Neem is a shady tree native to India and Burma with spreading shade branches and honey-scented white flowers. Neem oil smells fresh, clean and light with a trace of sweetness–so fresh in fact that you imagine it as a wonderful air freshener even if, like me, you don’t as a rule use them. Learning that the seeds and leaves of neem are antiseptic, antiviral, and antifungal, you can imagine an air freshener that really does something important and doesn’t just block your ability to smell, like most commercial air fresheners.
Neem is a plant revered and even worshipped in India, and Mahatma Gandhi felt it was the most nutritious plant ever studied. Neem has remarkable powers in many arenas, not the least being to control insects, which is how I have come across it most referred to in my research.
Here are at least three good reasons to get to know neem:
1. Neem is one of the most promising botanical pesticides. It is known to kill wool moths, prevent insect bites and infestations, and more. Try adding 1 teaspoon of pure neem oil to the detergent in a steam carpet cleaner to kill moth larvae.
2. Because neem kills bacteria, mold, and germs, you can make a homemade deodorizer using 1 teaspoon pure neem oil to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle to use in the bathroom and kitchen.
3. Infusions of seeds and leaves of neem are widely used for medicinal reasons in India, to treat everything from ringworm to in Ayurvedic medicine as a “cure all” for some childhood diseases. Many in India uses neem twigs for tooth and gum care. Used as a plant spirit medicine, neem flower essence is considered to help people become more intuitive and less judgemental.
By Annie B. Bond