Neem is a plant that is popularly known in Nigeria as “dogoyaro” or “dogonyaro”. This plant is known to have numerous health benefits. Aside from its health benefits, dogoyaro has been used for various beauty regimes for thousands of years. The scientific name of dogoyaro is Azadirachta indica. The plant’s fruit, seeds, leaves, stems, and bark have been used for diverse purposes in Nigeria. This article discusses the nutritional composition and health benefits of dogo yaro (neem), as well as its side effects.
Nutritional and Phytochemical Composition of Dogoyaro (Neem)
Dogoyaro plant contains a plethora of nutrients and phytochemicals The main compound in the plant is a substance called azadirachtin. It also contains limonoids, while the seed’s oil contains glycerides, polyphenols, nimbolide, triterpenes, and beta-sitosterol. The yellow, bitter oil has a garlic-like odor and contains about 2% of limonoid compounds. Also, dogoyaro leaves contain quercetin, catechins, carotenes, and vitamin C. According to a 2005 review, neem contains over 140 active compounds in various parts of the plant that may be responsible for its medicinal properties.
10 Health Benefits Of Dogoyaro (Neem)
Various parts of the dogoyaro tree have long been used in traditional African medicine, for treating ailments such as pain, fever, malaria, infection, and its twigs have been used to clean teeth. Below are some of the health benefits of dogoyaro or neem:
1. Supports Hair Health
Neem seed extract contains azadirachtin, and it fights parasites that affect hair and skin. Azadirachtin disrupts parasite growth and hinders their reproduction and other cellular processes.
Nimbidin and neem extract is a compound found in neem oil. These are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help to treat dandruff. Dandruff and scalp irritation could result from fungal build-up on the scalp.
2. Can Boost Dental And Oral Health
It is common in India to chew neem bark as this helps promote oral hygiene. In addition, Neem possesses antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties that can improve oral health.
Studies show that neem could help treat gingivitis, help relieve pain, and tooth decay. However, more research is required to back this claim.
3. Enhance Liver And Kidney Health
Dogoyaro’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may help fight oxidative stress, which may, in turn, enhance liver and kidney health. Oxidative stress is a build-up of unstable molecules called free radicals.
Although the body naturally produces free radicals, external factors could increase it. Free radicals are known to cause cancer and other liver diseases.
4. Improve Skin Health
The seeds from the neem plant produce an oil rich in fatty acids, like, oleic, stearic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. Collectively, these fatty acids have been shown to contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, which promote healthy skin.
5. Possesses Wound-Healing Properties
According to animal studies, neem leaf extract is effective in wound healing by increasing the inflammatory response and the formation of new blood vessels. In fact, a 2015 study stated that neem leaves extract has the same wound healing rate as povidone iodine.
6. Antimalarial Effects
Research shows that neem contains active compounds called limonoids. Limonoids may be effective at targeting malaria-infected cells, similar to the use of conventional treatments like chloroquine.
7. Anti-Diabetic Properties
Some believe that neem leaf extract can be used to battle or control diabetes. This neem extract is a replacement for diabetes medication by many. The plant has been shown to have powerful anti-diabetic effects.
This is because neem contains agents that can help revive cells that produce insulin (the hormone that helps control blood and sugar levels).
8. Possible Antifertility Treatment
Many also consider neem an alternative to a vasectomy due to its antifertility effects. Vasectomy is a surgical process that stops the release of sperm. Medical studies on animals found out that Neem may immobilize and destroy sperm with no long-term consequences. The leaf extract was said to exhibit spermicidal activities.
9. Treats Ulcers
According to various studies, neem leaves could be useful in treating skin and intestinal ulcers. In a 2013 study, 100 mg of neem oil was applied topically twice daily for 34 days and completely healed chronic skin ulcers. While in another study, people with intestinal ulcers received 30 mg of neem extract orally twice daily. After 10 weeks, the ulcers were almost completely healed.
10. Natural Pesticide
Neem is one of the main ingredients in non-pesticidal management (NPM) and serves as a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides. The seeds are ground into powder, soaked overnight in water, and sprayed on the crop. Neem does not kill insects directly, rather, it acts as an anti-feedant, repellent, and prevents egg-laying, which protects the crop from damage. Furthermore, neem oil can also be used to repel termite attacks as an ecofriendly and economical agent.
Side Effects of Dogoyaro (Neem)
- Neem oil has the ability to cause some types of toxic encephalopathy and ophthalmopathy if consumed in any amount
- Neem may also cause miscarriages and infertility.
- Long-term use of the plant may harm the kidneys or liver, while in small children, neem oil is toxic and can lead to death.
- Although neem may be safe to use topically when diluted, it should never be taken orally as it may harm your health.
Dogoyaro or neem is a powerful plant with potential health benefits and medicinal uses. Its leaves, oil, seeds, fruit, root, and bark have been shown to exhibit medicinal properties. However, they also have dangerous side effects on infants and pregnant women. In addition, there is poor comprehensive research to ascertain the health effects on humans. Nonetheless, in order to minimize health risks, never self-medicate and consult a licensed healthcare professional before using this plant.
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