Neem is used for tooth plaque, gum disease (gingivitis), lice, to repel insects, and for other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
How does it work ?
Possibly Effective for
- Tooth plaque. Most research shows that applying a gel containing neem leaf extract to the teeth or using a neem mouthwash can reduce the amount of plaque on the teeth. But it might not be as helpful as using chlorhexidine mouthwash.
- A mild form of gum disease (gingivitis). Most research shows that applying a gel containing neem leaf extract or using a neem mouthwash can reduce gingivitis in some people, but it doesn’t seem to be as helpful as chlorhexidine mouthwash and it may not be effective for people with long-standing gingivitis.
- Lice. Clinical research shows that applying a neem extract shampoo to the scalp once completely cures head lice in children.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Insect repellent. Early research shows that applying extract of neem root or leaf to the skin helps repel black flies.
- Mosquito repellent. Early research shows that applying neem oil cream to the skin seems to protect against some types of mosquitos.
- Stomach ulcers. Early research suggests that taking neem bark extract by mouth for 10 weeks might help heal ulcers in the stomach and intestines.
- Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis). Early research suggests that taking neem extract by mouth for 12 weeks, along with daily sun exposure and the application of a coal tar and salicylic acid cream, might make the symptoms of psoriasis less severe.
- An eating disorder (anorexia nervosa).
- Birth control.
- Eye disorders.
- Heart disease.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Infection of the intestines by parasites.
- Insect bite.
- Liver disease.
- Wound healing.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of neem for these uses.
When applied to the skin: Neem leaf extract gel is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied inside the mouth for up to 6 weeks. Neem oil or cream is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin for up to 2 weeks.