Type of plant: Evergreen tree growing to 60 feet high, with long leaves and fragrant white flowers
Part used: Pulp of fruit and seeds
Method of extraction: Expression
Data: The neem tree is economically important in India, where it’s used for everything from acne to fevers. All parts of the tree are used medicinally — the bark, leaves, flowers, and seeds. The essential oil is used particularly for skin diseases and to deter lice and parasites; the small branches are used to make toothpicks; and the leaves are pressed between the pages of books to deter mites and used in grain stores to deter insects and pests.
Principal place of production: India
When buying look for: A viscous, light-brown to dark-brown oil that often needs heat to transform into a usable liquid, with a highly tenacious odor.
Therapeutic properties: Analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, insecticide, pesticide, sedative
Therapeutic uses: Psoriasis, eczema, parasitic skin infection, ringworm, scabies, ulceration, bacterial skin infection, scalp infection, dandruff, head lice, acne, sores, pimples, insect bites, insect stings
Blends well with: Intense citrus essential oils such as lemon and bergamot, or camphorous essential oils such as rosemary and sweet birch
Precautions for use: May cause irritation on sensitive skin. Best avoided during pregnancy and while breast-feeding.