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Supplement Forms/Alternate Names:

Azadirachta indicaIndian lilacNeem tree


Neem is a tree in the same family as mahogany. All parts of the tree have been used to improve oral health and lung function. Neem has also been used to help the body fight off illness. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Neem can also be used as a mouthwash, toothpaste, or oil.


There are no advised doses for neem.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • Oral health —may improve plaque, gingivitis, and bacteria levels A1-A4

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe for most adults to use neem and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Large amounts may not be safe.B1-B2 Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should not take neem orally.B3-B8


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People with epilepsy should talk to their doctors before taking neem. It may worsen symptoms.


A. Oral Health

A1. Abhishek KN, Supreetha S, et al. Effect of Neem containing Toothpaste on Plaque and Gingivitis--A Randomized Double Blind Clinical Trial. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2015 Nov 1;16(11):880-883.

A2. Dhingra K, Vandana KL. Effectiveness of Azadirachta indica (neem) mouthrinse in plaque and gingivitis control: a systematic review. Int J Dent Hyg. 2017 Feb;15(1):4-15.

A3. Jalaluddin M, Rajasekaran UB, et al. Comparative Evaluation of Neem Mouthwash on Plaque and Gingivitis: A Double-blind Crossover Study. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2017 Jul 1;18(7):567-571.

A4. Nishad A, Sressan NS, et al. Impact of Mouthwashes on Antibacterial Activity od Subjects with Fixed Orthodontic Appliances: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Contemp Dent Pract. 2017;18(12):1112-1116.

B. Safety

B1. Balakrishnan V, Pillai NR, et al. Ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest due to neem leaf poisoning. J Assoc Physicians India. 1986 Jul;34(7):536.

B2. Boeke SJ, Boersma MG, et al. Safety evaluation of neem (Azadirachta indica) derived pesticides. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Sep;94(1):25-41.

B3. Dhongade RK, Kavade SG, et al. Neem oil poisoning. Indian Pediatr. 2008 Jan;45(1):56-57.

B4. Mishra A, Dave N. Neem oil poisoning: Case report of an adult with toxic encephalopathy. Indian J Crit Care Med. 2013 Sep;17(5):321-322.

B5. Bernardi MM, Dias SG, et al. Neurotoxicity of neem commercial formulation (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) in adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013 Nov;36(3):1276-1282.

B6. Meeran M, Murali A, Balakrishnan R, Narasimhan D. "Herbal remedy is natural and safe"--truth or myth? J Assoc Physicians India. 2013 Nov;61(11):848-50. PubMed PMID: 24974507.

B7. Kumar S, Kumar N. Neem oil poisoning as a cause of toxic encephalopathy in an infant. Indian J Pediatr. 2014 Sep;81(9):955.

B8. Suresha AR, Rajesh P, et al. A rare case of toxic optic neuropathy secondary to consumption of neem oil. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2014 Mar;62(3):337-339.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 6/29/2020