What are its benefits?
In our intestines, some bacteria are beneficial and some are harmful. Further, some bacteria such as E. faecalis are not a problem in healthy people, but they can become opportunistic pathogens in people with underlying health conditions. Some common bacteria (such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa) are known to form biofilms – aggregates of bacteria held together by a matrix of carbohydrate. Biofilms can form on the surfaces of living tissues, such as those in the human oral cavity and gut.
Bacteria within a biofilm are more persistent and less vulnerable than when not part of a biofilm. That is, they are resistant to antibiotics. A 2019 study found that biofilm formation has been implicated in a variety of gastrointestinal diseases. A separate study set out to find medicinal plants that could inhibit or eradicate biofilm. It discovered that an extract of neem leaf was effective in disrupting formation and structure of biofilms, as well as reducing conditions that support biofilm growth.
Neem is a plant long used in traditional East Indian medicine, and modern research has found that the leaf shows significant antibacterial activity (against such bacteria as Streptococcus mutans and Enterococcus faecalis) and antifungal activity (against Candida albicans, for example). Thus, neem leaf can support natural gut immunity by contributing to a healthy balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.
What is it?
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is an evergreen tree used for thousands of years in the traditional medicine systems of India. While neem is bitter and pungent to the taste, all parts of the tree can be consumed. Typically, its twigs and leaves are chewed to support healthy gums and the oral microbiome, and neem oils are used to promote healthy skin and hair. It is the leaves and seeds that are most powerful. The leaves contain a variety of compounds, including:
- Quercetin (a polyphenolic flavonoid known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties)
- Nimbosterol (beta-sitosterol)
- A number of liminoids (nimbin and its derivatives)
- Intestinal Biofilms are an Endoscopic Feature of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Evaluation of antibacterial and anticandidial efficacy of aqueous and alcoholic extract of neem (Azadirachta Indica)
- Leaf extract of Azadirachta indica (neem): a potential antibiofilm agent for Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Dietary prophage inducers and antimicrobials: toward landscaping the human gut microbiome
- Inhibit Intestinal Biofilm with Neem, the “Village Pharmacy”