Azadirachta Indica, or neem as it is known to the locals, is a tree characteristic to Asian vegetation, more specifically to India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Pakistan. Its history in treating people is impressive. It has been appreciated that Azadirachta Indica has been used as a herb for more than 2,000 by Asiatic people, with high success in treating a great variety of diseases, including ulcers, chicken pox, malarial fever and acne. Nowadays is still used for curative purposes in the above mentioned conditions to which one can add different skin problems and fighting lice. Furthermore, due to its antibacterial properties, the “village pharmacy”, as it was named by the locals, is also used extensively in cleaning products (soaps, shampoos, etc.) and has made its entrance on western market in the form of extracts and oils which can be used externally as well as in the form of pills for treating various internal disfunctions.
Hair care is one of the multiple domains which have benefited from the positive effects of Azadirachta Indica. The first use of neem in hair care was that of annihilating lice in humans, but its spectrum of activity was gradually enlarged, placing Azadirachta Indica on the list of the most effective herbs for hair care.
Neem contains substances which increase keratin (the substance from which hair strands and nails are made of), thus strengthening the hair and keeping it healthy and in good shape. This limits the chances that hair breaks, gets thinner or even sheds. Also, Azadirachta Indica stimulates blood circulation, which keeps the hair follicle nourished and, as it is well known, a healthy and nourished follicle results in regular hair growth and significant diminishing in hair shedding.
While neem extract can be made of all tree parts (root, bark, leaves and seed kernels), the fresh leaves boiled with water are a miracle for hair, acting as a natural conditioner which detangles, nourishes the hair and prevents premature graying of the hair strands. However, both Azadirachta Indica extract and “tea” tend to have a pungent smell. This is why it is recommended to be used in conjunction with other oils/extracts which can counter the smell. Herbal shampoos containing neem are also available for those looking for the short way out.