In Asia this tree is fabled as 'the wonder tree,' and its oil and other parts are used for a wide range of conditions. It has a very pungent, garlicky smell, which is why it is not so suitable for massage or bath blends, but makes an excellent addition to healing salves and lotions. In Ayurvedic medicine this oil is used for all types of 'problem' skin. In India it is highly respected for its anti-parasitic, insect repellent, anti-fungal, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties.
In India, Neem is planted near dwellings for protection against disease and evil. It is also used in cleansing ritual baths and fumigations. It is said to have gained its protective powers by receiving some drops of heavenly nectar.
Vegetable oils and butters are derived from seeds and nuts or very oily vegetables like olives or avocadoes. Just as such nuts and vegetables are healthy and nutritious for the body when included in the diet they also nourish and help to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair when used in cosmetic preparations. Each type of oil has its own specific characteristics, feel and consistency. Some are quite drying, while others are rich and thick. Some have a chemical structure that is very similar to the skin's sebum and are thus particularly healing. Some oils are particularly rich in unsaturated essential fatty acids (also known as EFAs, such as oleic or linoleic fatty acids) and vitamin E and other fat soluble vitamins, which are essential to our health and well-being. Such oils are considered vitalizing and rejuvenating and are thus particularly suitable for tired and worn skin.