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Neem oil - great for those unpleasant things

Written by Jacqui on October 22nd, 2012.      0 comments

neemNeem oil has been treasured for thousands of years in India, extracted from the seeds of trees that may be 200 years old. Traditionally it was used to treat skin conditions and many other afflictions.
It has a strong aroma and brownish colour, which make it tricky to use in skincare products. But in some situations we don’t mind a bit, because it’s an effective alternative to really unpleasant chemical treatments for really unpleasant conditions.
  • When my mother came out of hospital and was itchy around the back of her neck, the doctor suspected scabies. There was nothing visible, but he suggested applying neem oil to stop further developments! A day later, no more itching.
  • Moving a little higher up… some children have a terrible time with head lice. Maybe there is a genetic element –I know twin girls (not identical) who react totally differently to the presence of lice – one is never affected, the other often picks them up.  Neem oil is a non-toxic alternative to chemicals. Mix with jojoba oil, which has an affinity with hair.
  • Fungal infections of the feet or nails are another unpleasant thing that respond well to neem oil.  
  • And at the less horrible end of the spectrum: a hair oil of jojoba mixed with neem is great for treating dandruff.
  • It is also effective at dealing with insect pests in the garden, but doesn’t harm bees or ladybugs. I make a simple spray in a trigger-top bottle, with about 5% neem oil, about 5% liquid soap, and 90% water. I’ve never seen dead insects, so maybe it works as a repellant more than a killing agent. Whatever, my veges and young trees stop being eaten! My recipe is stronger than those I’ve seen on the net – 5ml to a litre is typical, so maybe that’s a good ratio to start with. Shake regularly while spraying!
    Neem’s anti-fungal properties mean this spray is also useful against things like powdery mildew and black spot.
So… try it in your problem areas – you’ll be delighted with the results. And I know I’ve become accustomed to the distinctive aroma – I don’t exactly like it, but it has such good associations that I’m very happy to have it around!