Neem - Skin Rescue
But do you know how exactly neem works? According to Ayurvedic medicine, the tree possesses powerful cooling energies that act as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic in cases of excess heat. "Neem can be used to treat imbalances involving fire. It's therefore most often applied in cases of excess pitta," says Mary Jo Cravatta, a chiropractor and Ayurvedic practitioner in Northern California. In Ayurvedic medicine, an imbalance in one of the three constitutions—vata, pitta, or kapha—can cause discomfort and, ultimately, disease. By putting out the excess heat of pitta, the fire element, neem prevents problems down the road.
Skin eruptions are a classic pitta problem, and in India, neem has long come to the rescue against topical fungi, viruses, and other infections. "Conditions like eczema and hives always have a heat and toxic ama [bodily waste] component," Cravatta explains. But neem can counter more serious skin problems as well, says Ellen Norten, author of 'Neem: India's Miraculous Healing Plant'. "Because neem contains antibacterial properties, it is effective in treating epidermal conditions such as septic sores, infected burns, scrofula, and ringworm." Stubborn warts even clear up with neem, she adds. A powerful blood purifier, neem is often used in Ayurvedic detoxification programs. David Frawley, author of 'Yoga and Ayurveda', explains that neem serves to clean the blood and liver at profound levels, even to the point of ridding the body of heavy metals, and should be used with discretion. "Neem would be useful for anyone about to embark on a yogic spiritual path to counter the ill-effects of old diets and toxins." Before committing to a program of internal cleansing, consult an Ayurvedic physician.