Neem (Azadirachta indica) is the common name of an extremely important tree native to the Indian subcontinent, although it now grows in certain parts of the Middle East as well. Neem trees are actually in the mahogany family of trees, Meliaceae. These trees grow very rapidly and have broad-spreading leaves, which they can drop quickly in a drought so as to protect the rest of the trees. This quality makes them extremely resilient to challenging environments; they are primarily found in tropical and subtropical zones. The flowers are very fragrant and white in color, while the fruit of the neem tree is a small drupe with a bittersweet pulp.
Neem leaves are widely sought after and serve as a major industry in the subcontinents, as these valuable leaves can be used for many different things. The oil from the leaves can be extracted and used in a wide variety of medicines, while the leaves can be dried and used as an herb or even as a pest repellent. In many areas of India, the shoots and flowers of the tree are also used in culinary applications.
Neem powder contains a unique composition of organic and beneficial compounds, so products derived from it are very popular in herbal remedies. From tea and garnishes to skin salves and herbal supplements, it is considered as one of the most important and versatile plants in the Indian culture.
Research published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal states that one of the most widely recognized benefits of neem powder, oil, leaves, tea, and every other derivative is its strong antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. This comes into play both internally and externally, which is why neem is considered to be such a general tonic for the immune system and as a simple way to keep your overall health better protected. It is commonly associated with treating skin conditions, but its effects are far more extensive than that!
In terms of treating acne, neem paste is observed to eliminate much of grease and bacteria that can exacerbate the condition. The antibacterial nature of neem also helps prevent future breakouts, while the antioxidants in it will help minimize scarring and keep the skin looking fresh and clean. It also has astringent properties, which reduces the chances of skin sagging or wrinkles and aging. This is due to the fatty acids in neem oil, as well as the high content of vitamin E.