Neem & Psoriasis
In the context of skin diseases, not only the
antimicrobial effects of neem but also its anti-inflammatory effects
are of interest. Okpako (1977) has demonstrated the inhibition of
prostaglandin synthase by neem leaf and bark extract. Okpanyi and
Ezeukwu (1981) have shown that a 75% methanolic extract of neem leaf
and bark inhibits carrageenin-induced rat paw oedema.
In the treatment of eczema and psoriasis - for
which neem is traditionally used - the component nimbin has been
shown to be four times as effective as the steroid hydrocortisone,
but without side effects such as thinning of the skin. Another
component, nimbidin, is at least as effective as the non-steroidal
drug phenylbutazone, used in hospitals (Cole, 2002). As a topical
treatment for skin complaints, neem is non-mutagenic and
non-irritant (National Research Council 1992).
Neem a psoriasis cure?
Keep in mind that Neem oil does not cure
psoriasis. Nothing cures psoriasis. The skin disorder is a genetic
condition, and we can't fix our genes (yet).
Neem can, however, be an excellent remedy for
people suffering from psoriasis, and it can help control psoriasis
symptoms. Neem treats psoriasis symptoms so successfully that some
people claim to be cured. In reality they still carry the potential
of a psoriasis flare up in them, but thanks to neem they can lead a
symptom free life.
There is a caveat. In some people neem has indeed
worked miracles, but for others it hasn't done much. Why? Well, the
truth is, there is a lot about psoriasis that isn't fully understood
yet, and there is also a lot about neem and neem oil that we don't
know yet. As a result nobody can tell you many specifics about the
interactions of neem oil and psoriasis.
What is known about psoriasis and neem oil is
outlined below, and should go some way towards explaining why neem
oil is so beneficial for psoriasis.
What is psoriasis? What are the psoriasis
causes and symptoms?
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder.
Psoriasis symptoms include redness, dryness,
itching, and the tell tale thick, dry, silvery scales that appear as
discrete patches on the skin. The patches can be anywhere on the
body, but are most common on the trunk, the knees and elbows, skin
folds, as well as the scalp and fingernails.
The patches (and other symptoms) are a result of
the skin in that area growing much too fast. The skin cells are
renewed so often that the old cells have to shed in thick scales.
Psoriasis symptoms can appear at any age, they
can appear suddenly or gradually, and they are characterized by
frequent remissions and recurrences (they forever come and go and
The root cause of psoriasis is genetic, but
carrying the genes does not necessarily mean symptoms. It also takes
an environmental trigger.
Several factors can trigger or worsen psoriasis
symptoms: skin infections (like boils), systemic infections (like
respiratory infections, flu), stress (that's a big one), alcohol
consumption (interestingly this triggers psoriasis only in males),
Any skin irritations or injuries, like
infections, cuts, burns, rashes, insect bites etc, make symptoms
worse. Anything that weakens the immune system makes symptoms worse,
and in people with autoimmune disorders (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis)
or immunosuppressed people (e.g. transplant recipients, cancer
sufferers undergoing chemo, HIV) psoriasis can be very severe.
Symptoms improve with lots of sunlight, air and
Vitamin D. Psoriasis symptoms often clear over summer, only to
return again next winter.
How does neem oil work for psoriasis?
Neem oil is a very complex natural oil that
contains over 140 active ingredients. Those ingredients have a wide
range of uses:
• Neem oil is a brilliant emollient, a substance
that softens and moistens dry cracked skin. This straight away
eliminates a lot of the irritation and itchiness. It moisturizes and
protects, and heals any lesions or scaling.
• Neem also soothes the redness and irritation
directly, through the steroid like effect of some of its
ingredients. Yes, neem can affect your skin similar to the way
steroids do, but without all the nasty side effects.
• Neem oil generally enhances skin health and the
natural immunity of your skin, which is one of the biggest factors
• Neem oil is strongly antibacterial, and the
benefit of this for psoriasis is obvious. Neem cleans up any skin
infections that may have developed because of cracked broken skin
(due to dryness or scratching). When used regularly (by using a neem
soap, neem shampoo, or neem lotion) neem also prevents any future
skin infections that may aggravate or bring back psoriasis symptoms.
• As a bonus neem oil also prevents insect bites,
another trigger that can worse symptoms. DEET, the synthetic
chemical in insect repellents is a known skin irritant which would
aggravate psoriasis symptoms.
• Neem leaf supports and stimulates the immune
system. (Neem leaves are available as capsules, tablets, or as neem
tea.) Anything that helps your immune system helps with psoriasis.
One research study showed that when people who
used the common coal tar treatment for psoriasis also took neem leaf
internally, then their psoriasis symptoms cleared up faster. Other
research reports showed that nimbidin, one of the components found
in neem seed oil, has anti-inflammatory properties comparable to
standard drugs like phenylbutazone (non-steroid) or prednisolone (a
Experiments and reports from patients with
psoriasis suggest that taking neem leaf orally combined with a
topical neem oil treatment (like baths, soap, lotion or salve) can
be at least as effective as coal tar and cortisone in treating
psoriasis, with none of the nasty side effects.
Neem oil for psoriasis: why doesn't it work
If you go back and read through everything that
can trigger psoriasis symptoms you will find a few things that neem
can't help you with. Neem can't eliminate stress from your life, and
neem doesn't stop you from drinking. If for example a male psoriasis
sufferer covers his scalp with neem oil, washes it out, and then
goes to the pub for a big night, do you think he'll see a miraculous
remission of symptoms? Of course not.
The same is true for people who are caught in a
stressful phase of their lives, or people who naturally worry a lot.
Poor diet, lack of sleep, there are many things that can weaken your
immune system. They may end up being stronger than any beneficial
effect from neem on psoriasis.
Neem is the best treatment for psoriasis symptoms
that is currently available, but that does not mean it's guaranteed
to work. You need to make the necessary lifestyle changes as well,
and you need to give this time. Anybody looking for an easy
overnight fix will just waste their money.
You can't cure psoriasis, but you can make it go
away, by eliminating or minimizing everything that is known to cause
flare ups or to aggravate symptoms. Neem oil goes a long way in
helping you do that.
Using neem oil for psoriasis is easy,
inexpensive, and certainly a lot safer than steroid treatment. And
since neem is generally good for you and your skin, it can't hurt to
© Birgit Bradtke of DiscoverNeem.com. Published with permission.
The original article can be found here:
Neem Oil For Psoriasis: Is Neem A Psoriasis Remedy?
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