It's that time of year when I start mixing up Neem oil for spraying on the garden and sprays for us & the animals.
Neem oil is the oil pressed from the seeds of an evergreen tree Azadirachta Indica that originated in India and the surrounding south Asia region. The medicinal properties of Neem have been found in texts dating back thousands of years. Use of this oil can benefit gardens, pets, and people.
Neem oil can be used in the home garden and approved for organic farming because it has insecticide properties that are safe to use on vegetables and fruits but doesn’t harm pets, children or the environment. It will repel a variety of garden pests such as the mealy bugs and Japanese beetles. It will also control black spot, powdery mildew and rust, and it does this with no harm to any mammals, birds, or helpful insects like the honeybee, ladybugs, nor will it harm earthworms. Neem oil can be sprayed around areas for mosquito control, and even used on skin as a repellent.
For a botanical pesticide use 1 teaspoon of pure Neem oil per quart, or 4 teaspoons per gallon of water.
Neem oil is high in Vitamin E, contains emollients, amino acids, and fatty acids. It is soothing to dry, cracked, and damaged skin and can help restore skin's natural elasticity. Neem oil has much in common with tea tree oil in that it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be useful in combating acne, eczema and fungus. It can also help in the lightening of scars and pigmentation, and be used in shampoos to relieve itchy scalps and control dander.
This oil does have a bitter taste along with an unpleasant odor that has been described as a mixture of garlic and sulfur. Blending additional essential oils with Neem can help to mask the scent, Tea Tree oil and Lavender essential oil are a couple that work well in masking the scent and share similar properties.
With spring approaching you may want to consider having this oil handy to use in your gardens, on your pets for flea control, and in your soaps and lotions to soothe irritated skin.
Please remember if you choose to add this to a product you are selling for skin care avoid phrasing such as insect repellent, healing or anything similar will knock your product out of the cosmetic category and into a pesticide or drug catagory.
Some formulas to get you started—
Neem oil does not mix with water, so adding some liquid soap to the water will helps to emulsify. For a general purpose spray mix at a rate of 0.5% to 1% Neem oil to water. If fighting a severe problem you may use up to 2% Neem oil. For a 5% dilution you would use 1 teaspoon of Neem oil in 1 quart of warm water with a ½ teaspoon of liquid soap. Shake frequently while using. Spray early in the morning or early evening; spraying both the top and underside of the leaves. Keep in mind Neem does not work like a ‘kill it now’ pesticide. It interferes with the hormones of the chewing and sucking insects that interrupts the life cycle. Applications may be repeated in 5 days and after rain.
Neem oil can add to the shampoo that you are already using at a rate of ½ oz Neem oil to 8 ounces of shampoo to sooth dry itchy scalps and control dandruff.
Neem oil mixed in a carrier oil may be used for direct skin application. ½ oz of Neem to 8 ounces of oil.
Keep ringworm, fleas, mites, and biting insects from making your dog miserable by adding some Neem to the doggie shampoo. Hot spots and mange treat spots with a 1:1 ratio of Neem to a carrier oil and apply.