Although discovered in mid-1800s as an ornamental plant, the use of Melia Azedarach expanded to cosmetics, pharmaceutical and skincare industries. Its level of dermatology-based treatment is so high that it has drawn the attention of many researchers and scientists.
Starting from the leaves and timbers to flowers, fruits and seeds, all the parts of this plant have several compounds. They deal with bad molecules and stimulate good molecules just to make sure the skin stays healthy. Hence, the plant is found as an active ingredient in lots of skincare products and ointments.
Also known as Chinaberry, Melia Azedarach is a small to medium-sized herb native to Asia and Australia. But because of its multiple skin benefits, it’s reached different parts of the world. So, let’s know the main advantages of the plant and how they work.
What Is Melia Azedarach Used For Skin?
Melia Azedarach is rich in antioxidants, moisturizing, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents that help moisturize skin, fight signs of aging, treat a variety of skin infections/injuries, diminish acne and reduce pain.
This is the reason why it’s used in different products for skin such as –
- Essential oils
- Medicinal ointments
Note that the Chinaberry plant or its extracts should be used topically on skin. Consuming the herb can be poisonous for you.
What Is The Benefit Of Chinaberry?
Moisturizing Properties- Keeps Skin Hydrated
Many moisturizers use Melia Azedarach since it efficiently helps keep the skin hydrated. The juice of chinaberry leaves impart essential fatty acids and oleamide and these compounds make sure to treat abnormally dry skin by locking in moisture and preventing water loss. Because the plant moisturizes skin, it also prevents skin itching.
Chinaberry’s ability to improve dry skin is what makes it ideal for hydrating creams and lotions.
Antioxidant Properties: Prevents Signs of Aging
There are some active contents in Melia Azedarach that fight the production of free radicals. Compounds like alkaloids, saponins, tannins, phenols, glycosides, steroids, terpenoids and flavonoids are found in chinaberry plant and they have radical scavenging agents. A study mentions that- chinaberry plant has the highest amount of phenolic contents which showed the greatest antioxidant activity.
In short, the plant tends to neutralize unstable molecules through antioxidants and further protect skin from damage caused by them. Consequently, it works to prevent premature aging signs like fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. So, Melia Azedarach does play a key role in skincare since it can promote youthful and radiant complexion.
Antimicrobial Properties: Fights Microbes
One of the most common Melia azedarach benefits is that it has antimicrobial properties. The plant works to treat skin infections caused by bacteria, virus and fungus. Through the extracts of leaves, barks, fruits and seeds, the chinaberry targets the microbes to inhibit or kill them. Compounds like Benzene and Limonoids found in the plant carry such antimicrobial activity and has been proven to soothe irritated skin.
A study reveals that Melia Azedarach showed efficiency in fighting against the Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria as well as fungi and viruses. Hence, many ointments use the extracts of chinaberry for conditions like athlete’s foot, tinea versicolor, tinea pedis, jock itch and ringworm.
Anti-Acne Properties: Reduces Pimples and Acne
Although not a much-highlighted benefit, Melia Azedarach can treat pimples and acne through its leaf juice or paste.
There are some researchers who consider the ethanolic extracts of plants a potential anti-acne agent. And such agent is present in chinaberry as well which means it can effectively work against pimples on skin by harmonizing and fighting the production of sebum and sebaceous glands. Not just that, it can also lighten pigments and even out skin tone.
Anti-inflammatory Properties: Obstructs Free Radicals
Besides combatting skin infections, Melia Azedarach has significant membrane stabilization properties to treat inflammation, which is considered our body’s natural response to injuries. It does so by obstructing inflammatory pathways so it can protect cells from damage. Thus regardless of any wound or injury, the plant works to reduce pain and heal it with anti-inflammatory agents.
As previously mentioned, there are alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins and tannins in the flower of Melia Azedarach. Not only do these compounds have antioxidant traits but anti-inflammatory and curing properties as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Are The Side Effects Of Melia Azedarach?
Every part of Melia Azedarach is considered poisonous to be consumed be it barks, leaves, seeds, fruits or flowers. Eating them may lead to adverse effects like gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiovascular ans neurological problems. It can also result in death in severe cases.
Chinaberry is only recommended to be used topically not orally. As per studies, people can experience the effects of poisoning if they eat 6-9 fruits, 30-40 seeds or 400g of bark of the plant. It may take a few hours or weeks for the warning signs to appear.
2. Is Chinaberry Same As Neem?
No, chinaberry and neem are both different kinds of plants with each having individual characteristics.
Leaves of chinaberry are usually smaller and softer than those of neem. The flowers of chinaberry are white or lavender colored whereas neem flowers are all white. As for the fruit, chinaberry one looks round while the one of neem is oval-shaped.
However, the skin-based benefits of both Chinaberry and Neem are almost similar.
3. What Is The Active Ingredient In Melia Azedarach?
Some of the active ingredients of Melia Azedarach are benzene, fatty acids, oleamide, alkaloids, saponins, tannins, phenols, glycosides, steroids, terpenoids and flavonoids.
All of them have been found in the extracts of the leaves, barks, fruits, flowers and seeds of chinaberry plant and each compound carries different functions and benefits for skin.
Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.