Foodmantra for Great Skin, Hair & Beauty – 9 Ways to Use Neem
Have you noticed that the best things in nature are concealed in an unpleasant mask? Like the sparkle of a diamond for instance, is hidden in the darkness of coal, and it takes great effort to reap that sparkle. In many ways, Neem is the diamond of the plant family. It may be bitter in taste, yet it is so beneficial for health that in my opinion, it is more precious than diamonds.
Neem leaves, though bitter as hell, are known for the prevention and cure of over hundred diseases. Neem is known to be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and even anti-cancerous as per some studies. Although the consumption of neem is frowned upon because of the unpleasant taste, it has been used for cooking, bathing and chewing for centuries in India owing to its powerful medicinal properties. The ancient science of cooking in India incorporates bitter flavours in recipes, it includes such herbs and ingredients to enhance therapeutic properties in food.
Below are some effective ways in which neem can be incorporated into our daily regime so we can obtain the benefits of its powerful healing and protective qualities.
Foodmantra for Neem Leaves & Neem flower
Disclaimer: Pregnant and women who are breast-feeding should avoid ingesting neem because its safety at such times has not been established. It increases the heat and energy in the body and can be spermicidal in large quantities. Drinking lots of water or ash gourd juice brings down the body heat.
#1 Neem leaves in Tea
Tender, young neem leaves can be added to boiling water till the water turns slightly greenish and sipped on its own. It can also be added to your choice of tea. I personally prefer to go for neutral tea like regular green, white or black tea rather than their flavored counterparts. Neem leaves are known to have a calming effect, have anti viral properties and strengthen the immune system.
#2 Neem flower in Thandai
Thandai is a special drink prepared and served during Holi that marks the change of season. Neem is rich in anti-oxidants and prevents viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Neem flowers used in the preparation of Thandai prevents us from catching cold or viral infections.
#3 Neem leaves for Tempering in Curries & Dal
Tender, young neem leaves are less bitter and can be used like curry leaves are used in tempering curries and dals. The small quantity prevents the curry from getting bitter while adding the therapeutic qualities of the wonder leaf to your food.
#4 Neem Leaves in Curry
Blanched neem leaves are used in some South East Asian and Thai seafood curries, such as shrimp curry. Neem leaves are blanched two to three times in hot water to get rid of the bitterness, and then added to shrimp curry with palm sugar and tamarind paste.
#5 Neem flower in Rasam & Rice preparations
Neem flower is less bitter than neem leaves. These flowers are used as a vegetable called Veppam poo in South Indian vegetable curry preparations such as rasam and rice preaprations like Neem Flower tempered rice which uses roasted neem flower powder.
#6 Neem in Bengali Vegetable Curries & Stir Fry
Several Bengali dishes use bitter flavours in the cuisine beautifully incorporated in stir fries and curries. Other than the use of Karela, neem is cleverly used in preparations such as neem begun, which is, eggplants simply tempered with neem leaves, turmeric and some other spices. Neem is known to help control diabetes and purify blood.
Neem for Teeth, Skin & Hair
#7 Neem for Teeth
You may have seen your grandmother or many people in villages chewing the bark of a neem tree. Many toothpaste brands also boast about carrying the properties of neem for healthier gums. Not only does the neem bark strengthen the gums, it also makes your teeth pearly white! It prevents ulcers, infections and bad breath. So next time you see a neem tree, do break a twig and chew it.
#8 Neem for Hair
I remember taking a neem water bath as child when I had chicken pox, to prevent the itching and scars from the pox. Neem leaves boiled in water can be used to rinse and wash hair. Neem water prevents dandruff and other infections on the scalp.
#9 Neem for Skin & Beauty
I’ve had an oily skin and acne issues ever since I was a teenager. Not just that, I tend to get redness on my cheeks as well. Each time people looked at my face, they would start with a chapter on skin care advice. Why don’t you try haldi? Do you go for clean-ups regularly? I think you should use our special 1000-rupee mudpack that will clear up your skin right away!
I’m a real believer in natural remedies; I avoid applying chemicals or never-heard-of fancy sounding compounds on my face, it makes me nervous. I’d much rather try the haldi and neem remedies. Bathing with boiled neem leaves or applying neem seed paste on the skin can help in clearing skin and reducing acne, even so it is really inconvenient to use neem in this way. The problem is, I could never make or apply these natural pastes regularly.
It is tough to include this ritual with a hectic work schedule. Incidentally, I found something that I can fit in my daily routine. The Himalaya Neem pack is easy to use, and can be applied and cleaned in a matter of minutes. The best part is that I don’t need to find and grind the neem seeds, and go through all that pain. I can actually get the goodness of neem without all that hard work. The Himalaya Neem pack has the neem and haldi both. Neem helps disinfect the skin and the haldi also works as an antiseptic to keep germs away. I try to apply it every other day to keep my skin clear and healthy.
I’ve recently started using the Himalaya Neem pack around a week ago. I bought a bottle for 130 bucks last week. It has really helped in clearing my skin and the redness I had on my cheeks has reduced. It has also made my skin softer, cleaner and it looks hydrated. I have an oily skin, so in case you have dry skin and you want to try this pack, do read the label on the back. I had the habit of raiding the kitchen every weekend to make my own face pack, but this one really has helped me. I would use dried neem, haldi powder with some besan. This pack is a lot like that home pack, very natural and safe to use. It is a great idea to incorporate neem in your daily routine, just make sure you don’t have any allergies to any of the ingredients.