Neem oil is an essential vegetable oil extracted from the seeds and fruits of neem (Azadirachta indica) tree. Neem oil contains various compounds that have medicinal, cosmetic and insecticidal properties. Infact it is the most important and useful by-products of the magical tree. Though the neem trees are commonly found throughout Asia and India and neem products are used to treat a variety of medical conditions in Asian countries, nowadays the usage of neem products is seen in Western countries as well. Many American physicians are beginning to see the benefits of neem oil. Neem oil is becoming more popular in the United States. Neem tree is being grown on a commercial basis in US, Australia for use in various industries like agriculture and cosmetic etc.
Neem Oil Characteristics
Neem oil is dark to light brown in color with very strong smell. Bitter smell and taste of the neem oil is because of triglycerides and triterpenoid compounds present in the oil. Neem oil also contain omega-6, omega-9, palmitic acid, stearic acid, omega-3 and palmitoleic acid.
Types of Neem Oil
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Neem Oil Applications in Various Industries
- Cosmetic Industry :Neem bark, seed and leaf oil is being increasingly used in manufacturing a large number of skin products, body lotions, beauty care facial packs in combination with other natural ingredients. The herbal cosmetic industry is in the boom stage, this is an open invitation for the neem oil manufacturers to produce high quality neem oil for use in the cosmetic industry, all around the globe.
- Agricultural Industry : The principle ingredient in Azadirachtin found naturally in neem seed oil is being
- Natural Pesticide
- Natural Insecticide
- Natural Fungicide
- Herbal Medicine Industry : Neem seed, leaf and
bark oil is used to manufacture herbal medicines. It can be used as
raw neem oil, oil extract to be used in wide medicinal applications.
Neem Oil Uses
- Neem oil is high in vitamin E and rich in fatty acids and hence an excellent moisturizer. Applying neem oil helps in restoring the skin's natural elasticity. It is a perfect remedy for cracked, dry, and damaged skin.
- Neem oil has antibacterial properties. Can be used to treat wounds and skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, skin allergies, etc.
- Neem oil also relieves inflammation and acts as an analgesic (pain killer).
- For people suffering from athleteâ€™s foot, treating the foot with neem oil and water is considered a very good cure.
- There is an ingredient in neem oil, azadirachtin, which can repel many insects. Neem oil has been used for hundreds of years in controlling plant pests and diseases.
- Many studies have shown that the spray solution of neem oil helps to control common pests like white flies, scales, spider mites, locusts, mealy bugs, Japanese beetles, etc.
- Neem provides protection from not only mosquitoes, but also from biting flies, sand fleas and ticks.
Neem Oil Processing
- Mechanical Press Method : This method is one of the oldest methods of processing oil. Seeds are placed in a tub or container and a form of press or screw is used to squeeze the seeds until the oil is pressed out and collected
- Steam and High Pressure Method : This method makes use of high pressure extraction method to squeeze out oil from seeds. Seeds are heated in steam and under high pressure enabling maximum extraction of oil. This method is not very good as most of the active ingredients and compounds are destroyed by high temperature.
- Solvent Extraction Method : One of the most used methods of extracting neem oil, it uses a solvent, preferably an petroleum solvent/alcohol solvent for processing oil. It ensures maximum extraction of oil.
- Cold Pressed Method : This method of extracting oil is the most used by leading manufacturers though it is more expensive than the other methods.
Neem Oil Side Effects
Neem oil should not be digested as it may lead to severe illness and even death of adult. In one of the studies in 1982 (Sinniah et al.) on general care of children it had been proved that neem oil if given to children could cause the swelling in brain, liver, and other organs and also it had resulted in disease similar to Reye's Syndrome. Because of this reason neem bark and twigs can be used for dental care but not the neem oil. Do not give neem oil to young and particularly ill children.
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