Neem oil is a natural traditional cure for scalp and hair problems. For centuries Indians have been extracting oil from the neem tree’s leaves, kernels, and bark; every part of the tree can be used. The Neem tree is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties making it beneficial for a variety of medicinal purposes, but especially for hair related ailments.
Neem oil treats hair ailments by cleansing the scalp and stimulating blood flow to the skin. It is rich in fatty acids, limonoids, vitamin E, triglycerides, antioxidants, and calcium. When applied, it delivers these nutrients directly to your hair, resulting in healthier shinier hair.
Benefits of neem oil for hair
- Control dandruff
- Prevent damage of hair roots
- Repair damaged cuticles
- Rehydrate parched frizzy hair
- Get rid of and disrupt growth of head lice
- Reduce premature greying
Methods for extracting neem oil
There are two methods to extract the essence of the neem plant. One involves a cold fusion method to extract the neem essence into coconut oil, and the other by boiling the neem leaves in coconut oil. Both methods are straight forward and need no special equipment or skills.
The simplest way to extract the neem essence is the cold infusion method. The essence from the neem leaves transfers into coconut oil without any thermal influence. This process takes a two to three weeks.
The other way to extract the neem essence involves thermal impact. The neem leaves give off their essential oil into coconut oil when heated to a boil. The whole process, unlike the cold fusion, takes not more than an hour.
The cold infusion method
Items needed, a glass jar with a tight lid, clean coconut oil, fresh neem leaves.
The process is as follows:
- Wash the leaves thoroughly and make sure there are no sand or soil particles.
- Remove excess water carefully with a paper towel and allow the leaves to dry for several minutes until the water evaporates completely.
- Put them into a clean dry glass jar. Don’t fill the jar completely. Leave space near the top.
- Pour in the clean coconut oil. Make sure the oil covers the leaves.
- Cover the jar with the lid and set aside for two weeks. The jar should be stored at a room temperature and away from the sunlight. The direct sun rays can destroy everything in a matter of minutes.
- In two weeks, undo the lid and filter the oil into a separate jar or bowl.
Note, this method will provide you with only a little part of the essential oil that can be found in the neem leaves
- Store the oil in a tightly covered jar in a cool place as far away from the direct sunlight as possible and try to use it within three to four months. This is the longest storage time under proper conditions for neem oil of this type
The hot infusion method
Items needed, a saucepan, a sieve, coconut oil, and fresh neem leaves (possibly with stems and kernels).
The process is as follows:
- Wash neem leaves and, again, remove the excess water with a paper towel or just let it evaporate in a natural way.
- Pour a generous amount of coconut oil into a saucepan and heat it. Coconut oil is slightly milky when it’s cold but loses this color while being heated. You need to heat it up until it’s completely transparent.
- In the meanwhile, grind the neem leaves with the help of a blender or a grinder until you have a thick paste with particles of leaves and stems.
- When the oil is transparent, add the neem paste and stir immediately. Let the mixture boil, stirring it constantly and thoroughly.
- When it boils, reduce the fire and keep on cooking for several minutes more. When you can see that the liquid in the saucepan is green, turn the fire off.
- Filter the oil into a clean and dry glass jar with a tight lid.
- This is how you can receive the neem infused coconut oil easily. The percentage of the neem essence in this mixture is much higher than in the previous example. You can apply this oil as it is or even dissolve with some neutral basic oils to reduce the concentration.
- Store in a cool place, don’t expose to the direct sunlight and this extract will serve you for several months
Adapted from www.legit.ng
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