Neem Benefits for Hair Health
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a member of the Meliaceae family and is widely used in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Unani medicines worldwide. The plant naturally produces constituents that play a role in the scavenging of free radicals and disease prevention through the enhancement of antioxidant activity, inhibition of bacterial growth, and modulation of genetic pathways. All parts of the Neem plant possess medicinal value making this herb useful for the treatment of various ailments. Traditionally, it has been used to kill lice, treat dandruff, heal eczema and other forms of dermatitis, a natural insecticide, prevent wrinkles, dryness, acne, and boost hair and skin health.
Neem is a source of several bioactive triterpenoids or limonoids. The four main limonoids that have been studied are Azadirachtin, Nimbin, Nimbidin, and Salanin. These compounds give neem it's anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, insect repellant, and anti-pediculosis properties. The Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Kwame Nkrumah University states that neem seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), triglycerides, vitamin E, and calcium. Let’s dig a little further into how Neem works to heal the scalp and skin.
Neem’s Skin and Scalp Benefits
The Essential Fatty Acids in Neem include oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid; these fatty acids along with vitamin E can penetrate deep within the skin to heal the minuscule cracks brought on by severe dryness.
What about the potential anti-aging effects of neem seed oil? A research study published in 2017 finds that topical application of neem may help to reduce many of the symptoms of skin aging, including thickening, wrinkles, moisture loss, and redness. This study demonstrates how neem extract was able to prevent the formation of wrinkles in hairless mice subjects after UVB radiation. The researchers conclude that neem extract is a “promising anti-aging candidate for topical therapy products.”
Researchers in one 2011 study found that neem seed extract successfully killed head lice larvae after 5 minutes of treatment and adult head lice after 10 minutes of treatment. This is thought to be due to the oil’s azadirachtin content. Azadirachtin can make it difficult for insects to grow and lay eggs by interfering with their hormones.
Neem oil contains the active ingredient Nimbidin. Research suggests that nimbidin can help suppress inflammation, which may make it useful in treating dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, scabies, and other scalp irritations.
Neem is highly antifungal and antibacterial which works as a treatment for dandruff and other yeast related infections such a toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, and acne.
Neem’s Hair Benefits
These are only some of the numerous benefits of neem for healing the scalp. Lets briefly talk about the hair benefits.
Neem conditions and heals the scalp
Promote healthy hair growth by regulating sebum production
Neem oil can assist in sealing the hair follicles and reducing frizz
Neem can prevent premature graying
Can help reduce dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis on the scalp
Can treat head lice and other fungal infections
Now, if you know anything about Neem oil, you know that it stinks! So, I’ve provided a DIY infused Neem oil that doesn’t stink and is still highly effective.
Note: Neem oil taken by the mouth while pregnant can cause a miscarriage. Disclaimer: Please see your medical provider before taking neem oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.