Neem is a large evergreen tree in the mahogany family and is native to India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It has a long history of use for internal and topical issues. Over 135 medicinally active substances have been identified within every part of the tree.
Neem oil is pressed from the seeds and is very moisturizing with vitamin E, essential amino acids and fatty acids. It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and bug-repellent (mosquitoes, biting flied, sand flies and ticks). An extract of neem leaves has similar properties to the oil, but to a lesser degree. Neem leaves are one of the botanicals that are "steeped" in witch hazel to make our Balancing Face Toner. The oil has a very strong garlic-sulfur smell which is found unpleasant by most people, so it is usually used in conjunction with other more pleasant scents to mask the odor.
We use neem oil in our Balancing Face Oil and in our Take A Hike! bug-repellent spray which masks the neem scent with a great smelling, citrusy bug-repellent essential oil blend that is also safe for use on dogs. Neem oil is also used in our Eucalyptus Mint soap for its bug-repellent and moisturizing properties. The essential oil blend used in this soap is also bug repellent, but with a more woodsy scent. Ground neem leaves were added for a bit of exfoliation, but over time the soap draws out some of the medicinal properties from the leaves.