Neem benefits (Azadirachta indica)
Neem, an Ayurvedic herb with many health benefits and properties
Azadirachta indica (Neem), an herb extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathic systems of medicine  to treat many health related problems and ailments, and also known to exert anticancer, antioxidant, wound-healing, and antimicrobial properties [5,6,7] is also known to be one of these plants from which almost every part is used, from the Neem oil extracted from its seeds to the leaves and branches, to say the least neem benefits extend to various lines of health.
Neem health benefits are multiple but what can be the secret behind Neem benefits? As in other herbs, Neem beneficial effects are given by some of its active constituents, some of which the pharmaceutical industry have used as their primary source to build drugs against illnesses as important as cancer, for which already more than 400 active constituents derived from plants and herbs are used.
Herbs as Neem and Ginkgo biloba as well as many other well renown herbs, have been in the scope of pharmaceutical companies since long ago, mainly due to the properties and health benefits exerted by some of their active constituents known to act as health boosters. Image: Azadirachta indica (Neem) by Wendy Cutler under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0).
Common name: Neem, Indian lilac, Margosa tree.
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NEEM ACTIVE CONSTITUENTS
More than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of Melia herb or neem. All parts of the neem tree as leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark have been used traditionally for the treatment of inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases and dental disorders.
Among those active constituents Neem has thirty-one nortriterpenoids, including 28 limonoids and 3 degraded limonoids, and one diterpenoid , as well as azadirachtin.
ANTI-MICROBIAL AND ANTI-BACTERIAL PROPERTIES OF AZADIRACHTA INDICA (NEEM)
Among all the properties and health benefits exerted by Azadirachta indica (Neem) we shall highlight one, its ability to treat skin and skin related problems, either as part of poly herbal anti-acne face wash gels formulations , or part of anti-microbial preparations against some groups of bacteria as Escherichia coli (E.coli) . Azadirachta indica (Neem) by itself doesn't seem to be much different from any other plant from its family and genus, but when we look closer we find some major differences that may indicate why this plant is so different, its active constituents, among which we find thirty-one nortriterpenoids, including 28 limonoids and 3 degraded limonoids, and one diterpenoid . Image right: Neem tree by Wendy Cutler under Creative Common license (CC BY 2.0).
At least one study reported how five of those active constituents found in Melia herb or Azadirachta indica (Neem) showed an important inhibitory effect on the melanogenesis in the B16 melanoma cells, with results of 74 to 91% reduction of melanin content at 25 microg/ml and almost no toxicity to healthy cells, with which Neem becomes one of these plants to be noted for the development of new drugs based on the active constituents of this plant.
Neem leaves are responsible for some of the already mentioned neem benefits, they are known to possess immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antimutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties [5,7], being one of the most active parts of the plant.
ANTI-GINGIVITIS AND ANTIPLAQUE PROPERTIES OF NEEM
The use of Azadirachta indica (neem) for the treatment of dental ailments as gingivitis, plaque and periodontitis has been reported in India since several decades ago, mainly due to its antiseptic properties and activity . In a study in the subject, forty five subjects with plaque induced gingivitis divided in three groups were asked to rinse with 15 ml of mouthwash twice a day.
The study showed that Azadirachta indica (neem) was as effective in reducing periodontitis as Chlorhexidine, reducing significantly gingival, bleeding and plaque indices in the non-placebo groups .
In at least one study on the antioxidant properties of neem (Azadirachta indica) in inducing apoptosis of cervical cancer cells, neem demonstrated to be a potent inducer of apoptosis in biopsies of cervical cancer patients .
NEEM BENEFITS AND SIDE EFFECTS
As with any other herbs and plants the use of Neem should follow your doctors advice. In primates, the use of neem (Azadirachta indica) seed extracts (Praneem) given orally caused abrogation of pregnancy. After the treatment was suspended the animals regained their normal cyclicity in the cycles subsequent to Praneem treatment .
 Formulation and comparative evaluation of poly herbal anti-acne face wash gels.
Rasheed A, Avinash Kumar Reddy G, Mohanalakshmi S, Ashok Kumar CK.
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Sree Vidyanikethan College of Pharmacy, A. Rangampet, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India.
 Antimicrobial activities of skincare preparations from plant extracts.
Kareru PG, Keriko JM, Kenji GM, Thiong'o GT, Gachanja AN, Mukiira HN.
Chemistry Department, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
 Melanogenesis inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, and chemopreventive effects of limonoids from the seeds of Azadirachta indicia A. Juss. (neem).
Akihisa T, Noto T, Takahashi A, Fujita Y, Banno N, Tokuda H, Koike K, Suzuki T, Yasukawa K, Kimura Y.College of Science and Technology, Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan.
 Some Nigerian plants of dermatologic importance.
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
 Antiangiogenic Effects and Therapeutic Targets of Azadirachta indica Leaf Extract in Endothelial Cells
Saswati Mahapatra, 1 Charles Y. F. Young, 1 Manish Kohli, 1 R. Jeffrey Karnes, 1 Eric W. Klee, 2 Michael W. Holmes, 3 Donald J. Tindall, 1 and Krishna Vanaja Donkena 1, 4 , *
 Anti-microbial activity of a new vaginal contraceptive NIM-76 from neem oil (Azadirachta indica).
SaiRam M, Ilavazhagan G, Sharma SK, Dhanraj SA, Suresh B, Parida MM, Jana AM, Devendra K, Selvamurthy W.
Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Ministry of Defence, Timarpur, -1 10054, Delhi, India.
 Medicinal properties of neem leaves: a review.
Subapriya R, Nagini S.
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar-608 002, Tamil Nadu, India.
 Antiangiogenic Effects and Therapeutic Targets of Azadirachta indica Leaf Extract in Endothelial Cells.
Mahapatra S, Young CY, Kohli M, Karnes RJ, Klee EW, Holmes MW, Tindall DJ, Donkena KV.
Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic/Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
 To evaluate the antigingivitis and antiplaque effects of an Azadirachta indica (neem) mouthrinse on plaque induced gingivitis: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial.
Chatterjee A, Saluja M, Singh N, Kandwal A.
Department of Periodontics, Institute of Dental Sciences, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India.
 A study on antioxidant and apoptotic effect of Azadirachta Indica (neem) in cases of cervical cancer.
Vasenwala SM, Seth R, Haider N, Islam N, Khan T, Maheshwari V, Ur Rehman S.
Department of Pathology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 202002, Uttar Pradesh, India.
 Purified neem (Azadirachta indica) seed extracts (Praneem) abrogate pregnancy in primates.
Mukherjee S, Lohiya NK, Pal R, Sharma MG, Talwar GP.
International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi, India.
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