Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ingredient of the day: Neem Oil

What is so special about Neem?

Neem oil from the seeds of the Azadirachta indica tree, is a panacea for a number of skin conditions. Native to India, the neem oil is commonly used there in soaps and cosmetic preparations, especially in cases of psoriasis, eczema, and acne. Neem oil has a strong and distinctive scent, which to me smells like a strong peanut butter. The oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.

Beyond cosmetic uses, Neem oil is sovereign in it's capacity as an organic pesticide. I use it in my garden to repel worms, spider mites and a number of other unsavory beasties. I use a small amount in my garden diluted in water with a little added liquid soap in a spray bottle to spot treat various plants.

If you would like to learn more about neem I would suggest John Connrick's book "Neem: the ultimate herb."

Right now I have 4 small neem trees growing in my back yard here in Central Florida. I'm hoping they will survive through the winter and bear fruit this year.
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