In India, neem is known as “the wonder tree”—and with good reason. This powerful plant is an excellent cleanser and blood purifier that supports clear, radiant skin and overall health.
Neem (Azadirachta indica, or Indian lilac) is a fast-growing evergreen tree that’s native to India and neighboring areas, and it has long been treasured for its medicinal uses. For centuries, people in India have juiced neem leaves to get glowing skin, sipped neem tea for a whole-body tonic, chewed neem bark to clean their teeth and strengthen their gums, and used it in a variety of other ways.
Today, neem is easier than ever to use. Once known as “the village pharmacy” in rural India, neem is becoming increasingly popular in the West, where science is starting to support its efficacy, and it appears in both pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. Here are a few reasons to explore neem as part of your daily skincare and hygiene routine.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ; it works hard to regulate your temperature while protecting your muscles, bones, and internal organs. It’s also a clear reflection of your overall health, according to Ayurvedic wisdom. Because neem is a whole-body cleanser that purifies the blood, it naturally supports clear and healthy skin. Research also shows that neem has antioxidant properties.
Our Organic Neem formula is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an overall detoxifier that promotes radiant skin and eases the occasional breakout. For more deep-cleansing skincare, try our Radiant Skin and Elim-Tox formulas, which contain neem leaf and bark in a synergistic formula with other Ayurvedic botanicals. These formulas purify and nourish the skin while flushing toxins out through the sweat glands.
Neem is wonderfully effective at cleansing deep toxins from the mouth and teeth, and it also nourishes and supports delicate gum tissue. To keep your pearly whites gleaming, try brushing with Ayurdent Toothpaste, which contains neem but does not contain unwanted ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and synthetic preservatives. Worried neem might leave your mouth tasting strange? Fear not: our Ayurdent leaves a minty-fresh aftertaste.
Word to the wise: for an even cleaner mouth, be sure to squeeze in your tongue scraping and oil pulling before you brush in the morning. Once you start scraping morning and evening, you’ll never stop! Check out our premium Sterling Silver Scraper.
Because neem has a bitter taste, it helps to balance both Pitta and Kapha dosha. In addition to purifying the skin and mouth, it can also be used synergistically in a wide range of Ayurvedic formulas that target excess heat or moisture in the channels, as in our Protection Plus Sinuses and Protection Plus Respiratory System supplements. In these formulas, neem works in tandem with ingredients like Boerhavia and Holy Basil to detoxify and nourish the respiratory channels.
Your skin can reveal a lot about how well the rest of your body is functioning—or what stressors it’s under—at any given moment. Occasional breakouts, blemishes, and other Pitta- and Kapha-related eruptions might be a sign that it’s time to reset your digestion, refine your diet, or try some of the Ayurvedic skin-nurturing formulas mentioned above. Weak digestion can lead to ama, or toxins, in your system and this can result in skin breakouts.
There is no better way to release the accumulated ama in your skin than to do an ayurvedic massage, also known as Abhyanga. Click here for a video on how to do Abhyanga and to learn about our dosha-balancing oils. Support neem with Abhyanga!
Stress, travel, and other lifestyle factors can also play a role in the fluctuations of your skin—which works hard to purify and balance the entire body. Often, your skin will respond well to just a few simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments. True beauty radiates from within, as the saying goes, so be sure you’re getting enough rest and tending to your inner bliss!
Meanwhile, to help support your skin in doing what it does best (purifying and protecting), consider giving neem a try.
© 1999, 2021 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This content was originally published here.