Neem is a tree. The bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicine. Less frequently, the root, flower, and fruit are also used.
- Neem leaf is used for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody nose, intestinal worms, stomachupset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease (gingivitis), and liverproblems. The leaf is also used for birth control and to cause abortions.
- The bark is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases, pain, and fever.
- The flower is used for reducing bile, controlling phlegm, and treating intestinal worms.
- The fruit is used for hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, urinary tract disorders, bloody nose, phlegm, eye disorders, diabetes, wounds, and leprosy.
- Neem twigs are used for cough, asthma, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, low spermlevels, urinary disorders, and diabetes. People in the tropics sometimes chew neem twigs instead of using toothbrushes, but this can cause illness; neem twigs are often contaminated with fungi within 2 weeks of harvest and should be avoided.
- The seed and seed oil are used for leprosy and intestinal worms. They are also used for birth control and to cause abortions.
The stem, root bark, and fruit are used as a tonic and astringent.
- Some people apply neem directly to the skin to treat head lice, skin diseases, wounds, and skin ulcers; as a mosquito repellent; and as a skin softener.
Inside the vagina, neem is used for birth control.
- Neem is also used as an insecticide.
- Neem contains chemicals that might help reduce blood sugar levels, heal ulcers in the digestive tract, prevent conception, kill bacteria and prevent plaque formation in the mouth.
- Neem is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for up to 10 weeks, when applied inside the mouth for up to 6 weeks, or when applied to the skin for up to 2 weeks. When neem is taken in large doses or for long periods of time, it isPOSSIBLY UNSAFE. It might harm the kidneys and liver.
- Children: Taking neem seeds or oil by mouth is LIKELY UNSAFE for children. Serious side effects in infants and small children can happen within hours after taking neem oil. These serious side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, blood disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, brain disorders, and death.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Neem oil and neem bark are LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy. They can cause a miscarriage.
Not enough is known about the safety of need during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
- “Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Neem might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using neem.
- Diabetes: There is some evidence that neem can lower blood sugar levels and might cause blood sugar to go too low. If you have diabetes and use neem, monitor your blood sugar carefully. It might be necessary to change the dose of your diabetes medication.
- Reduced ability to have children (infertility): There is some evidence that neem can harm sperm. It might also reduce fertility in other ways. If you are trying to have children, avoid using neem.
- Organ transplant: There is a concern that neem might decrease the effectiveness of medications that are used to prevent organ rejection. Do not use neem if you have had an organ transplant.
- Surgery: Neem might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using neem at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Lithium interacts with NEEM: Neem might have an effect like a water pill or “diuretic.” Taking neem might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with NEEM: Neem might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking neem along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
- Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with NEEM: Neem might increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, neem might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
- Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
Antelaea azadirachta, Arishta, Arishtha, Azadirachta indica, Bead Tree, Holy Tree, Huile de Neem, Indian Lilac, Indian Neem, Lilas des Indes, Lilas de Perse, Margosa, Margosa Tree, Margousier, Margousier à Feuilles de Frêne, Margousier d’Inde, Melia azadirachta, Neem Oil, Neem Tree, Melia azadirachta, Nim, Nimb, Nimba, Persian Lilac, Pride of China.
Source: WebMd, “Neem”, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/