Neem and coconut oil are celebrated remedies for balancing pitta dosha. Since pitta is dominant in the summer months, neem and coconut oil can be especially supportive during this time because of their cooling properties. For anyone with a pitta constitution or a pitta imbalance (if you don’t know yours yet, take this quiz), these two Ayurvedic goods are your best friends. Though pitta types can benefit most from neem and coconut oil, their benefits are available to everyone. As you’ll see, they’re not to be easily dismissed.
Neem is an Ayurvedic herb that comes from the neem tree, native to the Indian subcontinent. Evidence confirms that neem was used for healing purposes as far back as 4,500 years ago. The neem tree is sometimes referred as the “Village Dispensary” because every part of the tree provides medicinal value.
In Ayurveda, neem is commonly used to balance pitta and kapha doshas because of its light, cold, and dry qualities. These qualities tend to aggravate vata dosha, and neem is therefore advised not to use in the case of vata imbalance.
Benefits of Neem
Neem is known for its strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It offers plenty of benefits that impact all areas of the body from skin and dental hygiene to digestion and metabolism. It’s been extensively used in Ayurvedic and homeopathic medicine to treat inflammation, infections, fever, skin diseases, and dental disorders.
Neem is also known for its pesticidal and insecticidal properties. It’s a common ingredient in many commercial pesticide products. Some of its health benefits include:
- Helps prevent dandruff
- Promotes healthy skin and clear complexion
- Has a cooling effect on the body, reducing skin blemishes caused by excess heat like psoriasis, rashes, and acne
- Detoxifies, therefore boosting the immune system and helping clear ama from the body
- Supports healthy blood sugar levels
- Reduces excess heat and toxins in the GI tract
- Supports metabolism through digestion of excess fat and water
- Supports a healthy respiratory system
How to Use Neem
- Chew on neem twigs to clean teeth and/or relieve tooth pain
- Use internally as a neem capsule, supplement, powder, or a liquid extract
- Add to shampoo to help treat dandruff
- Add to skin care products like soaps and creams to help treat acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions caused by excess heat in the body
- Use as a paste by applying neem powder to water and then applying to affected skin or tissue
- Use herbal neem oil, like ZV Botanical’s CHILL Massage Oil, and massage into skin when practicing abhyanga or self massage
- Apply neem oil directly to nails, skin, or gums
- Swish neem oil for oral hygiene
Coconut Oil 101
Ayurveda uses a lot of oil, especially coconut oil. In fact, the Sanskrit word (Sneha) for oil translates as love. Oil is like a blanket that fills us internally and wraps us externally with warmth and compassion. Oil is cooling, lubricating, heavy, nourishing, and soothing, all of which balance the qualities of pitta and vata doshas.
Coconut oil in particular has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and its uses are extensive from cooking, hair care, skin care, and internal health. The popularity of coconut oil is for good reason. Not only is it widely available, it also offers many health benefits.
Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Antimicrobial properties clear harmful bacteria in the mouth, prevent tooth decay and gum disease
- Supports heart health and may prevent heart disease and high blood pressure
- Moisturizes dry and overheated skin
- Nourishes hair and scalp
- May reduce inflammation
- May treat skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, dry or flaky skin, scars, or burns
- Stimulates digestion and prevents constipation with its lubricating effect
- May encourage burning of fat in body
- May treat painful joints and arthritis
- Offers a delicious nutty flavor for cooking
- Great for high temperature cooking
- High in fats known as medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which are metabolized differently than many other fats and are the source for many health benefits
- Increased circulation from self-massage
- Acts as a carrier to transfer herbs deeper into the tissues
Pure and nutrient-rich coconut oil offers the most benefits, so be sure to use virgin, unrefined, and organic coconut oil.
Nature has no shortage of gifts with healing uses, two of which are coconut oil and neem. Like all things, the benefits of coconut oil and neem depend on your overall lifestyle, physical activity, and diet. That’s why it’s best to consult an Ayurvedic or Holistic Health Practitioner before relying on herbs or oils for health benefits. But when used appropriately neem and coconut oil can do wonders for the body, especially for anyone whose pitta fire is highly active. If you need to cool the body down or want to ground and nourish the body, neem and coconut oil are the answers.