Neem is used in commercial and homemade products for people and pets: soaps, lotions, creams, shampoos and sprays. It's rising in popularity in Europe and the USA. Neem bark, leaves, fruit, seeds and oils all have medicinal properties.
The Neem tree grows up to sixty-six feet with wide spreading branches, white fragrant flowers and fruit, similar in appearance to olives. It thrives in sub-tropical or tropical regions. It's native to India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
OIL EXTRACTION METHODS
Neem oil is extracted by cold pressing seeds, mechanical pressing, steam pressure or by chemical solvents. It is highly unlikely the exact same mix of components will be produced more than once during extraction. The oil content in Neem seeds is higher than in the leaves.
-- Mechanical Pressing: Dried Neem seeds are fed into a mechanical pressing machine. Oil is collected in a drum with unwanted particles filtered out. This oil is lighter in color and odor when compared to other extraction methods.
-- Steam and High Pressure: Neem seeds are fed into a steam boiler, causing seeds to swell. Squeezing the oil becomes easier. Oil is driven from the seeds, due to the steam and boiler pressure, without any pressing. Unwanted particles are filtered out. This method is not as good as others, since heat degrades flavor, nutritional value, color and may expose toxins.
-- Chemical Solvents: A petroleum/alcohol solvent is mixed with seeds after drying. Solvents only help to extract oil out of the kernel up to a percentage. In addition, Neem seeds may be pressed. Maximum oil extraction is ensured with this method.
-- Avoid if pregnant or trying to conceive.
-- Keep away from children, the weak and elderly.
-- May cause skin sensitivities at high concentrations. Test Neem based solution on small area of skin before using on larger area.
-- Avoid use with pre-existing medical condition. Consult health care provider.
-- Neem oil is potent! It can irritate the skin and scalp. It must always be diluted in carrier oil, soap, lotion, shampoo or buffering agent to minimize risk of irritation.
NEEM OIL BENEFITS and HOMEMADE REMEDIES - (Body, Skin, Hair)
Anti-viral: Inhibit growth of viruses.
Homemade Remedy: Neem tea is an herbal tea made from ground leaves, flowers or bark of the Azadirachta indica tree. Relieve colds, coughs, allergies and other upper respiratory ailments. Detoxify the body. A general ratio of three to five whole leaves per cup of hot water is often preferred. Steep with boiling water from five to fifteen minutes.
Anti-fungal: Inhibit growth of fungi. Gedunin and Nimbibol are powerful anti-fungal compounds. Combat Athlete's foot, ringworm and nail fungus. A neem lotion can prevent future infections.
Antibacterial/Antimicrobial: Destroy bacteria and growth of microorganisms.
Anti-inflammatory: Reduce redness and swelling.
Anti-Aging: High levels of fatty acids and vitamin E restores and rejuvenates skin cells. Increase skin elasticity. Extract skin impurities. Tighten skin pores. Balance skin tone. Prevent and treat acne scars. High level of antioxidants protect skin from damaging free radicals. Reduce appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, discolorations and uneven skin tone. Exfoliate dead skin cells. Moisturize. Soothe dry itchy skin. Restore natural, youthful, glow to skin.
Skin Care Tip # 1: Exfoliate dead skin cells with gentle Neem body scrub.
Skin Skin Care Tip # 2: Cleanse with gentle Neem soap.
Skin Care Tip # 3: Moisturize. Apply gentle Neem lotion before bed.
Natural Insect Repellent: Repel a variety of pests: cabbage worm, mealy bug, locust, beetles, mites, gnats, mushroom flies, fleas, ticks, ants, mosquitoes, caterpillars and more. Neem oil is used for organic farming due to its insect repellent properties. It is not known to harm mammals, birds, earthworms, butterflies, honeybees or ladybugs if it's not concentrated directly into their habitat or on their food. Neem soap and shampoo are popular with dog owners. Sprays are used on horses, cattle and live stock to repel insects and skin parasites.
Soap Making Tips: Neem oil blends well with earthy scents, geranium, cedar wood, florals, sandalwood, lavender and lemongrass. Store oil in cool dark place, away from sunlight.
HOMEMADE SOAP RECIPE - (with Neem Oil)
(By Spencer's Farm)
1 cup Goat Milk Soap Base (Melt & Pour)
1/4 cup Neem oil
1/4 cup Water (if necessary)
10 drops Citronella essential oil
5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
1 tablespoon dried, crushed, Pennyroyal leaves
Learn how to make soap using the melt and pour method. Mix all ingredients by stirring vigorously. Pour mixture into prepared soap molds or hand mold into various sized balls. Depending on how much extra oil you add, it usually takes a couple of hours for soap to set up. Use after soap hardens. Congratulations! You've just made a homemade soap and natural mosquito repellent!