The Neem Tree: An Ayurvedic Approach to Skin Care

The neem tree is no joke. For centuries the fruit, leaves, bark and oil of this broad-leafed evergreen have been a key component of Ayurvedic medicine. Today, westerners are just beginning to tap into the plant’s healing abilities, turning to neem-infused products — from moisturizers to insecticides — to treat a wide range of skin ailments.

Native to India and Burma, the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is believed to be a powerful cooling agent that can act as an anti-inflammatory in situations with excess heat. The Ayurvedic system of medicine follows the belief that everyone falls into one of three energetic types or doshas: kapha (earth and water), vatta (space and air) or pitta (fire and water); physical disorders take on similar properties. Skin ailments are thought to have an extreme amount of heat or pitta.

Neem is used to treat eczema and hives, as well as tropical fungi and viruses. Extracts from the tree have also been known to eliminate severe epidermal conditions like ringworm, septic sores and, in some cases, even warts.

Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer from a traumatic skin problem to utilize neem. The oil is also a potent moisturizer used in everyday skin care. Neem oil doesn’t sit on the surface of the skin. Instead, it helps the skin replenish missing oil and necessary water while stimulating collagen production. That’s more than your average lotion can promise. I haven’t tried them yet, but Sundari offers an extensive neem-based skin care line.

Have you ever used a neem product?

 

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