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Neem and Covid-19: Bridging Ayurveda and Modern Medicine

🌿 Nature’s Botanical Bodyguard 🌿

Last week, I was inundated with calls and messages from patients, friends, and family, all sharing the same news: they had either gotten the flu or tested positive for Covid-19. In response, I immediately recommended an over-the-counter anti-viral, aimed at hastening the virus’s departure. Conventional medicine offers very effective options like Paxlovid, but a growing number of people prefer to let the virus run its course, steering clear of pharmaceuticals and instead bolstering their immune system in a natural way.

Enter Ayurveda, an ancient medical system that emphasizes the power of plants. Among its treasures is Neem, a botanical powerhouse reputed for its antiviral prowess. A recent study conducted by Eze et al titled “Anti-COVID-19 potential of Azadirachta indica (Neem) leaf extract” has spotlighted Neem as a potentially safe and effective combatant against Covid-19. This research delves into the effects of Neem leaf extract, particularly how it could disrupt SARS-CoV-2, the culprit behind the pandemic, from latching onto our cells.

The study reveals that an acetone-water extract of Neem might be a promising ally. Neem phytochemicals, either used solo or in tandem with other herbs, could act as a protective shield against various pathogens. It’s like having a botanical bodyguard!

Globally, Neem oil is celebrated for safeguarding plants from pests like aphids and inhibiting the growth of insect larvae in both home and large agricultural industries. But when it comes to human health, Ayurveda hails it as a “natural antibiotic and antiviral.” Traditionally, it’s the first line of defense against infections. The scope of Neem’s efficacy is vast, with reported success in treating skin conditions, septic wounds, and even more severe infections like ulcers and eczema. In the form of oil, it’s a go-to remedy for skin issues like scrofula and ringworm.

Have you ever seen Neem toothpaste? Traditionally, the bark of the Neem tree is used to clean the teeth and remove any debris from between the teeth.

An overview of Neem (Azadirachta indica) and its potential impact on health, 2020, Islas

A comprehensive overview of Neem’s impact on health is well-articulated in the 2020 paper by Islas, titled “An overview of Neem (Azadirachta indica) and its potential impact on health.” This work underscores Neem’s multifaceted role in health maintenance and disease prevention.

I always circle back to the wisdom of natural health. As a proponent of Ayurveda, I believe in the power of nature to not only heal but also to maintain our well-being. In addition to addressing pathogens with botanicals, I’ll remind you of the importance of a healthy daily routine, being well-rested and eating the right foods for your constitution. Lifestyle medicine is the best prevention.

For those considering Neem for Covid-19, here are my suggestions:

  • During the viral stage, take 500mg of Neem leaf powder/extract three times daily for five days, only with food.
  • Consume in capsule, tablet, or powder form only, as internal use of Neem oil is not recommended.
  • Diabetics should avoid Neem, as it can lower blood sugar levels and interact with diabetes medications.
  • For preventative use, I recommend a dosage of 500mg of Neem leaf powder/extract once daily.

Although there are no studies showing these contraindications, I caution those who are taking any other forms of antivirals such as Paxlovid, Acyclovir, Flu medication and HIV treatments to check with your health care provider before adding Neem. In some cases it can be a good adjunct, but for others it can be too much stress on the immune system.

I don’t often blanketly offer up remedies without knowing a person’s health history, but I wanted to make available a safe option to consider for thwarting viruses to those who may not have access to individual care. Remember, while embracing natural remedies, it’s crucial to do so responsibly and in conjunction with all your health care providers. It is only through the embracing of integrative approaches can we find the best protocols for preventive health and the intervention of disease.

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