Neem in the News: Inflammation

 In General

If you ever wanted proof that even hard science changes pretty quickly, the first neem booklets we published in 2000 and 2014 just mentioned anti-inflammatory as a bullet point. Obviously, it was somewhat important, but not enough to deserve a whole chapter.

Part of your body’s immune system, the inflammation response makes it possible for wounds, infections, sprains and other damage to heal. Chronic inflammation, however, is implicated in a wide variety of health problems —  and 3 of 5 people worldwide die due to chronic inflammatory diseases like stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, heart disorders, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.


Many of those diseases will end up with their own chapters, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as cancer, oral care, strokes and respiratory disease, so we’ll focus on neem’s incredible ability to minimize itching – an easy-to-see form of inflammation — along with more specific issues that don’t need a full chapter to document.

Ironically, it was chronic itching that was the final stroke that made us decide to start a company rather than just using neem ourselves. One of our dearest friends is a Vietnam vet who came home with enough shrapnel in his spine to throw off the metal detectors in airport – a super-strong person who just rolls over pain – until he got chiggers. It was our first experiment on anybody but ourselves and our dogs, but we gave him some straight neem oil to try.

He felt better in hours.

That’s been the response we’ve gotten from nearly everyone who has tried neem oil topically for itches, even itches from hard-to-control insects like head lice and mites. (Neem is not registered to kill or repel them, it just helps with the itching.)

Itching isn’t exactly what your average researcher wants to document, but at least two reports indicate that neem can be highly effective, either topically or ingested.

The most recent, published in Inflammopharmacology, looks at the of neem effect in mice with scleroderma, an auto-immune disorder which causes skin to harden. “Nimbolide (a compound found in neem) “profoundly caused the regression of established inflammation-driven fibrosis.”

Neem was one of only three plant-based products to help patients with psoriasis in a report published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,  although the researchers did not specifically address a mode of action.

At the same time, clinical trials around the world also are showing some amazing results in multiple issues related to inflammation:

Chronic respiratory inflammation in mice caused by cigarette smoke treated with neem leaf extract was “significantly attenuated.” The multiple modes of action also suggest that neem leaf extract would be helpful in treating other kinds of COPD, according to researchers from South Korea published in the peer-reviewed Internal Journal of Molecular Medicine.

Neem is as effective as ibuprofen in treating joint pains (another form of chronic inflammation) when measured by key cytokines typically activated by inflammation. Researchers published in Natural Products Communications showed two key cytokines dropped among mice treated with neem or licorice.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin are often used to prevent colon cancer, but researchers at the University of Texas have shown that supercritical extract of neem reduces both cell proliferation and inflammation in vitro. NSAIDs, they note, have been proven to be a promising avenue for colorectal cancer prevention, but are too toxic to be used over the long-term.

Of course, most of us are more worried about the day-to-day dings that cause itching and big black blotches on our skin. Here’s a couple of reports from users on the difference they’ve seen since using neem:

This oil is great for anyone who works and plays outdoors. The oils nourish the skin and citronella discourages biting bugs. Sometimes I use in on my scalp for itchy skin and the spicy lavender and cedar fragrance and soothing oils improve my sleep.

Letha, NYC

Best anti-itch product I ever used. Improved dry scaly patch on my husband’s forehead in 1 day, and was totally healed in 2!!
Amazing stuff.

Christine, NY

This my 3rd order of Neem Anti-itch formula. I have an autoimmune disease that causes itchiness & can be exacerbated during warm weather. After extensively trying different products, I finally found relief with Neem Anti-Itch. A lttle goes a long way so it is very cost-effective. The smell is not that pleasant but it’s a compromise to finally being able to control itching to get good night sleep. Recently order some for my sister undergoing chemo and having side effects of itchiness. Highly recommend.

Venita, Tyler TX

I received a sample of this last year and re-discovered it a few days ago just in time! For the past six weeks I’ve had a rash which the doctor said is contact dermatitis. Was using aloe vera and the neem facial scrub to keep it in check but it never completely cleared it out. Then I used the anti-itch formula sample and in TWO days it’s visibly disappearing and there is no itching! So now I’m ordering a full bottle! Really impressed!

Louann T., Livermore, TX

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