Neem is well known for its medicinal properties. You might have seen elderly people chewing neem leaves to boost their immunity. Pregnancy is the time women require high immunity to ward off common infections. But is it safe to eat neem during pregnancy? How to make use of neem during pregnancy? Explore everything here.
Let’s Know More About Neem
Over many centuries, different parts of the neem tree- the twigs, the leaves, flowers, bark, oil, and root – have been widely used for the preparation of different medicines. Neem oil is also used in different medicines, cosmetics, and even organic pesticides.
Because of its excellent medicinal properties, neem is widely used alone or with other ingredients in several home remedies. It can bring about wonderful results if used to combat skin issues, hair fall issues, allergies, etc. Neem leaves contain more than 130 varieties of biological compounds.
In many areas, people tie a cluster of leaves on the doors or plant neem trees in their front garden. This is because it is believed that the air while passing this tree gets purified. It is also believed that the neem tree, if planted around four corners of the house, will inhibit the disease spreading microbes from entering the house.
Is It Safe To Eat Neem During Pregnancy?
External use of neem causes no potential harm during pregnancy. However, oral intake of neem oil and neem bark is not safe during pregnancy. These parts of neem plant can contain some strong constituents that can potentially trigger a miscarriage.
According to Ayurveda, expecting mothers should refrain from eating neem during their first five months of pregnancy. This is because neem tends to generate more body heat.
A spike in the body temperature of the mother is not good for the developing fetus. Too much heat generation can end up in a miscarriage. This is because as the body temperature increases, the body may consider the developing fetus as a foreign body and tends to eliminate it. This can end up in miscarriage.
However, if you ingest a small quantity of neem accidentally or by mistake there is no need to panic. More often, it might not have any adverse effect. Only intake of a large quantity of neem extract at once or consuming a significant quantity for a prolonged period will trigger all the ill effects.
On the other hand, never ingest neem intentionally to reap its health benefits. Eating neem during pregnancy can be dangerous for the mother and the unborn baby. However, more studies and researches are yet to be conducted in humans to find out how dangerous is eating neem during pregnancy.
How much amount of neem is safe during pregnancy is not yet determined. Therefore, to be on the safer side, it is best to keep away from ingesting neem during pregnancy. However, you can always use it as a topical remedy for skin issues during pregnancy.
Some possible benefits of neem during pregnancy are:
- Neem is excellent for oral health. Neem mouth wash helps to reduce the risk of gingivitis, which is a common issue found among many expecting mothers.
- Applying a paste of turmeric and neem leaves gives fast relief from an insect bite’s pain and itching.
Can You Use Neem Oil During Pregnancy?
Even though it is not safe to eat parts of the neem plant or ingest neem extracts during pregnancy, you can always reap the benefits of the external use of neem products like neem oil. Neem oil appears yellow or brown and smells like garlic or may smell like sulfur.
However, keep in mind that ingesting neem oil is harmful because it is toxic. Let’s see how neem oil benefits during pregnancy.
- Applying neem oil in the abdomen will help to reduce the stretch marks
- It has strong antiseptic properties. Therefore, you can use it with a carrier oil on pregnancy acne
- Neem oil can potentially reduce the production of melanin. Therefore, applying neem oil in the face helps to eradicate hyperpigmentation, one of the skin issues many pregnant women contract
- Its anti-fungal property makes it a perfect home remedy for many skin and scalp issues during pregnancy
It is better to use it along with carrier other oil (mixing equal proportions), in case you are using it on hair. You may apply it directly to pregnancy acne. However, if you wish to use it to massage the face, better dilute it with other oils like almond oil, coconut oil, or sesame oil.
Related Reading: 8 Common Pregnancy Skin Problems
This is because neem oil can be too strong for sensitive skins. It might cause irritation or can be allergic to some type of skin. So it is always better to do a patch test before applying it all over the skin. Also, remember to buy the best quality neem oil to reap all its benefits.
Everything About Neem Bath During Pregnancy
Taking a bath in neem water is a tradition followed by many elderly people who follow a lifestyle based on Ayurveda. Neem bath during pregnancy is also very beneficial in many aspects.
Neem water is well known for its anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. Therefore, a neem bath during pregnancy helps to rejuvenate the body from head to toe. Here are some of the benefits of neem bath during pregnancy:
- Bathing with neem water helps to enhance overall immunity during pregnancy. Neem bath helps to keep seasonal infections at bay to a certain extend.
- Due to the surge of pregnancy hormones and overactive sweat glands, many expecting mothers experience body odor and underarm odor during pregnancy. Neem bath helps to get rid of body odor
- Bathing with neem water during pregnancy, especially during the summer season, is considered extremely beneficial. Pregnancy itself makes women feel extra hot due to increased blood volume and circulation
- During summer, expecting women sweat more. This can pave the way for skin issues like prickly heat, boils, and skin rashes. It also increases the risk of dandruff. Neem bath during pregnancy gives a full-body detoxification effect
- Neem bath during pregnancy helps to prevent or get rid of heat rashes and boils. It promotes the health of the skin. It also makes the scalp healthy and promotes hair growth
- A warm neem bath helps to relieve body pain and swellings in the face and ankle. Altogether, a neem bath during pregnancy gives a refreshing and healthy feeling
Word of caution: During pregnancy, it is important not to take a bath in extremely hot water. Taking a bath in extremely hot water can bring about a condition in which the body absorbs more heat than it manages to give out. The condition is called hyperthermia.
Hyperthermia can pave the way for several pregnancy complications. Therefore, taking a neem bath in a hot tub is not recommended during pregnancy.
How To Prepare Neem Water For Neem Bath?
There are several ways to prepare neem water for neem bath during pregnancy:
- You can make a neem concoction by boiling about 50 neem leaves in two liters of water. Boil until the leaves are soft and blanched. As the leaves start to lose their color, the water starts to turn green in color.
Wait until the concoction falls to room temperature. Strain it and store it in a bottle. You can add about 100 ml of this concoction to the bathwater. Water for the neem bath is ready.
- Add two springs of neem leaves in the bathwater and heat it. You can also put one or two pieces of fresh turmeric root along with the neem leaves. It enhances the benefits of neem bath
Let the water boil for around 20 minutes. Now wait until the water is cooled down. You can have a neem bath once the water is just warm or falls to room temperature
- If you have some inconvenience to boil water, you can just put two twigs and a few leaves of neem in your bucket. Now open the hot water tap and pour hot water from a geyser in the bucket
Wait until the water falls to room temperature. Now remove the twigs and leaves. Water for the neem bath is ready.
Precautions To Take When Using Neem During Pregnancy
Here are some quick safety tips of caution to remember about using neem during pregnancy:
- Never ingest neem extracts during pregnancy
- Topical usage of neem also should be limited to the small period in a small amount
- Usage of neem-based cosmetics and skincare products in great amounts for a longer period should be avoided during pregnancy
- Usage of neem-based products or neem extract in the vaginal region should be completely avoided during pregnancy. This could harm the fetus
- Drinking neem juice also should be avoided during pregnancy. Ingesting neem in any form can generate too much body heat that could potentially lead to miscarriage
Ingesting neem, even in small quantity is not safe during pregnancy. On the other hand, it is completely safe for external applications. You can use it safely in the form of paste (to apply in the joints and ankles to relieve pain and swellings), an exfoliating scrub, neem oil, or neem bath.