When inflammation and icky, dirty conditions arise, where do you turn for a natural, holistic fix? Most of us in the aromatherapy world answer this automatically with tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a fantastic substance that those of us in the know turn to for the health and well-being of numerous skin issues and for its natural cleansing properties. So, what do we do when we encounter someone who is allergic to plants in the melaleuca family, the genus that tea tree belongs to?
THE ANSWER: NEEM.
Neem is a strong, bitter oil that is considered a cure-all in India. Ayurvedic medicine has long revered neem oil because of its wide range of therapeutic uses. This star of nature’s pharmacy has been front and center in Eastern Medicine for centuries, but most of us have not heard of it and don’t understand its many uses. Ayurvedic practitioners consider it to have wonderful detoxification properties. Neem is powerfully soothing to inflammatory conditions. It can be used to promote the health of skin that has been invaded by bacterial or fungal infection. Because it is comprised of over 70% fatty acids, neem is a shining star when it comes to supporting skin health.
I am one of those unfortunate individuals who cannot use tea tree oil. The melaleucas are at the top of my husband’s allergy list. Being the resourceful gal that I am, I read up on alternatives and came across this gem of an essential oil. No longer do I have to be left hanging when it comes time to create a blend that has bacteria and fungi-kicking powers. This has been especially beneficial to my children’s toes. It doesn’t sound very romantic, but my favorite neem-based blend is what I call toe oil. Both of my kids get terrible ingrown toenails. These get infected, and with my son, this is further complicated by a persistent case of athlete’s foot.
With one blend, my infamous toe oil, those nasty, little feet are completely taken care of. Of course, you now want to know how to make toe oil - probably because of the great name!
I mentioned before that neem is rather strong and pungent. I warn you that I sometimes get a little hungry when I am blending neem because it smells to me like a particularly rich beef stock. Yum, but not really what one expects from an essential oil. I usually try to mask it with other oils that smell great and are also therapeutic. I start with Jojoba oil as my carrier oil, to help soften the skin and aid in quick absorption. I add a little carrot seed oil for its skin rejuvenating reputation. Then comes lots of lavender, because it smells yummy and is wonderfully soothing. Last, I add a nice dose of peppermint. Peppermint smells fantastic, and my kids will attest to its analgesic properties.
Wendy's Toe Oil Recipe:
- 1 oz carrier oil
- 20 drops Lavender Oil
- 10 drops Neem Oil
- 10 drops Peppermint Oil
- 5 drops Carrot Seed Oil
My toe oil, much like neem, doesn’t sound fancy but packs a double whammy of therapeutic properties. It clears my children’s icky foot issues up, soothes their pain, and smells fresh and yummy. If my kids beg for it, you know it’s good. Floracopeia offers 100% pure neem oil.
Note: This article was originally published March 22, 2012