Neem (Azadirachta indica) is traditionally called “Queen of the Skin.” While we have skin that wraps our bodies, we have even more skin on the inside of the body. There is the skin or epithelium that lines the digestive and respiratory tract as well as numerous other locations in the body. Neem is Ayurveda’s most powerful herb for healthy inner and outer skin. Neem also supports healthy liver, intestinal, pancreatic and immune function.*
Neem leaves are harvested each spring in India and used as a tea, food, and medicine from spring through summer. In the spring, there is a surge of new microbes in the digestive tract. Some are beneficial and some are not. Neem has been used for thousands of years to help re-populate the gut with healthy microbes throughout the spring and summer.*
Suggested Use: Take 1 capsule 3 times per day after meals or as directed by your health care professional.
Bottle Contains: 90 vegetarian capsules, 450 mg each
Ingredients: Organic Azadirachta indica (Neem Leaf)
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Does not contain: Yeast, gluten, corn, soy, milk, fish, animal products, binders, fillers, preservatives or artificial coloring.
Kosher Certified: No animal derivatives
Note: Neem has been shown to be a mild spermicide and is not recommended while trying to conceive.
There is a growing body of knowledge pointing to the intestinal skin as ground zero for optimal health. There are 3 distinct areas of the intestinal system that should be given great attention:
- The health and integrity of the intestinal skin.
- The health and diversity of the intestinal microbiome.
- The health and integrity of the small intestinal lymph.
A primary physical focus of Ayurveda was to maintain the health and integrity of both the intestinal skin and the lymph that lines the digestive tract. While Ayurveda did not describe microbes directly, by studying intestinal and lymphatic health, we now know that the good microbes naturally proliferate.
Skin Health, Immunity & Detox
One could say that optimal health is all about the skin, both on the outside and the inside. The skin is home to trillions of microbes that support optimal health. Understanding how to nurture those good bugs is the key to healthy inner skin, a healthy immune system, and healthy aging.
80% of our immunity is in the digestive tract, where the intestinal lacteals meet the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). I often refer to this point of connection as the “inner skin of the gut.” That means that keeping the digestion a well-oiled machine is the golden key. But how do we begin?
Let’s begin in nature’s New Year, the spring. Spring brings us a detoxifying harvest, including the surface roots dandelion, goldenseal, Oregon grape, burdock, turmeric and more, which literally scrub the intestinal villi of the excess rich, heavy, mucus-producing and insulating foods of winter.
Fresh green sprouts and microgreens contain chlorophyll which helps fertilize the good bacteria in the intestinal tract, functioning as nature’s pro-biotic. At the end of spring, we are treated with berries and cherries which are loaded with lymph-cleansing agents that support antioxidant activity.
While nature offers a cornucopia of foods with its spring and summer harvest to support gut health and boost immunity, according to Ayurveda, there is one herb that is harvested each spring and summer that creates the perfect intestinal environment for superb digestion and strong immunity.
Neem: The Village Pharmacy
Neem is Ayurveda’s classic herb for the health of the body’s inner and outer skin. (1) It naturally balances the microbiome of the intestines by supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria. The health of the microbes in the intestines depends on the health of the inner skin and the intestinal lymph drainage. With over 140 chemical compounds, neem supports the health and function of the microbiome, intestinal skin and the lymph flow that drains the intestinal tract. (1-3)
In India, neem was commonly called “the village pharmacy” because of its widespread benefits. According to Ayurvedic myth, the healing properties of this plant were engendered when it was graced with a drop of nectar (amrita) from the cup of immortality. Because of its bitter property, Neem has a calming and cooling effect on heat or redness as it shows up on the skin, as well as in the lining of the digestive tract.
Each spring, it was traditional to harvest and eat the leaves of the neem tree to support overall health, well-being, and immunity. It was also said that eating the leaves in the months just before spring would jump-start immunity, and that the benefits would last a full year!
By creating a healthy intestinal environment each spring and summer, neem allows for the proliferation of beneficial gut flora. The more we establish a healthy microbial environment in the spring and summer, the better the gut can perform as your first defense against undesirable bugs and toxins that commonly move through the gut.
For its skin-balancing, purifying, and enriching benefits, neem has been dubbed “Queen of the Skin” in Ayurveda. In addition, its high chlorophyll content makes it useful to neutralize odors in the case of foul-smelling sweat or halitosis. For this property, neem is often used in Ayurvedic toothpastes and powders, and the young twigs themselves have been known to be used in place of toothbrushes.
Ayurvedic Herbal Makeup