Rough cut neem leaf (Azadirachta indica) from India in 200g biodegradable pouch.
Neem leaf can be used in many different ways:
- For its effect on human and animal health, as teas, baths, washes or in food. See recipes below.
- For its insect control effects: Neem leaf on its own is traditionally used to help protect stored food and goods such as carpets from insect damage- dried leaves are rolled in carpets to protect against moth damage, and are mixed with stored crops or in larders to ward off roaches.
See below for recipes using Neem Leaf
All parts of the plant have beneficial effects; however, neem may affect different people in different ways, and this information should not be considered a substitute for professional health advice.
- use neem for short periods and only for as long as necessary.
- Test your own tolerance for neem in small incremental steps, and if any signs of sensitivity appear, stop use immediately.
- Neem is contraindicated for use in people wishing to conceive and should be avoided during pregnancy and breast-feeding due to lack of safety studies.
The seeds, bark and leaf contain active compounds with proven anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-ulcer and anti-fungal properties. There is a large, and increasing, body of scientific research, much of it freely available online, which proves the usefulness of this herb for a variety of ailments. The leaf can be used as it is or ground into a powder.
Making Neem Tea
Pour 1 cup of water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the water over 2oz (1/2-3/4 teaspoon) of the neem leaves and steep for about 5 minutes. Strain the tea and pour into a cup. The tea can be flavoured, for example with lemon or honey, and taken internally to help with bloating and other digestive disorders, and to supplement external use of neem for skin disorders
The plain tea can also be used externally
- as a wash or hair rinse to combat dandruff
- as a gargle or mouthwash.
- to wash sore eyes.
- to use as a spray on house plants
If keeping the tea for topical use store in the fridge and after 5-7 days or if it becomes cloudy (but don't throw it away- give it to plants in the garden!)
Other tea recipes:
Neem and Ginger Tea
- Add 1/2 teaspoon neem leaves in ½ cup of hot water, along with half-inch piece of crushed ginger.
- Let it boil for 5-10 minutes. Strain in a cup, and serve hot, with honey to taste.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda for a soothing tea for heartburn
Neem and Pepper Tea
- Neem leaf tea with ¼ teaspoon pepper helps to relieve itchiness from eczema
- Take twice daily
- Add a handful of Neem leaves to a bath to help with skin complaints.
- Neem leaves can be used to make a poultice to soothe shingles and/or scabies.
- Add neem leaves to stored carpets and clothes to help prevent insect damage
- Use the leaves as a mulch for healthier plants
- Blitz neem leaves to a powder and mix with kaolin clay or Fullers Earth and use as a dusting powder to combat athletes foot and jock itch/cyclists groin or as a flea powder for cats/dogs/poultry
- check out the recipes under Neem powder
Neem begun A popular Bengali dish, neem begun is basically prepared with neem leaves and brinjal (aubergine or eggplant) tossed in some oil. Marinate the brinjal with turmeric and salt. Heat mustard oil, add neem leaves to it, and fry well until crispy. Keep aside. Cook the chopped brinjal in the same pan until crispy. Add the neem leaves, chopped chilies, and some salt. Serve hot with some rice.
Neem chutney The addition of jaggery (raw cane sugar) to this traditional South Indian dish balances out the bitter taste of neem. Blend together kokum, neem leaves, jaggery powder, salt, and cumin with some water to make a smooth paste. Add coconut oil and mustard seeds to another pan and let them sputter. Add curry leaves and dry red chili and mix. Pour this tempering over the chutney. Enjoy!
Neem leaf curry Roast mustard seeds and panch phoron (five spice mix) and grind to form a powder. Fry dried neem leaves and set them aside. Add dry red chili, panch phoron, and bay leaf in the same oil. Add papaya, salt, potato, drumstick pieces, carrot, and ginger paste, and cook well. Add water, brinjal, and the neem leaves. Now add the spice powder, and sugar and mix well. Enjoy!