Neem: Benefits, Ayurveda Usage, Side Effects, Research

Neem is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicines and remedies since thousands of years. Its root bark, stem bark, gum, flower, leaves, seeds and seed oil are used for various medicinal purposes.  In English, it is called as Margosa tree or Neem tree.
Its botanical name is Azadirachta indica, Meliaceae family.

Neem properties

Rasa – Taste – Bitter (tikta) and astringent (kashaya)
Guna – qualities – Light to digest (Laghu), Dry (rooksha)
Vipaka – Undergoes taste conversion into pungency after digestion. – Katu Vipaka
Veerya – Potency – Cold in nature.

Neem uses, qualities

Neem Benefits – Ayurveda

Generally all parts of neem have following health benefits.
Sheeta – Nimba imparts cooling qualities to the body.
Laghu – undergoes digestion and absorption pretty easily and quickly.
Grahi – helps in absorbing moisture from the intestine. Dries up and cleans up the moisture in wounds and ulcers.
Katu – has pungent taste. It also undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Tikta – has bitter taste
Agnikrut – improves digestion process
Vatakrut – increases Vata
Ahrudya – not so good for heart.
Shramahara – relieves tiredness
Truthara – relieves excessive thirst. Since it decreases Pitta, it is useful in fever and associated thirst.
Kasahara – Helps to relieve cough. It is very useful in infective respiratory problems. It has anti-microbial properties.
Jwarahara – Useful in fever, due to its potent anti microbial phyto-chemicals.
Aruchihara – Helps to relieve anorexia. Bitter tasting herbs, though very difficult to consume, have this unique property of relieving anorexia.
Krumihara – Actual translation is – relieves worms. Nimba is useful in intestinal worms, infested wounds, and as an anti -microbial agent.
Vranahara – Helps to cleanse and heal wounds quickly.
Pitta – Kaphahara – Balances Pitta and Kapha. Note that, though neem has cold quality, it helps to balance Kapha (which also has cold quality). This is due to its other properties such as Katu vipaka (pungent taste conversion after digestion).
Chardi – hrillasa hara – Helps to relieve nausea and vomiting
Kushtahara – Useful in numerous skin diseases
Mehanut – Useful in diabetes and disorders related to urinary tract.

neem twig as tooth brush

For diabetes, skin disorders

Neem in Diabetes and associated skin diseases / wound – As explained above, neem helps in diabetes, it helps to lower the blood glucose levels. Neem is also very useful in skin diseases and heals the wound. Hence, it is one of the herbal ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines used in diabetes. Not only does it help reduce / maintain blood sugar levels, it also helps to heal wounds quickly and relieves skin diseases such as diabetic carbuncles.  A good example for such an Ayurvedic medicine is Pancha Nimba Churna.

Neem powder for bath

Neem powder in bathing water or soap For people with repeated skin infections, with pus and redness, and people with repeated abscess problem, it is a good idea to add a spoon of neem powder to a bucket of hot water, and use this water for bathing.

Neem leaf benefits

Neem leaf benefits – Ayurveda

Neem leaves do have similar qualities as discussed above, but it has some special benefits.
Netrya – It is good for eyes. Helps to relieve infection.
Kruminut – Helps relieve worms and microbes
Pittanut – Balances Pitta
Vishanut – Natural detoxifier.
Vatala – increases Vata.
Katupaka – Pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Arochaka and Kushtanut – relieves skin diseases and anorexia.

Neem fruit benefits

Neem Fruit Benefits

Neem fruit is Bhedana – helps to pass bowels easily
Snidgha – Unctuous, oily
Laghu – light to digest
Ushna – hot in potency
Gulmanut – Relieves bloating
Arshanut – relieves piles (hemorrhoids)
Kriminut – relieves worms and infection
Mehanut – Helps in diabetes.

neem flowers and leaf

Other health benefits

Other health benefits of Neem as mentioned in other Ayurvedic text books – 
Raktapittanut – Helps to relieve bleeding disorders, because of its coolant nature.
Shothahara – Useful in inflammatory conditions and skin conditions with redness and pus.
Twig of neem is especially beneficial in respiratory problems such as bronchitis, cough and cold.
Neem flower is good for eyes
Oil extracted from neem fruit is pungent, has piercing quality, hot in potency, useful in skin diseases and headache. (Sushruta)

Different ways to use neem

External application – Lepa – Neem powder (mixed with other herbs or alone), can be made into paste with water or honey, to apply over the skin or wound in the form of paste.  
Food – Neem can be used as part of food or as oral medication.

Bathing – Neem powder, added to hot water can be used to take bath
Herbal tea – Kashaya Neem water decoction can be used to wash, during infection. Like washing the eyes, infected pile mass.
The same water decoction can also be used for sitz bath in peri anal abscess or infected anal fistula or hemorrhoids.

Can Neem decoction be used for washing the eyes?

Neem side effects

Since it can lower blood glucose levels, as a general rule, if you’re fasting, it is better to avoid oral intake of neem.
People with diabetes should use neem only under medical supervision, with constant blood glucose level  monitoring.

This is because, neem  can reduce blood sugar.
If a diabetic person is already taking medications for the same, consuming neem along with it may cause very low blood sugar.

It is best to take the advice of your doctor before using neem during childhood, pregnancy or lactation.
If you are using neem oil for hair, (as in case of dandruff), while washing off the oil, it may cause burning sensation to the eyes. Take care.

Can this be continued forever?
Long term usage of herbs or Ayurveda products need approval from your Ayurveda doctor. Any herb or medicine, which can be good for short term, might not be ideal to continue forever. Your doctor will be the right person to decide.

Neem Oil Benefits

Unless for a specific health issue, neem oil should not be used orally, on a daily basis. 
Neem oil is useful in intestinal worm infestations.
Excess oral use can decrease blood sugar level. hence, diabetes patients should consult their doctor before taking neem oil orally. 
Excess oral intake can also cause vomiting and dizziness. 
It balances Kapha and Pitta Dosha. 

Externally, it is useful in infectious skin diseases.
For face: It is useful to improve glow, reduce acne and reduce oiliness of skin.
How to use: A few drops of neem oil is taken onto the finger tips and gently rubbed over the face. Leave it on for 10 minutes then wash off with gram flour or soap and water.
For hair, lice – Neem oil can be used on hair to relieve dandruff and to kill head lice.
How to use: 1 teaspoon of it is taken on to hand, applied over the scalp with gentle massage. It can be washed off after 30 – 60 minutes. For washing hair, herbal hair wash powders or shampoo can be used.
It yields a bitter odour, on external application. 
Patanjali neem oil is very famous in India.
For teeth: Neem, twig, bark and oil – all are used as toothbrush, herbal tooth powder or paste. Neem oil, being a very potent anti microbial oil, is useful to fight dental caries and plaques.

Neem oil capsule uses

How neem oil capsule is useful in cold and cough?
Neem oil capsule in cold and cough is useful especially when there is infection and sinusitis. It helps to prevent or treat infection, being a potent anti bacterial and anti viral herb.
However, it is not usually used as a single medicine to treat cold and cough. Usually a combination of
Sitopaladi churna / Talisadi churna with neem oil capsule  or
Any such other cold cough medicines along with neem oil capsule is advised.
It is very useful when cold / cough is associated with fever.
So, it is used as an adjuvant and supportive to other medicines in the treatment of cold and cough.

Neem oil for plants:
It is a very good pesticide and insecticide. It is used against mites, scale, leaf hoppers, white flies, thrips etc.
The oil is also useful against plant fungus such as Black spot, scab, rust, leaf spot, etc.

Neem flower tablet

Nimba kusuma (Neem flower) vataka


Two parts of sesame seeds and one part of fresh neem flowers are taken and a fine paste is made. By adding little salt, it is made into a round or flat bolus. This is fried in oil or ghee and served.

Qualities and actions 

This pacifies kapha and pitta, useful in worm infestation, skin diseases, ulcers, wounds and ulcers etc. Classical reference – Bhojana kutoohala 

Read related – Effective Obesity Treatment, Remedies And Ayurveda Tips


Synonyms in Sanskrit – Arishta,
Pichumarda – Good for skin diseases
Pichumanda, Sarvatibhadra,
Hinguniryasa – The exudate form Nimba resemble Hingu niryasa (Gum of Ferula narthax)
Yavaneshta , Shukaprya, Neta, Subhadra, Prabhadra, Sutikta
Vara tvacha – Bark is very useful
Sutiktaka – Best among herbs having bitter taste

Classical categorization

Neem in Ayurveda Text books
Classical categorization:
Charaka Samhita –
Kandughna (group of herbs that are useful in relieving itching.)
Tiktaskandha (group of bitter tasting herbs) 

Sushruta Samhita – Aragwadhadi, Guduchyadi and Lakshadi


Nimba – Azadirachta indica
Mahanimba – Melia azadirachta
Parvata nimba – Ailanthes excelsa
Akasa nimba – Malingtonia horensis

Matra (Dosage)

Juice – 10 -20 ml
Paste – 10 -20 g
Decoction – 50 – 100 ml
Powder – 2 -4 g
Oil – 5 – 10 drops


A large tree
Root – Tap root, branched
Stem – Woody, erect, and cylindrical
Leaf – Compound, Alternate, imparipinnate, exstipulate, serrate, acuminate with unicostate reticulate venation
Inflorescence – Axillary panicle
Flower – Bisexual, bracteate, sepals are 5 and white in colour, stamens are 10
Fruit – Drupaceous with one seed
Useful parts – Leaf, bark, seed, fruit, flowers, and resin

Neem, Jaggery and Yugadi

Today, Yugadi festival is celebrated across the world by Hindu people, marking the beginning of Hindu calendar year.
In this festival, neem leaves and jaggery are combined and consumed. Let us understand a few meanings hidden in this ritual.

Neem is bitter, anti-microbial, de-nourishing, cleansing and it reduces weight. Neem also represents all the bad and difficult times of our lives. 
Jaggery is sweet, nutrition rich, satiating and enhances the mood of the person, helps to gain weight, if taken in high quantities. Jaggery represents all the happy moments of our lives. 
Read more about jaggery benefits

Taking neem alone is difficult, a very bitter experience, if taken daily it can cause the body to shrink and tissues to dry up. If our life is filled up with bad incidents, life becomes difficult, our health and mind shrinks and all the energy dries up. 
Taking jaggery alone can be a good experience in the beginning, but if taken daily, it can make you put on weight, it increases phlegm collection, decreases taste in food, weakens digestion strength and may also cause intestinal worms. 

Having only good experiences in our lives feels good in the beginning, but it makes us lazy, lethargic, complacent, bored in life, decreases taste in life, weakens our appetite to learn new things. 
But neem leaves when consumed in a combination is very wholesome. They cancel out each other’s negativity. 
Neem balances Kapha Dosha and jaggery balances Pitta and Kapha, so this becomes tridosha balancing. 
Neem counters the over-nourishment of jaggery and jaggery counters the extra cleansing and detoxifying effects of the neem.

Similarly, tough times in our lives make us strong and increase the happiness of the good times in our lives. Troubles in our lives make happy moments more enjoyable. 
Whether we like it or not, we will get both good and bad times in our lives and taking neem with jaggery, this Yugadi, helps us to accept this sweet-bitter truth of life and energizes us for the task ahead πŸ™‚ 
I wish, hope and pray for a bit more of jaggeries and a little less of neem leaves in your lives πŸ™‚ 
Happy yugadi! πŸ™‚ 

106 thoughts on “Neem: Benefits, Ayurveda Usage, Side Effects, Research”

    • In ancient times, urine attracting ants was considered as a sign of diabetes, which now has been replaced with lab tests.
      Urine colour, consistency, smell were also used as diagnostic features.

    • It depends on the disease. If used for diabetes, it is used for a long term. If used for acne, it is used for short term.

  1. Dr.J.V.HEBBER JEE, your articles are very helpful to people having interest in ayurvedic .I have got about 1000
    Trees of AMLA, and same no of aloe Vera…500plants of holy basil,plenty of satyanasi and KANTAKARI as well as plenty adusa plants of White flowers…also margosa trees,also have got hydraulic press to extract juice and double jacketed pressure cookers to make KAWATH without loosing essential and volatile oils.
    How I can help in spreading Ayurvedic formulations.

  2. My daughter 24, has bed dandruff, and also psoriasis. I was told that neem would help. She cannot swallow pills. Is there any special shampoo? Do you have any advice? Thanks for your wonderful articles.

    • Based on your doctor’s advice, Neem capsule can be taken upto 2 – 3 months. But the dose needs to be reduced gradually, after a month or so. A very high dose of capsule (eg: 4 capsule a day) for more than 2 months is not recommended.

  3. You can use neem capsule for pimples.
    Because of its anti viral and anti bacterial effects, you can use it even during winter.

  4. Hi, because the herb quantities are quite minimal, it is quite safe to continue for a long term.

    • Neem fruit and oil extracted from neem fruit is hot in potency.
      The other parts of neem are coolant.

  5. Dear Dr Hebbar,
    Your article was very informative. I wanted to know the effect of neem ghanvati and tulsi ghanvati in auto immune disorder conditions.

    • Their effect really depends on disease to disease basis. Say, in case of auto immune disorders pertaining to skin and blood, infectious disorders, neem would be very helpful. In case of respiratory disorders, infectious disorders etc, Tulsi would be very useful.

  6. sir can you pls clarify my doubts regarding neem powder, i’m having 2 neem powder through capsule form which was prepared by me for about 0.25 g of neem and dry gooseberry per capsules. it helps to poop normal or even though i tried with one capsules it not worked. it make foul smell that disturbs my regular works. Is that acceptable having two capsules in day? and is it have any side effects?
    without having this capsules it makes lots gas trouble problem due to stack of the waste in colon. pls guide me

  7. if the women is in pregnent or soon to be concieve is it to be safe to inhale the neem leaf powder smell? or neem smell ..?? does the neem leaf powder smell will affect the women during the pregnent or concieve period?

  8. I have heard that excess(20-30 leaves) use of neem leaves (eating) reduces your eye sight. If it is a wrong perception kindly let us know.

    • Though I have not read about such a side effect, excess of neem leaves is not good, since it causes lowering of blood sugar levels and dryness.

    • Dear madam, The intake of neem powder is not helpful in this case of chronic sinus. Instead you can administer 1 drop of neem oil in both the nostrils in the night before dinner and inhale it strongly.

      Please do take the nasya treatment from a certified ayurvedic physician for the same. Not advisable to do it without guidance.

  9. Sir, i have been having acne for the past 1.5 yrs and still not much results, please provide me with a cure.I am 19 yrs old.


    • Try these simple, but effective methods for naturally treating acne at home:
      β€’ Mix 1 – 2 tablespoons of baking soda and water to make a thin paste. Apply to the affected area. Leave for 15 – 20 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. Repeat 1 – 2 times daily until results are visible.
      β€’ Use your fingers or a cotton swab to apply 5 – 10 drops of unrefined coconut oil to the affected area before going to sleep. Leave overnight and rinse in the morning. Repeat regularly until results are visible.
      β€’ Squeeze the gel from a fresh aloe vera leaf or simply use aloe vera juice. Apply to the affected area and gently massage for 2 – 3 minutes. Leave for 3 – 5 minutes and rinse with water. Repeat daily for two days or until results are visible.
      β€’ Apply 1 – 2 tablespoon of honey to the affected area. Leave for 10 – 15 minutes and rinse with warm water. Repeat regularly until results are visible.
      Some tips:
      β€’ Drink at least 15 glasses of water daily to flush dangerous toxins from your body.
      β€’ Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly green leafy vegetables, to get the essential vitamins and nutrients that keep your body and skin healthy.
      β€’ Reduce stress. Try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and other related exercises
      β€’ Resist the temptation to squeeze acne. This not only increases the chance of deeper infection, but also leaves scars

  10. Hello Sir,
    How long should neem tablets be taken for hormonal acne in females? Are neem tablets orally or neem oil topically better in this condition?

    • Taking neem leaf capsules cleanses the blood, and cleansing the blood will clean up acne. Neem capsules are not a magical quick fix for acne. They are only one tiny part of any acne treament regime.

      • Thankyou madam. I understand that it is one part of the regimen. But my question was how long the capsules have to be taken? Can they be continued indefinitely?

        • Madam, It all depends on your prakruthi and the skin type you have. As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. For some 15 days is enough for some a month etc.,

  11. We have been taking been taking decotion made out of neem leaves since four months and we feel fine and are enjoying the tea. We have replaced green tea with neem. So far we feel fine infact we felt that we have lost a bit of weight too. Is this good. Does prolonged intake has any side effects. I heard that prolonged use has side effects like allopathy medicine not working and body becoming poisonous etc. Is this true pls advice

  12. Hello Sir

    Skin Psoriasis provlem being taken this Total Health Concept Bitreen Neem capsule
    it’s can be help to reduce or even control
    Pls advice , thanks

  13. Hi, usually these medicines are not recommended for such a long period of time. But if the sum total of all the powders is within 2 grams, then it is fine.

  14. Namaste Sir, For both black heads and white head removal you can do the following:
    1. Squeeze out the juice of a fresh lemon and apply it on your face with a small cotton swab. Doing it for 10 minutes thrice a week will remove excess sebum and open up your pores, thereby clearing both the black and white heads.
    2. Peel and mash a ripe tomato nicely (deseeding is not mandatory). Apply the pulp all over your face and wait until it dries (you can also keep it overnight on your skin if you wish). Then, wash off with lukewarm water. Being a natural antiseptic, astringent and antioxidant, it helps a lot in keeping the skin clean.
    3. Honey has antiseptic properties that work wonders for both oily skin and blackheads. Apply honey onto the affected area and wash off with warm water after 15 minutes.

    Internally you can take: Neem and tulsi leaves 3 each everyday in the morning.

  15. Hello sir, could you tell of a method that I could take neem for liver detoxification without aggravating vata during the hot season? Would it suffice to blend it with water and sugar? I don’t have immediate access to ghee so that’s out

  16. Hello Sir, Nice article. I stay in mumbai and find it difficult to get the neem bark. There is a neem tree in our society. Will you kindly tell me is there any method to select the neem bark? Is it fine if i use soft neem bark ? Also, as it is said that daily oral consumption of neem have certain side effects. So using neem bark for tooth care where we might swallow a bit of the neem extract. Is still it’s safe to use it and is it without any side effects?

    • Hi, neem bark from the stem is good to use.
      Soft neem bark can be dried and used.
      Neem bark for tooth care does not have any side effects, if it is just used for brushing, despite swallowing some part of it while brushing.

  17. hello sir…..really nice article
    i just want to ask that what should be the better way to drink neem water……is it empty stomach or after having food.
    does neem water can cause any period problem….???

    • Neem water – after food is better. Just 30 ml per day for a period of 4 – 6 weeks will not cause any period problem.
      It is not good to continue with it for longer than 6 weeks.

  18. Thanks for giving such a wonderful information about Neem. You explain everything about Neem in your blog. Can you tell me which is the best Neem capsules for diabetes type 2 problem? And keep sharing all related to Ayurvedic remedies information.

  19. i have some sort of black patches on body because of some fungal infection especially on joints , back side of neck, axilla . it is top much dark while sweating. cani use neem in anyways for the treatment ??

  20. Sir, I have been bathing in Neem for some weeks (0,5 hour per day). I got rid of my problem but I still have a tickeling feeling on my shoulder inspite of that 3 month have passed.How log will this continue?


    • Not ideal during pregnancy for oral intake.
      Can lower blood sugar level on oral intake.
      Oral intake is best avoided for those seeking treatment for infertility.
      External application is fine.

  21. Hello Dr ,
    I have oral intake of neem powder daily , along with peppercorn & Lime juice with Honey,
    suggest if it can be followed on a daily basis

    • Some feel increase of heat sensation or dryness feeling with it.
      It may leave a bad odour on the body. Other than these there are no side effects.

  22. Thank you for the prompt response. Actually someone told me neem has hot nature and shall not be suitable for summers and that too when I develop rashes very frequently.

    • It can be little hot, but not as hot as, for example, black pepper.
      It can be used along with coolants such as ghee, milk, etc.

  23. Sir some articles on web say neem can damage kidney and lever when consumed orally for long periods of time. Can you put some light on this point?

  24. Sir, its said that infertility is one of the dangerous side effects of neem. Then again on one of the above comments you have replied that drinking neen juice daily doesn’t cause infertility in women. Please clarify sir! What if the Women has been eating neem leaves everyday? Would consuming one leaf a day cause any problems???

  25. Hi Hebbar Sir,

    I eat neem fruits (3 to 4 ) everyday after my walk

    Since 3 to 4 months i am having this practice but not noticed any side affects as on now.
    and surprisingly i am feeling good now a days as my head heaviness sickness is improved

    i have colastral since 3 to 4 years and below are last testing result i have
    T.Chol/HDL.Chol ratio 5.9

    Is this ok to continue this practice ????

    Please advise…


  26. Sir, is there any method in ayurveda to treat oral cavities like tooth power or any home remedy? I dont want to go for filling. Please help. Also, sir for oil cavities, which oil is good for oil pulling seasme or coconut? My constitution KP (pitta dominant). Thanks

  27. Sir, one more question please, Kottakkal Valiya Arimedas Tailam is rs 130 approx for 200 ml bottle which is very cheap as compare to above one 200 rs for 30 ml. Both are same or huge quality difference?

  28. Hlo doctor…..
    I Hve some infection in my underarms( itching in underarms, Hve no marks or inflammation on skin jst itching). So i started using patanjali’s neem ghanvati.
    So i want to knw that how long should i take neem ghanvati? Does it can affect my period timings or not?

  29. I have acne & pimples on my face I can use neem ganwati . but I confuse in which time I take after food ya before food .plz replay

  30. Hi I just start taking then neem capsule I take two after meal. I have 2 bowl movement and on the second one I pass blood on the the toilet and when I wipe its light blood. I wanna know if I should stop taking it or should I continue.

    • Hi, if the bleeding started after starting the neem capsule, then it is better to stop it.

  31. Hello Doctor, I would like to know how I can use neem oil for parasites for my 9 yo son. Also do you think neem oil can trigger epilepsy? Thanks.

  32. Hi Doctor,
    I don’t have much of skin problem other than few dark spots. I have bought Himalaya neem capsules , under the impression that eating neem is good for skin. How should i consume the tablets(empty stomach or after meals) and how long..?

  33. Hello..sir
    I want to know how much amount of Neem juice should drink and for how many days continueslly so it doesn’t create any side effect ? Specifically for female.

  34. Hello doctor, over the hears stress at work, I’ve been dropping a lot of hairs and my scalp is oily and tend to have dandruff.

    I read that neem powder, amla powder, fenugreek powder and a few lemon drops mix with water and apply on the hair scalp helps on hair fall.

    I mix 2 teaspoon of neem powder, 1 teaspoon of amla powder, 1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder, a few drops of lemon juice and 13 teaspoon of water before applying on my hair scalp.

    Do you think the above method works? how frequent should I use the paste and how Long will it take to see a result (more hair growth on the receding hair line) ?

    Thank you so much for reading and replying!

    • Not to a great extent.
      Usual dose of neem capsule is – 1 capsule 2 times a day after food for 6 – 8 weeks.

  35. Hey doc,
    If i take neam tab on daily basis with my allopathic treatment. allopathic medicine work or not please provide me the details.

  36. You should eat healthy, raw organic diet. Give up bad habits. Have pure thoughts and actions. Do lots of meditation by repeating the Name of the Lord and one day you will get blessings and your disease will disappear.

  37. Hi sir I am a postpartum gestational diabetics patient .shall I take fasting sugar level is 131 pls advise me sir..

  38. Hi Sir, how should I take neem without provoking vata? I want to take it because of candida and parasites and it’s cooling effects now in summer. Thank you!

  39. Sir can you please tell me how to increase the hair growth i’m only 17 and my hairs are in Bad condition
    During monsoon the hair starts to fall please help me how to make hair thick dense and dandruff free

  40. Hi dr, is there any ayurved medicine directly working on pineal gland..its detoxofication as well as activation?


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