Neem Leaf Extract

Title: NEEM

Category: Herb

SYNONYMS/COMMON NAMES/RELATED SUBSTANCES

6-desacetyllnimbinene, Azadirachta indica, Azadirachta indica ADR, Azadirachta indica A. juss, azadirachtin,

azadirachtin A, bead tree, beta-sitosterol, Bioneem™, dogonyaro, holy tree, immobile, Indian lilac, isomeldenin, limonoids, margosa, margosa oil, Meliaceae (family), Neemix™, neem flowers, neem-based pesticide, neem kernel powder (NP), neem leaf alcoholic extract (NLE), neem oil, neem seed kernel, neem seed oil, Nim, NIM-76, nimba, nimbandiol, nimbin, nimbinene, nimocinol, Persian lilac, Praneem polyherbal cream, Pride of China, quercetin, village of pharmacy.

Scientific Name: Azadirachta indica, synonyms Antelaea azadirachta, Melia azadirachta.

Neem Names in Different Countries

U.S.A : Neem

Latin America : Nim

Spain : Paraiso de India, Margosa

United Kingdom : Indian Lilac, Neem

France : Azadirac de I'Inde, Margosier, Margousier

Germany : Indischer Zedrach, Grossblaettiger Zedrach, Niem, Nim, Niembaum

Burma : Tamaka, Bowtamaka, Thin, Thinboro Tamakha, Tamabin, Tama

Pakistan : Nimuri, Nimmi, Limbo

Malaysia : Dawoon-mambu, Baypay

Indonesia : Mempheuh, Imba, Intaran, Mindi, Mimb

Kenya : Muarubaini

Iran : Neeb, Azad Darakth e Hind, Nib

Portugal : Margosa, Amargoseira, Nimbo

Singapore : Kohumba, Nimba

Sri Lanka : Nimbu-nimbagaha Thailand : Sadao India, Kwinin, Dao Yemen : Meraimarah

Australia : Neem

Papua New Guinea : Neem

Fiji : Neem

Nigeria : Babo Yaro, Dogon Yaro Tanzania : Mwarobaini Madagascar : Nim

 

Botanical Description

The name is derived from the Persian word "azaddhirakt" which means "noble tree".

Kingdom : Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta Class: Magnoliopsida Order: Sapindales

Family:Meliaceae, The mahogany tree family

Genus: Azadirachta

Species: A. indica

Scientific/Botanical Name:Azadirachta indica

 

CLINICAL BOTTOM LINE

For more than 5,000 years, Ayurvedic healers have depended upon the neem tree to treat various illnesses. In Sanskrit, neem is translated as “nimba” and becomes the basis of an ancient saying “Neem, to give good health” or “the curer of all ailments.”

The bark, seeds, leaves, fruit, gum and oils of the neem tree contain pharmacological constituents which offer some impressive therapeutic qualities, including:

•      Antiviral: capable of destroying viruses

•      Antifungal: able to destroy fungi

•      Antimicrobial: able to inhibit or destroy the growth of disease-causing organisms

•      Antibacterial: able to destroys or inhibit the growth of bacteria

•      Antipyretic: able to lower body temperature or prevent or alleviate fever

Today, Hindu rituals call for drinking neem tea as part of the festival of Gudi-Padvo, which is celebrated in late March when Spring begins. In a hot and humid climate like India, Summer is the season when people traditionally contract fevers and flu. Indians still call the neem “The Village Pharmacy” and use it to treat many ailments that continue to challenge modern medicine, including viruses like the flu and common cold.

Modern research is confirming those traditional uses26-72. And while none of it specifically focuses on human beings with colds or flu, universities from Bangalore to Baltimore are reporting exciting results in treating the viruses that cause disorders ranging from genital herpes to dengu fever.

The neem leaf extract has been used successfully in the past to combat/control various Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Studies show that a neem-based cream used as a vaginal lubricant is effective against organisms such as Trichomonas, Candida, and Giardinella vaginalis that cause vaginal infections (Khan and Wassilew, 1987)19; (Garg, et al, 1993)20.

Other studies have indicated neem can be effective against the types of bacteria that cause syphilis and gonorrhea (Rao, 1992)22; (Sankaram, 1987)21. These studies are only preliminary but promising and more research is being done in this area.

 

Immunity Booster:

The fact that neem affects the cell-mediated immune system is particularly important to most people. Led by "Killer T" cells, the cell-mediated immune system is the body's first defense against infection. Killer T-cells are able to destroy microbes, viruses and cancer cells by injecting toxic chemicals into the invaders. Neem also boosts the body's macrophage response, which stimulates the lymphocytic system, and boosts production of white blood cells.

Neem oil acts as a non-specific immunostimulant and that it selectively activates the cell-mediated immune

mechanisms to elicit an enhanced response to subsequent mitogenic or antigenic challenges. Since ages Neem has proven very effective against virus, bacteria and parasites.

Scientific studies indicate that neem BOOSTS the immune system by energizing lymphocytes cells to respond to infection and other challenges to the body's immunity.

 

Tuberculosis and Neem:

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that has been thought conquered untilrecently. New strains resistant to antibiotics are claiming increasing numbers of lives. Those weakened by AIDS are particularly susceptible but, as an airborne disease, it is very contagious. Neem has shown antitubercular activity in sensitized guinea pigs (Murthyand Sirsi, 1958)23.

Another isolate, nimbidin, was extremely effective at controlling the cause of tuberculosis in humans, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.(Chopra, 1958)24

The leaf extract was the most effective form of neem and showed inhibition at dilutions of 1 part in 80,000.

 

Herpes and neem

Research indicates that Neem is a powerful tool to fight viral infections, including the herpes virus. Neem may be applied topically to any areas of the body during an outbreak or just prior, when stress is high and we begin to get that ‘feeling’ that often occurs just before an outbreak. To speed relief, one may also take the oral supplements, such as Neem leaf capsules.

Tests in Germany show that neem extracts are toxic to the herpes virus and can quickly heal cold sores (Schmutterer, 1992)25. There has been a scientific study at Johns Hopkins University in 1997 where researchers tested the effect of neem against the herpes simplex virus-2, and found it "provided significant protection". The scientists haven't been able to exactly figure out how it works, but neem seems to make it difficult for viruses to reproduce. This means the impact of any viral infection will be a lot less.

Neem also boosts the immune system and that also helps to fight off the virus. It definitely works.

Warts and Neem

Neem absorbs viruses and prevents them from infecting cells. Since warts are caused by viruses, neem is effective in treating them.

Therefore we can see that neem boosts the immune system on all levels while helping the body fight infection.

It stimulates the production of T-cells to mount a head-on attack against infections. Unlike synthetic antibiotics, neem does not destroy beneficial bacteria and other micro-organisms needed to maintain optimum health. Some medical experts believe that the overuse of chemical antibiotics is contributing to the breakdown of human immune function. Neem offers a non-toxic alternative to powerful and sometimes-damaging prescription medicines.

 

USES & EFFECTIVENESS:

The uses of neem are remarkably diverse. In India, the sap is used for treating fevers, general debilitation, digestive disturbances, and skin diseases; the bark gum for respiratory diseases and other infections; the leaves for digestive problems, intestinal parasites, and viral infections; the fruit for debilitation, malaria, skin diseases, and intestinal parasites; and the seed and kernel oil for diabetes, fevers, fungal infections, bacterial infections, inflammatory diseases, fertility prevention, and as an insecticide.1,2  However, there is no reliable research evidence to support any of these uses. Neem bark extracts are effective for people with stomach ulcers, leaf gel can effectively fight periodontal disease, and leaf extracts can combat scabies infections.14, 15, 16 The claimed contraceptive effects of neem have been confirmed in some animal studies showing that seed extracts of neem are spermicidal.17

As with many plant products, test tube studies indicate that, on direct contact, neem can kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.4-8   This does not mean, however, that neem acts as a systemic antibiotic if it is taken by mouth. Neem mouthwash or chewing gum might be helpful for preventing cavities because it can directly come in contact with cavity-causing bacteria,4,8   but this has not been proven.

On the basis of extremely preliminary evidence, neem has also been advocated as a treatment for diabetes.9

 

SIDE EFFECTS & SAFETY:

Based on its extensive traditional use, neem seems to be quite safe. However, formal safety testing has only involved neem oil, the insecticide product made from the plant. While neem has been found adequately safe for use as an insecticide, animal studies suggest that long-term oral use of neem oil might produce toxic effects.10,11

In addition, other animal studies suggest that whole neem extract (which includes more substances than neem oil) may damage chromosomes, at least when taken in high doses or for an extended period of time.3,12

There are no studies that show that neem is safe during pregnancy. It is thought that neem might have the ability to cause miscarriages (or to prevent pregnancy in the first place) by stimulating a woman's immune system to attack the developing embryo. Until more information is available, neem should be considered unsafe for pregnant women. Because neem might have contraceptive effects (in both men and women), couples trying to conceive should not use neem. It should not be assumed that a natural product is always safe or is any safer than a conventional medication. Similarly, just because other women have safely used neem (or any other herb or medication) during pregnancy does not mean that it is truly safe.

If you are pregnant, it is always a good idea to have a discussion with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including neem.

It is recommend that young children, pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease avoid use of neem.

INTERACTIONS:

Neem can potentially interact with several medications. Some of these medicines that may lead to neem drug interactions include:

Diabetes medications (including both oral diabetes medications and insulin) Immunosuppressants, such as:

Azathioprine (Imuran®)

Certain biologic medications, such as: Abatacept (Orencia®)

Adalimumab (Humira®)

Alefacept (Amevive®) Alemtuzumab (Campath®)

Anakinra (Kineret™) Basiliximab (Simulect®) Canakinumab (Ilaris®) Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia®) Daclizumab (Zenapax®)

Eculizumab (Soliris®) Efalizumab (Raptiva®) Etanercept (Enbrel®)

Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg®) Glatiramer (Copaxone®)

Golimumab (Simponi™) Infliximab (Remicade®) Ibritumomab (Zevalin®)

Muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone OKT®) Natalizumab (Tysabri®)

Ofatumumab (Arzerra™) Rilonacept (Arcalyst™) Rituximab (Rituxan®) Tositumomab (Bexxar®) Ustekinumab (Stelara™)

Corticosteroids, such as: Betamethasone (Celestone®) Corticotropin Cortisone

Dexamethasone (Decadron®) Fludrocortisone (Florinef®) Hydrocortisone (Cortef®)

Methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol®, Medrol®) Prednisolone (Pediapred®)

Prednisone

Triamcinolone (Kenalog®)

Cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Neoral®, Sandimmune®) Methotrexate (Rheumatrex®)

Mycophenolate (CellCept®) Sirolimus (Rapamune®)

Tacrolimus (Prograf®)

Lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®).

 

The following sections explain in detail the potentially negative interactions that can occur when neem is combined with any of the drugs listed above.

 

Diabetes Medications

Theoretically, combining neem with diabetes medications might increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Check with your healthcare provider before taking neem with a diabetes drug, as you may need to monitor your blood sugar more closely.

 

Immunosuppressants

Theoretically, neem may stimulate the immune system, making immunosuppressants less effective. This might be dangerous since some immunosuppressants are life-saving medications (such as medicines used to prevent the rejection of an organ transplant). Check with your healthcare before taking neem if you take an immunosuppressant.

 

Lithium

Theoretically, neem could increase the level of lithium in the blood (and, therefore, increase the risk of side effects of lithium). Do not take neem with lithium without your healthcare provider's approval and supervision.

Final Thoughts on Neem Drug Interactions:

It is possible that not all neem drug interactions were discussed. Therefore, you should talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider about any specific drug interactions with neem that may apply to you.

 

DOSING/TOXICOLOGY:

Because of the numerous parts of the neem tree used, and the many different ways these can be prepared, the only advice is to follow the directions on the label of the neem product you purchase.

As with most herbal supplements, the best (most effective and safe) doses for neem have not been scientifically established yet. Therefore, most neem dosing recommendations are based on practical experience or traditional usage of neem.

Neem has been studied very little in humans. As a result, there is very little good information about the safest and most effective neem dosages for any use. Practitioners of natural medicine may recommend a neem dosage based on their practical experience with neem and traditional usage. It seems reasonable to follow such recommendations, since no other information is available. Similarly, it is probably reasonable to simply follow the dosing instructions on your particular neem product.

However, keep in mind that there is no guarantee that such recommended neem dosages are either safe or effective. Also, it is important to know that neem seems to be especially toxic in young children and infants, and it should probably be assumed that any neem dosage may be unsafe in children.

Some considerations for people taking neem include:

* Since the manufacturing of supplements (such as neem) is not closely regulated, it is important to choose a trustworthy manufacturer for neem supplements. Your pharmacist can help you choose a neem supplement from a reliable manufacturer.

* If you have any chronic health problems or take any prescription medications, it is probably a good idea to check with your healthcare provider before taking neem.

* If you are unsure about anything related to your dosage or neem dosing in general, please talk with your healthcare provider.

 

MECHANISM OF ACTION:

From the common cold that sweeps through neighborhoods every winter to AIDS, West Nile and avian flu, viral infections are among the most challenging facing researchers around the world. Neem has traditionally been used as an antiviral, and animal and laboratory research shows promising results. While researchers still have not pinpointed how neem works, it appears that compounds in neem may make it difficult for the virus to reproduce, thus minimizing the impact of an infection.

From a purely pragmatic perspective – how soon will I feel better? -- neem also boosts your body’s immune system, kicking both the lymphocytic and cell-mediated immune systems into overdrive. Killer-T cells, part of the cell-mediated system, destroy microbes, viruses and cancer cells by injecting toxic chemicals into the

invaders. Neem also boosts the body's macrophage response, which stimulates the lymphocytic system and boosts production of white blood cells.

That combination of antiviral activities and immunostimulatory action may be why researchers in Nigeria (partially funded through an agency of the US government) reported that 10 AIDS patients given neem leaf extract for 30 days gained an average of three kilograms – more than 6.5 pounds – plus saw significant increases in key parameters including CD4+, hemoglobin and platelet counts. The researchers also found that neem leaf extract protected 75% of human cells in a test tube from the HIV virus.

One of the first modern reports of neem being used as a medicinal herb focuses on the use of a neem leaf extract as an effective antiviral published in a 1969 article in the Indian Journal of Medical Research. Nearly 20 years later, research at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore showed that neem "provided significant protection" against the herpes simplex virus-2 in mice infected with the highly infectious virus. (Contraception. 1997 Nov; 56(5):329-35)73.

More recently, a 2002 study reports that neem leaf extract inhibits the growth of Dengue virus, type 2, a viral hemorrhagic fever related to Ebola. Symptoms of viral fevers include malaise, headache, sore throat, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and hemorrhaging, typically followed by multiorgan failure and bleeding. The study used water extracts of neem at maximum non-toxic concentrations. In vitro (test tube) tests showed it completely inhibited the virus. In vivo tests conducted on mice showed the neem extract resulted in inhibition of the virus as confirmed by the absence of symptoms. (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2002 Feb;79(2):273-8)74.

Another study of "in vitro" tests indicates that neem leaf extract inactivated and interfered with the reproduction of the coxsackie B virus, one of a group of enteroviruses that are second only to the "common cold" as the most infectious viral agents in humans. The enteroviruses cause an estimated 10 to 15 million or more symptomatic infections a year in the United States. In the study, neem leaf extract inhibited plaque formation in six types of the Coxsackie virus at concentrations of 1000 micrograms per milliliter. The reports note that the neem leaf extract was most effective as a virucidal agent, and also interfered with the virus's reproductive cycle at an early stage. Additionally, researchers say the evidence suggests that the entire "battery" of compounds in neem have antiviral action for the coxsackie B group of viruses. (Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 1998 Nov; 36(11):1151-3)75.

The Indian Journal of Experimental Biology also reported that neem "significantly enhanced" antibodies against the Newcastle Disease virus - a highly contagious and generally fatal disease affecting all species of birds. The chickens in the study had been naturally infected with infectious bursal disease (IBD), a devastating virus that causes an immuno-suppressive disease in chickens. IBD is a major economic problem in most of the world, so increased antibodies against highly infectious viruses like Newcastle Disease are critically important. (Indian J Exp Biol. 1998 Nov; 36(11):1151-3)76.

Along with neem's proven ability as an antiviral agent, it also is a highly effective immune system booster. In fact, it's so effective that many researchers attribute its contraceptive properties - in both men and women - to an enhanced immune system. While scientists have not yet determined specifically how neem works, they do know it carries a one-two-three punch, boosting both the lymphocytic and cell-mediated immune systems, at the same time it kills or slows the growth of many disease-causing organisms such as bacteria, virus and fungus.

HISTORY:

Long before ancient healers had any idea of how the human body fought disease, they prescribed neem for disorders as diverse as leprosy, gastro-intestinal problems, malaria, ringworms, diabetes, colic, anorexia, boils, epilepsy and ulcers. The first two books of Ayurveda, the Caraka Samhita and Susruta Samhita, include nearly a hundred references to neem that date back two to four centuries before Christ, making it one of the oldest written documents in the world.

Of course, part of that reliance on neem comes from having a relatively limited repertoire of treatments, but many of those prescriptions are being proven today. And whether they understood immune systems or not, these wise men knew that helping the body's ability to fight off disease and repair injuries is a good first choice in almost any situation.

Beginning about 10 years ago, international researchers began to document how neem boosts immune system activity. It's such a powerful booster that some researchers have attributed its contraceptive properties - for both men and women -- to an enhanced immune system. While scientists have not yet identified specifically how neem works, they do know it carries a one-two-three punch, boosting both the lymphocytic and cell-mediated immune systems, at the same time it kills or slows the growth of many disease-causing organisms such as bacteria,virus and fungus.

The fact that neem affects the cell-mediated immune system is particularly important to most people. Led by "Killer T" cells, the cell-mediated immune system is the body's first defense against infection. Killer T-cells are able to destroy microbes, viruses and cancer cells by injecting toxic chemicals into the invaders. Neem also boosts the body's macrophage response, which stimulates the lymphocytic system, and boosts production of white blood cells.

One of the first studies showing neem's impact on the immune system was a 1992 report from the National

Institute of Immunology in India, reported in the International Journal of

Immunopharmacology. Mice injected with neem oil showed enhanced phagocytic activity and expression of

MHC class-II antigens. Spleen cells of treated animals showed a significantly higher lymphocyte proliferative response to in vitro challenges. The researchers concluded that neem oil acts as a non-specific immunostimulant and that it selectively activates the cell-mediated immune mechanisms to elicit an enhanced response to subsequent mitogenic or antigenic challenges.

Other researchers in India also have shown that neem leaf extract taken orally produces similar effects, including higher levels of white blood cells, specifically IgM and IgG levels, and antiovalbumin antibody titres. They also reported an enhancement of macrophage migration inhibition.

Reporting on the use of neem extracts as contraceptives in Immunology & Cell Biology researchers note that neem increases the TH1 type response. Although they did not discover how neem works, they did show that it boosts level of CD4 and CD8 cells in lymph nodes and spleen. An increase in immunoractive and bioactive TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma in lymph nodes and serum also was observed. That report also indicates that using neem as a vaginal contraceptive inhibits the spread of micro-organisms including Candida albicans, C. Tropicalis, Niesseria gonorrhoeae, herpes simplex-2 and HIV-1, as well as resistant strains of E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, in part by boosting immune-system activity in the vagina.

Another report in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology on using neem as a method of birth control indicates that neem initially stimulates TH1 cells and macrophages, and then causes an elevation of both immunoreactive and bioactive TNF-alpha and gammainterferon in serum and mesenteric lymph nodes.

A follow-up study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reported that long-term use of neem oil, up to 10% of body weight, showed no apparent toxic effect but completely abrogated pregnancies. Researchers conclude that neem activates cell-mediated immune responses, specifically T lymphocyte and phagocytic cells, followed by an elevation in cytokines gammainterferon and TNF.

Another study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology looked specifically at neem's modulation of humoral and cell-mediated immune response. It reports that mice treated with 100 mg/kg neem leaf extract showed higher IgM and IgG levels plus increased antiovalbumin antibody titres. They also reported enhanced macrophage migration inhibition.

A 1997 report in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology also showed an increased macrophage activity and lymphocyte proliferation response at low levels of neem (120 mg per kg of weight). At higher concentrations of neem (300 mg per kg), there was a stimulation of mitogeninduced lymphocyte proliferation.

More recent research focuses on neem's ability to help the body fight off viruses and cancer. Chickens with immunosuppressed conditions that were fed powered dry neem leaves showed significantly enhanced humeral and cell-mediated immune responses to a virus. The scientists concluded that neem leaf could be beneficial in immunosuppressed conditions in poultry.

A 1999 report published in the Journal of Communicable Diseases looked at in vitro effects of neem leaf extract on the Coxsackie B group of viruses, which are associated with a host of varied syndromes, including meningitis, pericarditis, myocarditis, upper respiratory illness and pneumonia, rash and hepatitis. It concluded that neem inhibited plaque formation and functioned as virucidal agent.

In 2000, researchers published an article in Phytotherapy Research concludes that neem leaf extract significantly alters cancer development at extra hepatic sites by influencing hepatic biotransformation enzymes and antioxidants.

One final study, conducted at Howard University in Washington, concludes that neem also has antiretroviral compounds that appear to inhibit cytoadhesion of cancer, malaria and HIV. Although most of this research has been conducted in animals and considers very specific types of antigens and infections, the overall results indicate that neem provides a significant boost to human immune systems. However, it also makes it clear that anyone (male or female) who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant should avoid using neem.

 

REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states on its website: “Disease-causing microbes that have become resistant to drug therapy are an increasing public health problem. Tuberculosis, gonorrhea, malaria, and childhood ear infections are just a few of the diseases that have become hard to treat with antibiotic drugs.”18

The FDA website also notes:

• Though food-producing animals are given antibiotic drugs for important therapeutic, disease prevention, or production reasons, these drugs can cause microbes to become resistant to drugs used to treat human illness, ultimately making some human sicknesses harder to treat.

• About 70 percent of bacteria that cause infections in hospitals are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treatinfections.

• Some organisms are resistant to all approved antibiotics and must be treated with experimental and potentially toxic drugs.

• Some research has shown that antibiotics are given to patients more often than guidelines set by federal and

other health care organizations recommend. For example, patients sometimes ask their doctors for antibiotics for a cold, cough, or the flu, all of which are viral and do not respond to antibiotics. Also, patients who are prescribed antibiotics but do not take the full dosing regimen can contribute to resistance.

• Unless antibiotic resistance problems are detected as they emerge, and actions are taken to contain them, the world could be faced with previously treatable diseases that have again become untreatable, as in the days before antibiotics were developed. Not only bacteria develop antibiotic resistance—viruses develop resistance as well. Accordingly, the need for safe, effective antivirals is also becoming paramount.

 

Research has Proven Neem to be a Powerful Anti-Viral Herb

Neem is one of just a few known anti-viral agents. In a study on neem's effectiveness as an anti-viral agent, neem seemed to interact with the surface of cells to prevent infection by the virus thereby inhibiting multiplication of the virus (Rai and Sethi, 1972)77. Similar results have been observed in studies of other viral pathogens indicating a unique property of neem to prevent viral disease (Rao, 1969)78; (Singh, 1981)79; (Saxena, 1985)80.

Several researchers report using neem poultices directly on the pox of small pox, chicken pox, measles, mumps, and other eruptive viral skin diseases.

In 1972, Rae and Sethi postulated that neem leaves and extracts affect the absorption of the pox virus.

In 1969, Rao et al found tender leaves most effective in fighting viruses. Neem also works against the viruses that cause foot-and-mouth disease in cattle, against the mosaic virus in beans, and against the potato virus. Laboratory research into neem’s anti-viral properties showed that leaf extracts of the plant inhibited replication of two aggressive viral strains. Studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of neem compound on the replication of the Dengue virus type-2. The extract of neem leaves completely inhibited the virus’ ability to replicate itself in an in vitro experiment. In laboratory animals, neem leaf extract also inhibited viral replication, as confirmed by the absence of any virus-related symptoms.

The antiviral and virucidal effect of an extract of neem leaves was studied to determine its activity against the Coxsackie B group of viruses. Neem inhibited the replication of six types of Coxsackie virus B. Observations of virus inactivation and population reduction in the experiment suggested that neem was most effective against Coxsackie virus B-4 early in its replicative cycle. Neem’s rich chemical constitution of flavonoids, triterpenoids and their glycosides are believed by the researchers to be responsible for the herb’s antiviral potency.

The leaves of the neem tree have powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Research has verified neem's potency, and support its potential for combating flu.

In 1855, a researcher reported that Neem leaves were given "with great success" to European soldiers to fight cholera. In 1968, a researcher found leaves effective for various skin diseases and boils, and in 1984, Pillai and Santhakumari noted antibacterial action. Recent studies have shown antibiotic efficacy against many bacterial strains, including Staphylococcus (Schneider, 1986)83. Neem has even successfully healed ulcers associated with bacterial infections (Pillai and Santhakumari, 197881-82198484-86).

Preliminary studies in laboratories have shown that there have been significant effects on several bacteria strains (Rao, 196978, 198687); (Chopra, 195288, 195689, 195890); (Sankaram, 198791); (Rojanpo, 198592).

Mahmoodin, one of neem's many medicinal compounds, shows significant antibacterial activity against various gram-positive and gram-negative organisms (Seddiqui, 199293). The bacteria staphylococcus aureus that can cause peritonitis, cystitis and meningitis is killed or rendered harmless by small doses of leaf extract (Schneider, 198683).

The bacteria streptococcus pyogenes, cornebacterium and E. coli were affected by neem extracts (Thaker and Anjaria, 198694). Another bacteria, salmonella typhosa, that causes typhoid, food poisoning and blood poisoning, is similarly affected in other studies (Patel, 196295); (Chopra, 195890).

Influenza:

Caused by a variety of viruses, colds are better prevented than cured. During cold season, drinking a mild neem leaf tea once or twice a week is recommended. If you do catch a cold, the symptoms can be lessened by drinking neem leaf tea three times a day and inhaling steam produced by boiling twenty neem leaves in a quart of water. This will also help prevent secondary bacterial infections of the nasal sinuses.

Like the common cold, influenza or flu, as it's commonly called is caused by viruses, and is spread primarily in inside places where people congregate. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and can last for one day to a week.

Usually more severe and longer lasting, the flu can lead to pneumonia if proper care is not taken to promote healing.

Outbreaks usually occur in the winter and early spring. Symptoms include:

•      Fever and chills

•      Sore throat

•      Cough

•      Muscular pains and aches

•      Fatigue and weakness

•      Nasal congestion

Drinking neem tea regularly during the disease will relieve some of the symptoms and speed recovery. Inhaling steam from boiled neem leaves will help the respiratory system and nasal passages fight secondary bacterial infections.

Sore throats may be caused by either viral or bacterial infections. Neem has a major advantage over most other treatments in that it affects both types of infection (Lorenz, 1976)96; (Murthy, 1958a)97. Neem compounds have been shown to surround viruses and prevent them from causing infection (Unander)67 (Rai, 1972)77. Combined with the anti-bacterial compounds, neem helps heal and soothe sore throats better than almost any other product.

The pain-reducing qualities of neem help eliminate the "sore" part of the sore throat. Most people find that the alcohol extract works very well as a healer and pain reliever. A dropper full of the extract is squirted in the back of the throat and left there for about one minute. This allows the extracts to directly contact the infection. Swallow the extract and let it coat the remainder of the throat. Gargle with neem tea made from five neem leaves four to six times per day until the sore throat is gone.

 

Syphilis and Neem:

Neem has anti-spirochaetal properties so that it works as both as a preventative measure and in the treatment of primary, secondary and tertiary stages of syphilis (Siddiqui and Mitra, 1945)98; (Bhandari and Mukerjii, 1959)99; (Puri, 1993)100.

Neem may be effective against gonorrhea and the syphilis spirochete and may prevent contraction of the disease.

 

Malaria:

According to the Neem Association, an international nonprofit organisation, malaria affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and kills more than two million every year. Malaria is quite common in India and throughout the tropics.

Neem has been shown to be effective in a number of ways against this deadly disease.  Both water and alcohol based neem leaf extracts have been confirmed as effective.  It has been shown to block the development of the gamete in an infected person.

Neem leaf extract greatly increases the state of oxidationin red blood cells, which prevents normal development of the malaria virus.  Irodin A, an active ingredient in the leaves, is toxic to resistant strains of malaris; 100 percent of the malaria gamete are dead within seventy-two hours with a 1 to 20,000 ratio of active ingredients. Other experiments have used alcoholic extracts of neem leaf, which performed almost as well.

Gedunin and quercetin, compounds found in the leaves, are also effective against malaria.  Several studies show that neem extracts are effective even against the more virulent strains of the malaria parasite.  Some scientists believe that stimulation of the immune system is a major factor in neem's effectiveness against malaria.  The plant also lowers the fever and increases one's appetite, enabling a stronger body to fight the parasite and recover more quickly.

Even though neem may be effective against the parasites that carry malaria, it has not been shown to prevent the malaria infection once it's in the body.

 

Parasites and Neem:

Historically, neem has been used to rid the body of all forms of parasites. Scientists have since proved that neem quickly kills external parasites and may kill internal parasites as well (Singh et al., 1979)101; (Obaseki and Jegede-Fadunsin, 1986)102; (Rochanakij, 1985)103.

 

Fungi and Neem:

Neem extracts are some of the most powerful antifungal plant extracts found in Indian pharmacopia against certain fungi (Khanna and Chandre, 1972)104; (Chary, et al, 1984)105.

In particular, research has shown that the compounds gedunin and nimbidol found in the neem leaf control several fungi which attack humans, including those that cause athlete's foot, ringworm, and even controls Candida, an organism that causes yeast infections and thrush (Thindand & Dahiya, 1978)106; (David, 1965)107; (Murthy and Sirsi, 1958b)108; (Khan and Wassilew, 1987)109; (Khan, et al, 1991)110; (Kher, 1972)111.

Compounds found in neem leaf called quercetins (flavanoids) are effective antimycotics. (Khan et al,1988)112

Two researchers, basing their study on the ancient tradition of using neem to purify the air around the sick, have found that neem smoke exhibited extreme suppression of fungal growth and germination (Upadhyay and Arora, 1975)113.

 

Viral Diseases:

In India, neem is also used to treat viral diseases such as small-pox, chicken-pox. Experiments with smallpox, chicken pox and fowl-pox have shown that neem is quite effective for preventing if not for curing these conditions.  The neem extracts absorb the viruses, preventing them from spreading to unaffected cells.  Neem has also been shown to be effective against herpes virus and the viral DNA polymers of the hepatitis B virus. Laboratory experiments have shown that neem has antibacterial characteristics as well.  For example the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, a feared cause of food poisonings as well as of furuncles and abscesses, reacted to neem treatment.  Also, German experiments proved that a neem seed extract with ethanol is effective against the herpes viruses.

 

REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE: (DISCUSSION)

The neem tree (Azadirachta indica) has attracted much attention within the worldwide medical community due to its wide range of medicinal properties. Neem has been used extensively in Ayurvedic, homoeopathic, and folk medical traditions for thousands of years. A vast array of biologically active compounds has been isolated from this plant, many of which have been studied in laboratory conditions for their pharmacological and insecticidal properties.

The various uses of neem to cure human ailments, boost immunity and fortify human health are almost endless. Neem is one of the most powerful blood-punifiers and etoxifiers known. Hundreds of specific health maladies respond favorably to the proper application of neem. This does not include the countless uses of neem as a natural beauty aid and as an insect repellent.

The bark, seeds, leaves, fruit, gum and oil of the neem tree contain compounds responsible for the exceptional benefits this amazing botanical provides. These botanical compounds offer some impressive therapeutic qualities such as being:

Antiviral                  Antimicrobial                 Antifungal                 Antibacterial

Antipyretic

Anti-inflammatory

Antitumor

Analgesic

Anti-anxiety

Alterative

Anthelmintic

Immune Stimulant

There are some reports that neem does indeed speed up the healing of cold sores (herpes simplex type 1, not genital herpes). Herpes is usually treated both internally with neem leaf (either as tea or in capsule form, neem leaf tea is usually more effective) and externally by treating the lesions with neem leaf paste, a neem based cream or neem seed oil at least once a day. Anything that boosts the immune system (like neem does when used internally) is desirable in managing genital herpes and avoiding outbreaks.

The highly contagious herpes simplex viruses cause a number of different disorders characterized by small, painful blisters on the skin and mucous membranes, most commonly on or around the lips or genital area. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection is transmitted by contact with a blister.

Neem extracts are toxic to the herpes virus. Neem has anti-viral compounds that may prevent transmission and infection. If already contracted, neem oil has reduced the severity of genital herpes attacks when applied to the afflicted area.

Genital herpes sufferers who have used neem on the sores report a tremendous reduction in the number and severity of eruptions.

It is estimated that upwards of 80% of Americans will experience the herpes virus in their lifetimes. This includes the cold sores and fever blisters of the mouth and face, genital herpes, chickenpox, shingles and the more rare occurrences of other herpes viruses. Herpes of the mouth (face), called herpes simplex I, and genital herpes, herpes simplex II, seem to only surface when the person who has the dormant virus within their system feels very stressed or the body is extremely exhausted or immune compromised.

During these vulnerable times, small ulcerations will appear on the lips, in the mouth, on the face or chin, or in the genital region. Painful, itchy and/or irritated, these sores do not seem to heal very rapidly for most people, and may become more raw and aggravated with the passing of time, especially if the stress or weary body has not been addressed sufficiently.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one in four women and one in five men experience genital herpes outbreaks, and many will have regular recurrences of the sores, commonly as often as four times a year. The statistics are more staggering for the herpes simplex I virus. A full 80% of us will be exposed to, then carry the dormant virus or experience outbreaks of cold sores.

Another common form, shingles, is on the rise. Also known as Herpes zoster or simply zoster, shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. Anyone who has had chicken pox may also develop herpes zoster at any time thereafter, but most often it will manifest later in life when enduring a deep stress such as the loss of a loved one or moving away from the family home. Acutely painful, shingles may last just a few weeks, as long as several months or rarely even years. Some continue to experience neuralgia, phantom or real pain long after the outbreak has cleared. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia. This is an embarrassing and uncomfortable group of viral infections to say the least, and at worst, can rarely be life threatening. There is no known cure for the herpes virus with the use of pharmaceutical medicine. It is believed in western medicine that once contracted, it will always be within the body, active or dormant.

With herbalism, however, there seem to be some excellent long-term solutions to the pattern of breakouts that so many young (and not so young) people experience. Rather than being one chemical (or a small grouping of chemicals) as are the medications, herbs are very complex, often containing hundreds of known constituents. Many of these constituents have been tested and found to be effective against potentially pathogenic microorganisms, such as the herpes viruses. One chemical is easier for the virus to figure out, so to speak, and become immune to. But the complex constituents found in herbs and mushroom extracts have been found to work in a wide variety of ways, supporting immune health as they support the body’s ability to reduce the numbers of the potential ‘bad guys’ such as harmful bacteria, viruses and fungal infections.

Many Chinese, Ayurvedic and western herbs are shown in research to suppress these and other powerful viruses. Several potent medicinal mushroom species have shown great activity against herpes, as well as other potentially dangerous viral infections.

Research has shown that there has been a correlation found in those prone to the herpes virus with having higher levels of mercury and possibly other toxic heavy metals stored in their bodies. Heavy metal toxicity is well documented for reducing the immune system’s ability to protect the body and is linked to higher stress levels. Using regular detoxification programs can help reduce this toxicity and the resulting side effects. Please read: Detoxification Is a Matter of Health, posted to this site very soon.

When someone who experiences or may carry any of the herpes viruses sets out to find relief, the possibilities are extensive. When experiencing an outbreak, one may begin by supporting the body in healing from the pain and discomfort of the sores. Then it is the time reduce the chances of a recurrence while strengthening the immune system defenses to suppress and subdue the virus.

 

FORMULARY: PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF NEEM:

The neem leaf extract is said to be good for the skin and has been used as a moisturizer in several lotions, creams and gels.

Neem leaf extract has also been used in nail products to eliminate fungus on the human skin, especially under

the nails.

Some gynecologists have advised on the use of the neem leaf extract under certain conditions.

Neem leaf extract has been used successfully in face products to control and eliminate the outbreak of severe acne.

Chicken farmers in Brazil have been known to use 5 drops of the neem leaf extract per liter of the chicken' drinking water. Farmers believe that now they don't have to use antibiotics as the neem leaf extract works just as well.

Homeowners in tropical areas, especially in Florida are known to spray their houses with the neem leaf extract in order to eliminate bugs and house flies. The neem leaf extract is water soluble and if used in the ratios of 1:100 with water, works as a potent bug spray.

The neem leaf extract is said to even keep cockroaches away.

Pet owners, especially dog and cat owners are known to wash their pets in neem leaf extract mixed in water. This is effective against fleas and other insects that the pets might have. It also heals concealed cuts on the pet's skin. The neem leaf extract has also been used in other pet products.

A neem-based contraceptive cream called Sensal was iecently developed by a pharmaceutical company for distribution in India. Tests of its effectiveness showed that it compared favorably with the chemical-based foams and gels usually used for contraception but had the advantage of also killing diseasecausing bacteria, fungi and viruses.

The neem leaf extract has been used successfully in the past to combat/control various Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Studies show that a neem-based cream used as a vaginal lubricant is effective against organisms such as Trichomonas, Candida, and Giardinella vaginalis that cause vaginal infections (Khan and Wassilew, 1987)109; (Garg, et al, 1993)114.

Other studies have indicated neem can be effective against the types of bacteria that cause syphilis and gonorrhea (Rao, 1992)22; (Sankaram, 1987)21. These studies are only preliminary but promising and more research is being done in this area.

 

SEXUAL DISEASES

Candidiasis

Neem oil and leaf extracts are effective treatments for candidiasis (Garg, et al, undated)115. A strong neem leaf tea made with 50 neem leaves can be used for douching or a neem-based cream applied internally daily for a week. This will cause contraction of vaginal muscles, reduce inflammation, relieve itching and will eliminate the infection.

 

Suggested Products:

Neem Cream

Neem Natural Salve or Neem Lavender Salve

Neem Leaf Extract - 25 to 30 drops, twice a day

 

Chlamydia

A neem-based cream may clear up Chlamydia trichomatous infections in one to three weeks (Garg, et al, undated)115. Chlamydia is implicated in many cases where women are unable to conceive due to scarring of the fallopian tubes.

Neem may be useful in preventing infection through the use of a neem-based cream as a vaginal lubricant. Immediately after intercourse or if the disease has taken hold, use of a douche made with water boiled with 50 neem leaves will act as a bactericide.

For stubborn cases, supplement with two cups of neem tea daily or 3 neem leaf capsules daily for a week to attack the agents from inside.

 

Suggested Products:

Neem Cream

Neem Natural Salve or Neem Lavender Salve Neem Leaf Extract - 25 to 30 drops, twice a day Neem Leaf Powder - Can be used to make neem tea

 

Genital Herpes

Tests in Germany show that neem extracts are toxic to the herpes virus. Neem has anti-viral compounds that may prevent transmission and infection if a neem-based cream is used as a lubricant for intercourse. If already contracted, neem oil has reduced the severity of genital herpes attacks when applied to the afflicted area.

Genital herpes sufferers who have used neem on the sores report a tremendous reduction in the number and severity of eruptions. Drinking two cups of neem leaf tea or taking neem capsules will enhance the immune system in its response to the virus.

 

Suggested Products:

Neem Oil

Neem Cream

Neem Natural Salve or Neem Lavender Salve

Neem Leaf Extract - 25 to 30 drops, twice a day

 

Genital Warts

Neem-based creams have been effective against the human papilloma virus (HP), a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease that is difficult to treat and can cause cervical cancer and genital warts (Garg, et al, undated)115. There are estimates that 25% of sexually active people in the United States are afflicted at any one time and that up to one million people are infected each year. HP passes from skin to skin contact and not through an exchange of fluids. Condoms and barrier methods of birth control will not prevent an infection by HP for this reason. Using a neem-based cream as a vaginal lubricant during intercourse in conjunction with condoms may provide significant protection from this and other sexually transmitted diseases. For those already infected, applying the cream daily for a month has been shown to reduce the number of warts and stop the itching.

 

Suggested Products:

Neem Cream

Neem Natural Salve or Neem Lavender Salve

 

Gonorrhea

Neem creams used as a vaginal lubricant or birth control may be effective against the gonococcus bacteria (Garg, et al, undated)115. Using a neem-based lubricating cream may be helpful in reducing the chance of contracting the disease. Lubricating creams containing at least 25% neem oil were used in the tests, so lesser percentages may not provide the protection witnessed in clinical trials. Traditional treatment after infection calls for three cups of neem leaf tea or 1-2 neem leaf capsules daily for two weeks.

 

Suggested Products:

Neem Cream

Neem Natural Salve or Neem Lavender Salve

Neem Leaf Extract - 25 to 30 drops, twice a day

 

Syphilis

Neem has anti-spirochaetal properties so that it works as both as a preventative measure and in the treatment of primary, secondary and tertiary stages of syphilis (Siddiqui and Mitra, 1945)98; (Bhandari and Mukerjii, 1959)99; (Puri, 1993)100. Neem creams used as a vaginal lubricant or birth control may be effective against the syphilis spirochete and may prevent contraction of the disease. As with gonorrhea, creams containing at least 25% neem oil were used. Drinking neem tea or taking neem capsules three times per day for two weeks is recommended as treatment.

 

Suggested Products:

Neem Cream

Neem Natural Salve or Neem Lavender Salve

Neem Leaf Extract - 25 to 30 drops a day, twice a day

Neem contains a number of healing compounds that lessen the chance of contracting or transmitting sexual diseases. Used in conjunction with condoms, neem can help to minimize the risk of dangerous diseases such as AIDS, herpes and the human papilloma virus (HPV). As an added benefit, neem oil safely acts as a lubricant soothing vaginal walls without danger of damaging latex condoms.

The AIDS virus can be transmitted during sexual intercourse. Latex condoms are, at present, the only known way of severely reducing the chance of transmission during sexual intercourse. However, condoms sometimes break, especially when using certain lubricants, allowing any infectious agents to come into contact with tissues. Neem oil can help protect against AIDS through its anti-viral and immune-stimulating properties, especially the cell-mediated immune response.

The National Institutes of Health reports that neem extract prevented the AIDS virus from infecting cells, but there was no determination of how this was accomplished.

Before the advent of AIDS, herpes was the most dreaded sexually transmitted disease. Herpes is an incurable and easily transmitted disease that can result in periodic eruptions of painful sores and blisters. Tests in Germany show that neem extracts are toxic to the herpes virus reducing the threat of transmission and helping to prevent eruptions of established conditions.

The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease that is difficult to treat and can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Condoms and barrier methods of birth control will not prevent an infection by HPV. However, using neem oil as a vaginal lubricant during intercourse, in conjunction with condoms, may provide significant protection.

Most men buildup to and complete an orgasm much quicker than women. This disparity in timing is frustrating to both participants. To remedy the situation topical analgesics have been used to help men delay their orgasms. Most of these analgesics are effective, but irritate the areas they touch.

Neem oil has a very mild desensitizing quality that has traditionally been used to treat skin conditions such as scrapes, bums, psoriasis and itching. By reducing slightly the nerve sensitivity of the penis, the buildup of sensations that end in orgasm is slowed. This delay enables the woman to continue her slower orgasmic build up so she may achieve orgasm either before or simultaneously with the man.

 

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