Guest Author - Winsome Tapper
Neem oil has been in use for thousands of years in India. It is a vegetable oil pressed from the fruits and seeds of Azadirachta Indica, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. The oil from the neem tree is usually light to dark brown in color and has a strong odor reminiscent of a mixture of garlic and peanuts.
Please Note: Neem oil is contraindicated in women who are pregnant.
Neem oil is popular in traditional Ayurveda, Unani and homoeopathic medicine in the treatment of numerous conditions such as acne, dandruff, ringworm, psoriasis and eczema. Its other uses, which stretch far and wide beyond the boundaries of western medicine are its use in developing countries due to its antiviral, anti-infammatory, immunostimulatory compounds, as well as its action as a blood and oral cleanser and lastly as a cheap alternative to store-bought contraceptives.
In 1992, the National Academy Press under the aegis of The National Academy of Science, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Research Council, the Institutes of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as the Board on Science and Technology for International Development published a book entited “Neem: A tree for solving global problems”. Since then considerable research has been conducted to enumerate the effects of neem products including the oil, bark and leaves of the neem tree as a cost effective treatment alternative in a plethora of medical conditions.
More importantly though, is the historical use of neem in products for dermatalogical problems like eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, scabies, and athlete's foot. To create soap using neem as an ingredient, at therapeuic levels, it has been suggested that amounts of 15-20% be used in the formulation.
The major chemical constituents of neem oil are triglycerides, triterpenoid compounds, steroids, and triterenoids. The fatty saturated and unsaturated acid composition of neem oil can be broken down into the following major fatty acids:
1. Omega-9 – Oleic Acid
2. Palmitic acid – Hexadecanoic acid
3. Stearic acid – Octadecanoic acid
4. Omega-3 -- Alpha-linolenic acid
Neem Olive Bar
This formulation is a basic formulation with 20% neem oil. The coconut oil forms 20% of the formulation because any more may be too drying. In addition, olive oil forms the bulk of the oils used as it is is my favorite base especially for soaps that should be gentle to the skin. An alternative formula could have pine tar as well as neem oil.
I have deliberately left out any fragrances or essential oils so that this soap will be as non-irritating to the skin as possible.
Cocoa butter 12.8 oz. --- 20%
Coconut oil 12.8 oz. ---- 20%
Neem Oil 12.8 oz. ----20%
Olive Oil 25.6 ---- 40%
8.82 Oz. Lye ---- 7% excess oil
Water (distilled water) ---16 Oz.
Total = 64 Oz. (Oils)
Follow directions for regular cold process soap Click Here for Article, incorporating the neem oil with the regular oils, adding it last under low heat to spare some of its great properties.
To read excerpts of book titled Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems (1992),published by The National Academies Press
Neem Resource supplies premium wildcrafted neem oil, and powdered neem bark and leaves. Click Here for Website. Located in Bloomington, MN.
Columbus Foods has been a longtime supplier of base oils for those creating bodycare products. They are located in Chicago Illinois and all orders are shipped out quickly. Neem oil is available in 7 pound bottles as well as by the drum.Click Here for Website.