by Mituri Pradip Sharma
Neem is not a new phenomenon, but this natural wonder is probably one you’re unlikely to have heard of.
If you haven’t, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, though this amazing natural boon has been used for more than two millennia due to its numerous and varied medicinal benefits, the neem tree is still a relatively unknown secret for many.
Deriving from India, the neem tree and its constituents (significantly its fruits and seeds that constitute neem oil) is famous as a natural healer for the many disorders faced by humans. Its unique abilities have been passed down generations with many indicating its uses in Hindi as “Grandma’s wise natural cures." Many Indian children are well aware of its many uses and acutely bitter taste.
The tree is believed to be so valuable to mankind; it is actually revered in many traditional Indian Hindu festivals as a token for its undeniable use in healing all living beings.
Neem in Ayurveda
Declared as the tree of the 21st century by the United Nations, neem is a vital ingredient in many ancient Ayurvedic treatments that continue to be used today to heal and promote healthy skin, body and face care. Used in health and beauty care for more than 4,500 years, Ayurvedic practitioners claim that more than 75 percent of Ayurvedic remedies contain neem in some form.
Neem has a wide array of antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antipyretic and antiseptic properties that are priceless when combatting many of the beauty care issues a significant amount of consumers face (particularly oily skin and those plagued with eczema and acne as well as dandruff and lice problems). The blood-purifying properties naturally found in the neem plant make it an effective skincare and haircare solution for those searching for natural alternatives when taking care of problem (as a potential healer) and normal (as a preventative measure) personal care concerns.
Scientific research suggests neem has a more extensive range of uses than popular herbs such as ginseng and echinacea (though these are better recognized worldwide). Affectionately termed the “Village Pharmacy," the documented advantages of neem for beauty care even predates the willow tree, myrrh, pine and thyme.
Neem in Beauty Products
Neem is frequently used in high-end spas, salons and Ayurvedic retreats in India, and is a staple for most households in the region.
The potent bitter taste and strong odor make neem difficult to consume and use as a topical application in its natural form. As disposable income increases in the subcontinent, so too has the need for high-end products which are, in turn, driving the cosmetic market to create products that make this age-old beauty solution more fashionable and easily accessible to the trendy, new-age, organic-product consumer. As a result, many companies have delved into the neem beauty market head first, providing a plethora of organic-based solutions that use neem and other Ayurvedic extracts in their products as a main ingredient.
Due to neem’s steady and competitive rise in popularity (coupled with the increased recognition for Ayurvedic practices for spas and salons internationally), the use of neem in beauty care products has become more pronounced, quickly expanding to areas outside of India including Singapore, Malaysia, the United States and other areas of Europe, particularly Germany.
Neem for the ‘Organic Customer’
Neem appears to be a solution for the diehard organic skincare fan as it is a wonderful alternative for anyone actively searching for a more holistic personal care regime.
Though neem tends to be anti-allergic mostly due to its natural composition, it is still recommended that a small patch test be done on first-time users to ensure that allergic reactions do not occur.
Ayurvedic consultants will probably steer anyone with beauty care problems or those who want natural skincare solutions to neem as a priority. As the normal consumer becomes savvier about their own personal care needs and the vast benefits of natural solutions, neem presents an opportunity for beauty care professionals who pride themselves on providing their customers with the best and most effective natural solutions.
With animal testing a big “no go" zone for most customers, many are demanding that products fit into the natural or even vegan category, and this is where ancient Ayurvedic and other beauty care practices are able to fill a burgeoning gap ethically and successfully.
Neem presents the beauty care field with a wonderful opportunity to be an integral part of a complete holistic experience. With an infinite variety of natural beauty care products that combine neem and other powerful Ayurvedic extracts easily available, many are now adopting this incredible natural boon.
Mituri Pradip Sharma is the marketing/PR lead for Nim-Véda Australia and is a print journalist, having worked at Australia’s second largest publishing house, Express Publications and News Corp. She writes extensively in the organic health space, particularly around holistic body care and hair care as well as foods. Having worked in the organic cosmetic products sector since she was 14 years old, Mituri’s passion for natural health solutions started young and continues to grow and blossom as she learns more about Mother Nature and her infinite ability to take care of all living beings. You can reach her on Twitter at @NimVedaAust, on Facebook, Google+ and via email at [email protected].