Many people ask, "What is neem used for?" The neem tree's uses are many, and its benefits nearly magical. It has been called in Ayurvedic medicine a pharmacy in a jar for its many medicinal uses. Many parts of the neem tree, including the bark and neem oils, are used in cosmetics, skin care products, toothpaste and mouthwash, and even organic insecticides.
LoveToKnow spoke with Dakshina Vanzetti, president of Auromère Ayurvedic Imports, a company that produces neem-based health and beauty products. Auromère began 30 years ago as a small, community-owned business. The company helped introduce Ayurvedic products into the United States market. Auromère's mission is to "bring the ancient spiritual and traditional healing wisdom of India and a higher consciousness within reach of our modern, fast-paced lives." The company is owned by the non-profit Integral Yoga community. All of the proceeds from sales of their products go back into the community and help support schools and other organizations in the United States and India.
Ayurveda, The Science of Life
LoveToKnow (LTK): What is Ayurveda?
Dakshina Vanzetti (DV): The name Ayurveda literally means 'the science of life.' It's an ancient system of promoting health and rejuvenation with natural herbs and minerals that began over 3000 years ago, with the legend of the great sage, Dhanwantari. According to legend, as he sat in meditation in the midst of a forest, Nature revealed the curative and therapeutic properties of each tree, plant, herb, root, mineral and flower to him. These beneficial links between the vegetable, mineral and human worlds were documented and passed down through the centuries in a science that promotes bodily, psychological and spiritual health through the cultivation of a conscious, healthy diet and lifestyle. The practice of Ayurveda aims at a harmonious balance of Nature's three subtle energies, the doshas: vata, pitta and kapha, which are present in all life and matter and represent the key to maintaining and recovering a total well-being.
All About Neem
LTK: What is Neem?
DV: Neem (Azadirachta indica) is an amazing tree that grows wild all over India. In rural areas, it is practically considered to be a village pharmacy, because all the parts of tree are used for myriad medicinal and therapeutic purposes: leaves, bark, roots, flowers and seeds. For thousands of years the people of India have chewed the fresh Neem twigs as a remarkably effective natural toothbrush.
Neem has been recognized and esteemed in ancient Ayurvedic texts and in our own time by the U.S. National Research Council in its report, Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems. Its leaves and bark are traditionally used to heal rashes, minor wounds, and as a dentifrice. Naturally astringent and antiseptic, it is effective against bleeding gums, myriad of skin conditions, and scalp problems. Neem is a featured ingredient in many products in the Auromère Ayurvedic line.
LTK: What are the Health Benefits of Neem?
DV: Used externally, neem is naturally astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal. The leaves can also be prescribed for internal use in lowering blood sugar, healing ulcers and eradicating intestinal parasites. And then there are the health benefits to the planet with its agricultural use as an earth-friendly insecticide and repellent. Because neem is made from natural ingredients, it does not put any harmful chemicals back into the water or soil when it is used in products.
LTK: What Research Supports Health Claims for Neem?
DV: Most of the therapeutic uses are derived from the ancient Ayurvedic texts, such as the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita which are about 5000 years old. However, there are a number of modern studies on many aspects of Neem, from medicinal uses to agricultural applications as a natural insect repellent and non-toxic insecticide. You can read the study online.
There's another book available as a PDF that I recommend called Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems. It is available from the U.S. Research Council. You can read it free online, or there is a small fee to download it.
Auromère's Neem Products
LTK: Can You Tell Us More About Auromère?
DV: The purity and effectiveness of the Ayurvedic ingredients, formulations and manufacturing procedures make Auromère products distinctively different and delightfully powerful for maintaining health, well-being, and beauty. Products include toothpaste, handmade soaps, neem balm, shampoo, mud bath, massage oil, body lotion, aromatherapy incense and more. In addition, Auromère imports a wide range of books on Ayurveda, holistic health, Integral Yoga, and classical spiritual texts from India.
The company works closely with its suppliers in India to ensure the highest quality, authentic, natural products, engaging local specialists, practitioners and cottage industries which provide employment in local village communities in various parts of the country.
LTK: How is Neem Used in Auromère Products?
DV: Neem bark extract is used in Auromère Toothpaste for its excellent effect as a dentifrice and antiseptic, antibacterial and analgesic properties for treatment of gum disorders.The leaf extract is used in Auromère soaps and hair care products for skin and scalp treatment. Neem oil is used as a natural antibacterial emollient in several Auromère products.
The Auromère Neem Balm offers all these benefits of neem in a base of complementary Ayurvedic oils that amplifies its therapeutic effect and mitigates the otherwise strong sulfur smell of pure neem.
LTK: What Do You Think is the Strongest Benefit of Neem?
DV: I would say its versatility, as there are so many uses. It really lives up to its name as an "Ayurveda Pharmacy in a Jar". We have some customers that are using it with remarkable success for serious skin ailments like eczema, where strong and costly pharmaceutical medications have failed.
The Indian people revere this tree as a Divine gift to mankind, to heal and to soothe its many ills, and its flowers even have been given the significance of "Spiritual Atmosphere". I feel gratitude for this amazing tree that grows so abundantly in the harshest of conditions and so aptly manifests the healing, harmonizing wisdom of both Nature and Spirit.
For more information on Auromere's neem-based products, please visit Auromere.com or call 800-735-4691