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Azadirachtin-based insecticides became the first neem product to be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

    Natural extracts from seed of the neem tree are the key ingredient in new commercial products registered by the Environmental Protection Agency for pest and disease control. ARS scientists pioneered the use of neem seed as an alternative for chemicals. One of the findings was that neem extracts can control pests such as whiteflies, aphids, mealybugs and mites. Another finding was that neem can protect several ornamental and food crops against fungus diseases such as rusts and powdery mildew that attack leaves. James Locke, (301) 504-6413, U.S. National Arboretum, Washington, DC.
    In 1987, ARS researchers demonstrated the systemic activity of a neem seed extract containing azadirachtin against leafmining flies. Larvae that fed on plants grown in azadirachtin-treated soil rarely survived to adulthood.
USDA = United States Department of Agriculture.
ARS = Agricultural Research Services.


Neem Oil    Neem oil is a botanical pesticide made from an extract of the plant Azadirachta indica. Since it doesn't strongly affect humans, mammals, or beneficial bugs, farmers use neem oil as an insecticide and miticide to keep away pests like aphids and white flies. Neem oil even protects crops from fungal infections such as mildew and rust. People use insecticide with neem oil to repel mosquitoes and lice.

    The plant that gives us neem oil originates in Southeast Asia. People from these countries have long noted the benefits of crushing the leaves and stems against their skin to keep off biting insects like gnats. A wider industrial and commercial use was found for the potent oil by grinding the seeds of the neem plant. When the oil is distilled from seeds, its concentrated mixture contains high amounts of the active chemical azadirachtin.

    Azadirachtin-rich neem oil gets sprayed on crops as an organic substitute for other harsher insecticides that might be carcinogenic or have limited uses. Neem oil repels harmful insects like white flies, gnats, aphids, mites, and weevils, as well as strengthening the crops against rust, scab, mildew, and blight. Edible crops of vegetables do not get poisoned when neem oil is used.

    Neem oil makes the plants it touches taste bitter, so pests won't eat them, as a "contact" insecticide. Azadirachtin also interrupts insects' transitions between different stages of metamorphosis, such as growing from larvae to pupae. It prevents insects from developing a hardened exoskeleton. When the chemical gets absorbed through the roots of crops, it functions as a "systemic insecticide." That means crops don't need to be constantly re-sprayed.

    The greatest benefit of using neem oil is that it doesn't harm beneficial insects. Butterflies, earthworms, and bees all help plants pollinate or absorb nutrients. Lacewings eat insects trying to feed on the crops. But these bugs won't have a negative reaction to neem oil or azadirachtin.

    Neem oil has even made it into cosmetic and household products. Lotions and skin sprays use the oil as a mild insecticide that isn't likely to cause rashes. If you soak cotton balls in neem oil and place them in your closet, it will dissuade wool moths from devouring your clothes. While neem oil smells faintly of garlic, many people prefer it to stronger chemical alternatives.


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Powdery mildew

    Instead of using copper, sulphur, or even systemic treatments, biological neem oil is used on fruits, nuts, vegetables, herbs, spices, roses, houseplants, flowers, trees, and shrubs. And it is specially indicated on vineyards against mildew, who attacks grapes plants, not only as a prevention, but also as an effective curative treatment.

    Neem Oil is an effective fungicide for the prevention and control of various fungal diseases including powdery mildew, black spot, downy mildew, anthracnose, rust, leaf spot, botrytis, needle rust, scab and flower, twig and tip blight, and alternaria.


Agricultural Research, June, 1994 by Hank Becker

    " numerous tests, a spray of 1-percent neem oil in water "stopped 95 to 100 percent of the powdery mildew on hydrangeas, lilacs, and phlox."

    A single spray application was sufficient to protect these ornamentals from infection. Repeated applications at 7- to 14-day intervals as the plants grew provided disease protection without any plant damage. On plants where mildew had begun to develop, "it was arrested, providing control comparable to each of three chemical fungicides."

    Powdery mildew, which also attacks crepe myrtles and roses, causes leaves to turn white. Preliminary results indicate the oil will arrest and control the fungus that plagues these popular ornamentals, especially in humid zones.

Spider mites - microscopic view    This research, begun in cooperation with former ARS entomologist Hiram Larew, also demonstrated that neem oil can reduce damage caused by various pests, including spider mites.

    "In preliminary tests, a 2-percent spray of neem seed oil applied directly to spider mite eggs resulted in an 87-percent mortality".

    Research at USDA on plant-derived natural pesticides, such as nicotine, dates back to the 1920's. Beginning in 1975, extraction products from neem seeds were evaluated for their insect-killing properties. Many insect pests may be affected by Azadirachtin including aphids, beetles, caterpillars, lace bugs, leafhoppers, leafminers, mealybugs, psyllids, thrips and whiteflies.


    Neem seeds and leaves contain many compounds which are useful for pest control. Unlike chemical insecticides, neem compounds work on the insect’s hormonal system, not on the digestive or nervous system and therefore doe not lead to development of resistance in future generations. These compounds belong to a general class of natural products called ‘limonoids’.
The liminoids present in neem make it a harmless and effective insecticides, pesticide, nematicide, fungicide etc. The most significant liminoids found in neem with proven ability to block insect growth are: azadirachtin, salanin, meliantriol and nimbin. Azadirachtin is currently considered as neem’s main agent for controlling insects. ‘It appears to cause 90% of the effect on most pests. It does not kill insects – at least not immediately – instead it both repels and disrupts their growth and reproduction. Research over the past years has shown that it is the most potent growth regulator and feeding deterrent ever assayed. It will repel or reduce the feeding of many species of pest insects as well as some nematodes. In fact, it is so potent that a mere trace of its presence prevents some insects from even touching plants.’

Neem Oil Processing    Certain hormones are necessary for growth and development of insects. These hormones control the process of metamorphosis as the insects pass from larva to pupa to adult. Azadirachtin blocks those parts of the insect’s brain that produce these vital hormones. As a result, insects are unable to molt. It is through these subtle hormonal effects that this important compound of neem breaks the life cycle of insects. The insect populations decline drastically as they become unable to reproduce.

    Meliantriol and salannin act as powerful antifeedants. Nimbin as well as nimbidin (another neem component) have antiviral property.

    Blocking the larvae from molting is considered to be neem’s most important quality which can be used to eliminate many pest species. Neem products are harmless to most insect eaters, humans and other mammals, except certain marine life like crabs, lobsters, fishes and tadpoles.
In spite of high selectivity, neem derivatives affect ca. 400 to 500 species of insects belonging to Blattodea, Caelifers, Dermaptera, Diptera, Ensifera, Hetroptera, Hymenoptera, Isoptera, Lepidoptera, Phasmida, Phthiraptera, Siphonoptera and Thysanoptera, one species of ostracad, several species of mites, and nematodes and even noxious snails and fungi, including aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus flavus.


© Productos de Neem. Spain - 2008
Neem Tree - anti-acne cream and powder; seed oil, anti-scurf and sinusitis, leaves for conjunctivitis, etc. Neem extract.
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