Neem in the News: Report on its Antibiotic and Antioxidant Properties
Since so many of our customers use neem specifically for skin issues, we’re always delighted when we see research that focuses on skincare rather than more serious issues. The latest report is kind of combination – it looks at neem as an antibacterial and an antioxidant in cosmetic products in the larger context of disease prevention.
Published in the June 2019 issue of the peer-reviewed journal, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which is part of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research, the researchers took on two of the most important challenges in medicine today.
THIS REPORT IS PROVIDED AS INFORMATION ONLY. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. NEEM TREE FARMS DOES NOT SELL PRODUCTS WHICH ARE INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE.
First, they specifically looked at multi-drug resistant bacteria and compared various neem extracts to traditional antibiotics that have become less likely to be effective. They also looked at free radicals – implicated in diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s and arthritis to cancer, Parkinson’s and even wrinkles – and compared neem to known free radical scavengers.
In almost every case, neem soap and neem cream were equal to or outperformed the alternatives most likely to be prescribed. To test antibacterial properties, researchers used one of the newest and most potent drugs, ciprofloxacin, which also can have severe side effects in some people, against seven different pathogens.
They used the recognized antioxidants Vitamin C and rutin as controls to test activity against two types of free radicals – nitric oxide and lipid peroxyl – associated with skin inflammation, blood disease and other oxidative stress ailments. (Inflammation, of course, is what causes the itching from mosquito bites, the pain of a toothache and the bright redness caused by acne and other skin disorders.)
One of the more interesting findings – from our perspective as major fans of neem bark – is that soap and cream made with neem bark extract were more effective than those with neem oil or neem leaf extract, both as antibiotics and as free radical scavengers. The researchers also noted that it is likely to be the first time the neem leaf and bark were tested for enhanced bioactivity in cosmetics versus the standard reliance on neem oil for topical application.
We’ve always used neem leaf extract in our creams, lotions and soaps, but we’ll be changing formulations to include neem bark extract in upcoming products. Our rejuvenating neem leaf cream, made using a formulation provided by Korean researchers, does include supercritical neem leaf extract.
And while this study doesn’t address the internal use of neem, it does provide the first-ever research to validate our ongoing focus on neem bark in products like the Six-Way Neem Capsules and our neem bark mouthwash.
The full report is available at no charge online at https://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12906-019-2538-0.