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Neem

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What other names is Neem known by?

Antelaea azadirachta, Arishta, Arishtha, Azadirachta indica, Bead Tree, Holy Tree, Huile de Neem, Indian Lilac, Indian Neem, Lilas des Indes, Lilas de Perse, Margosa, Margosa Tree, Margousier, Margousier à Feuilles de Frêne, Margousier d'Inde, Melia azadirachta, Neem Oil, Neem Tree, Melia azadirachta, Nim, Nimb, Nimba, Persian Lilac, Pride of China.

What is Neem?

Neem is a tree. The bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine. Less frequently, the root, flower, and fruit are also used.

Neem leaf is used for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody nose, intestinal worms, stomach upset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease (gingivitis), and liver problems. The leaf is also used for birth control and to cause abortions.

The bark is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases, pain, and fever.

The flower is used for reducing bile, controlling phlegm, and treating intestinal worms.

The fruit is used for hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, urinary tract disorders, bloody nose, phlegm, eye disorders, diabetes, wounds, and leprosy.

Neem twigs are used for cough, asthma, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, low sperm levels, urinary disorders, and diabetes. People in the tropics sometimes chew neem twigs instead of using toothbrushes, but this can cause illness; neem twigs are often contaminated with fungi within 2 weeks of harvest and should be avoided.

The seed and seed oil are used for leprosy and intestinal worms. They are also used for birth control and to cause abortions.

The stem, root bark, and fruit are used as a tonic and astringent.

Some people apply neem directly to the skin to treat head lice, skin diseases, wounds, and skin ulcers; as a mosquito repellent; and as a skin softener.

Inside the vagina, neem is used for birth control.

Neem is also used as an insecticide.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Dental plaque. Early research suggests that applying neem leaf extract gel to the teeth and gums twice daily for 6 weeks might reduce plaque formation. It also might reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth that can cause plaque. However, using a mouth rinse containing neem extract for 2 weeks does not appear to reduce plaque or gingivitis.
  • Insect repellant. Early research suggests that applying extract of neem root or leaf to the skin helps repels black flies. Also, applying neem oil cream to the skin seems to protect against some types of mosquitos.
  • Ulcers. Some research suggests that taking 30-60 mg of neem bark extract twice daily by mouth for 10 weeks helps heal stomach and intestinal ulcers.
  • Psoriasis. Early research suggests that taking neem extract by mouth for 12 weeks, along with daily sun exposure and the application of a coal tar and salicylic acid cream, reduces the severity of psoriasis symptoms in people.
  • Fever.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Breathing conditions.
  • Malaria.
  • Worms.
  • Head lice.
  • Skin conditions and diseases.
  • Heart disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Birth control (contraception).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of neem for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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