Although relatively unknown in the US, neem is a cornerstone of the ancient Ayurvedic healthcare system and is one of the most widely used medicinal herbs in the world. * Americans, however, are more likely to recognize neem as an EPA-registered pesticide that’s non-toxic and has no adverse effect on beneficial insects including bees.
Established in 1992, Neem Tree Farms is now the oldest and largest independent producer of neem trees and products in the U.S. We offer a complete line of products for people, pets and plants, including more all-natural products than any other major manufacturer. Additionally, almost all of our neem products contain more neem than those offered by our competitors. Nearly every product we sell has neem as the first ingredient, and many of our products – including the 6-Way Neem Capsules, Nothing but Neem Chew Sticks, and Neem Bark Toothpowder – are significantly more concentrated than competing brands.
Neem for Plants
From the perspective of a company founded by an environmentalist who is also chemically sensitive, perhaps the nicest thing about neem is the fact that it’s less toxic than any other known pesticide – and even safer to eat than similar amounts of salt (although we don’t recommend that it’s ingested).
Although a report from the National Academy Press notes that neem oil controls up to 200 insect pests, the EPA-registered NimBioSys is specifically labeled to treat the pests most likely to cause destruction.
- Stink Bugs
- Mealy Bugs
- Nematodes (when used as a soil drench)
However, it’s important to note that you won’t typically get an “upside-down cockroach” effect using neem oil as a pesticide. Instead of outright killing pests, neem oil controls them by a variety of methods, including simply repelling them, disrupting metamorphosis of their larva, and even limiting communications so that they can’t mate.
In fact, we think neem is a truly amazing tree. It is almost never attacked by insects, but bees flock to its flowers for nectar and birds can strip a tree of ripe fruit in hours – and the tree benefits because it’s flowers are pollinated and its fruit is spread.
Chemically, neem oil contains carbon, hydrogen and oxygen with none of the compounds typically found in synthetic pesticides. The EPA has determined that neem oil is GRAS – generally recognized as safe – and exempted it from tolerance levels on food. NimBioSys can be sprayed on vegetable or fruit crops the same day they are harvested.
Neem for People
It’s more difficult to describe neem from a medicinal perspective because no company has worked with the Food and Drug Administration to complete the multi-million-dollar trials that would prove it to be safe and effective to treat any disease. (Although it’s difficult to tell from some competing websites, it is illegal to sell a product labeled to treat a disease without FDA approval.)
Known as “the village pharmacy” in its native India and “the tree of 40 cures” in Africa where it has been naturalized, neem trees contain more than 100 separate compounds that help explain its enormous potential. Over the last 20 years, more than 1,000 reports have been published around the world. Most are documented on the National Institutes of Health website – just search for neem and the condition you are interested in.
That said, one of the few claims the FDA does allow is that neem is a powerful immune system booster – so powerful, in fact, that people (including men) should not take it internally if they are trying to get pregnant. People with auto-immune diseases – including lupus, MS and rheumatoid arthritis – also should avoid using neem internally.
The science is very complicated but neem leaf extract apparently increases the number and/or activity of a variety of cells that have different functions in boosting the immune system and maintaining human health. Along with increasing your body’s production of white blood cells, neem leaf extract activates other cells that help your body respond more effectively.
From a long-term health perspective, neem leaf and bark are potent sources of antioxidants, with neem bark earning an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) of 476. That compares to the more well-known blueberries at 62.20 and cranberries at 94.56.
Externally, neem contains high levels of long-chain fatty acids that quickly soak into skin and provide benefits where they are most needed. Our lotion, cream, conditioner and shampoo are all:
- Sulfate free
- Contain parabens, phthalates or sodium laureth sulfates
- pH balanced
- No artificial colors or fragrances
- Safe for chemically treated hair
- Gentle on sensitive skin and scalps
Neem for Pets
Feeding neem leaf or bark to your pets (including dogs and cats and well as chickens, homing pigeons, goats and cattle) offers many of the same benefits to the animals as it does to people. By boosting their immune systems, the animals produce more of the cells that help protect them. Neem oil, or one of our concentrated Anti-Itch Formulas, also boosts their skin’s immune system, helping to prevent dry, irritated skin.
Neem oil, however, is not EPA approved to treat any of the parasites that may plague your pets, including fleas, ticks, worms or mites.
Grow Your Own Neem Tree
We actually started Neem Tree Farms expecting to grow and sell raw neem leaf and bark. We’re a little too far north to compete with growers in tropical countries, but the trees thrive in our Florida greenhouses and we currently operate the largest neem farm in the country. Neem trees, as well as fresh neem leaf and neem chew sticks are available year-round, as long as temperatures stay above freezing in our customer’s
Based on customer requests, we also grow a wide variety of other Ayurvedic herbs including holy basil (tulsi), ashwagandha, brahmi (bacopa) and betel leaf.
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