neem juice provides relief for the eye problems of conjunctivitis and night blindness, both of which are widespread in India, according to the authors of a report in the January-February 2010 issue of the “Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research.” To treat both conjunctivitis and night blindness, they suggest applying neem juice to the eyes each night. To obtain this juice, grind neem leaves to a fine powder and then add water to the powder to create a paste. Squeeze all the liquid from this paste through a clean cloth, and then apply the juice obtained directly to the eyes.
While scientific research on neem’s antipyretic properties continue, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine use neem juice to bring down fevers, just as they have done for centuries. In “A Treatise on Home Remedies,” S. Suresh Babu recommends taking 1 teaspoon of juice extracted from fresh green neem leaves along with 2 teaspoons of honey twice daily to quickly bring fevers under control.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- “Current Science”; Biological Activities and Medicinal Properties of Neem -- Azadirachta Indica
- Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems; National Research Council
- Neem: India’s Miraculous Healing Plant; Ellen Norten and Jean Putz
- Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research: Herbal Remedies of Azadirachta Indica and Its Medicinal Application
- A Treatise on Home Remedies; S. Suresh Babu
- Neem Foundation