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Complementary Medicine

Long Term Use of Neem

07/05/2006

Question:

Hi, I`ve been looking for herbs/vitamins to treat my acne and I came across the herb Neem (capsules). Do you have any other herbs or vitamins that can help with my acne? Also, I`m curious if Neem can be taken long term? Thanks

Answer:

I am not aware of other herbs that help with acne, but lowering the omega-6 in your diet and or supplementing with fish oil is reported to help markedly.

Regarding Neem, it originated in India. Neem has been used to treat infections, skin conditions, and reduce swellings. It is also used as a pesticide to protect food and other products from being eaten by insects. The anti-germ properties of neem leaves and seed oil have long been recognized for their benefits to the skin and hair but may not be safe after 6 weeks depending on dose and route of application.

Reported side effects can be: altered sensations, anemia, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), coma, death (in children), diarrhea, drowsiness, heart attack, liver enzyme increases, low sugar levels, changes in blood cell count, seizures, starvation, toxic encephalopathy, uterine damage, vomiting.

It is reported to interact with the following drugs:Tylenol(acetaminophen), drugs that lower blood pressure, cyclophosphamide, mitomycin C, drugs that are broken down by the liver, morphine, diabetic drugs, quinine, garlic, and other herbs or supplements with similar effects.

As with all medications, consult your personal physician to be sure this would be safe and effective for you.

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Response by:

Glen F Aukerman, MD, DABFP Glen F Aukerman, MD, DABFP
Formerly:
Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University