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What to Look for when Buying Neem

Sep 2, 2008
Neem based products are becoming more widely available, but for now are usually only found on the internet or in health food and specialty stores. When shopping for neem, there are a few things to look for-

Method Of Extraction- There are a few different methods used to extract the oil from the seeds of the neem tree. As you may have guessed, not all extraction process are created equally. The one that produces the highest quality neem seed oil is called cold pressing. Cold pressed neem oil is of the highest quality, as the majority of the active compounds remain intact. This is also the oldest method of extraction, and utilizes a mechanical device that squeezes the oil from the dried seeds. Always opt for cold pressed neem oil where possible.

Another extraction process uses steam and high pressure. Though this method yields more oil than cold pressing, many of the active compounds in the neem may be destroyed from the extreme temperatures.

The third method, and the one that most processors use because it yields the most oil from the seeds, is called solvent extraction. The solvent used here is usually hexane (white gasoline). The solvent also may destroy many of the active compounds. Besides this and other obvious reasons, it is best to look for neem products that do not contain solvent extracted neem oil.

Avoid Additives- Many bath and cosmetic products today contain chemical compounds to enhance the products performance. At the same time, some of these additives could actually cause adverse side effects. Two common additives that are found in most bath products today are Lauryl Sulfates and Parabens.

Lauryl Sulfates are commonly used as foamers, because they are inexpensive and work particularly well. However, these chemicals are a known irritant. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration encourages manufacturers not to use them.

Parabens are preservatives that are found in many cosmetics, and though there has been no scientific evidence that they are harmful, they are becoming increasingly controversial among some organizations which adhere to the precautionary principle and who object to their everyday use.

Certified Organic Ingredients- Organic ingredients are always preferred. These ingredients are all natural, and have not been exposed to man-made chemicals or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, plant growth regulators of genetically modified organisms. Look for labels that list certified organic ingredients. If a manufacturer uses these ingredients, they will always state this selling point on the label.
About the Author
Manny Leger is your average health nut, and loves showing others how to live better lives through diet and exercise. He also offers neem and neem based products at his family owned website, NeemKing.org.
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