Neem oil is pressed from the seed of the neem tree (Azadiracta indica Juss). This tree, native to
eastern India and Burma, is known by several names including “village pharmacy”, “cornucopia”,
“wonder tree”, and “the veritable gold mine”. Neem leaves, stems, seeds and oil have been used for
medicinal and other purposes in India for more than 4,000 years. In fact, its Sanskrit name, arishta,
means “reliever of sickness”.
Neem oil leaves a natural shine on leaves without clogging stomata that leaves need to take in
carbon dioxide and release oxygen and water vapor essential to the basic functioning of the
photosynthesis process. Many of the glossy leaf polishes, which give an unnatural appearance to
leaves, actually interfere with these natural transpiration processes.
Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of neem oil per quart of water (1 oz per gallon) to make a spray mix. Add
about 1/2 teaspoon (2 tsp per gallon) New Earth Body Builder, mild liquid dish soap or other surfactant
to get the oil to emulsify in water. Warm or hot tap water will make this process easier. Put this
mixture in a trigger spray bottle or other sprayer, shaking well before each use to get the oil in
suspension. Since many find the smell of neem oil unpleasant, vanilla extract or peppermint oil can
be used to mask the scent.
Spray on leaves until the mixture runs off to wash dust and dirt from leaves. Then allow the mixture
to dry leaving a natural appearing semi gloss look on the leaves. Leaves may be cleaned and
polished in this manner as often as twice a month if necessary.