Natural Way To Keep Bugs Away
Raven Liddle began formulating a line of all-natural, organically grown, DEET-free skincare products for people, pets and livestock called Second Skin Naturals in 2001.
Hawaiian Jungle Shield contains a combination of noni, aloe vera and jojoba that moisturizes the skin and soothes bites, itches and sunburn. Lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass and lavender soften the pungent smell of the main ingredient, neem. Liddle grows some of these ingredients on her 8-acre property.
What’s growing now: Aloe vera, avocados, basil (Italian), edible flowers, green beans, kale, lemon eucalyptus, lettuce (romaine, red sails), mixed greens, mizuna, neem, noni, Swiss chard, taro, tatsoi.
The earliest Sanskrit medical writings refer to the benefits of neem’s fruits, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark. Each of these has been used in the Indian Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine.
Neem is a fast-growing tree in the mahogany family, and the fruit and seeds are the source of neem oil. Neem products are used in controlling pests in plants, and are a key ingredient in non-pesticidal management.
In Pakistan, parents use it in baths for children suffering from skin diseases. Elders find it useful in controlling high blood sugar, and it is said to clean the blood. Neem leaves are dried and placed in closets to prevent insects from eating clothes, and also are dried and burnt in the tropical regions of Pakistan to keep away mosquitoes. Neem also is used to bathe the Muslim dead.
The tender shoots and flowers of the neem tree are eaten as a vegetable in India. A soup-like dish made of neem flowers is popular in Tamil Nadu. Young neem leaves are fried in oil with tiny pieces of eggplant in West Bengal. In Myanmar, young neem leaves and flower buds are boiled with tamarind to soften bitterness, and pickled neem leaves are eaten with tomato and fish paste sauce. Neem oil is not used in cooking.
Tip: Instead of spraying Hawaiian Jungle Shield on your skin, give it a good shake, spray it into your hands, and rub it onto your skin. Rinse palms and fingers afterwards.
Health benefits: An overview by Dr. Gerard Bodekar of the University of Oxford Medical School, and Gemma Burford of Global Initiative for Traditional Systems of Health reports, “The efficacy of neem as a broad spectrum pesticide, is nontoxic to humans and has important implications for its application to parasitic diseases.”
The overview concludes that neem has antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects that aid in the prevention and treatment of lice and scabies; typhoid and blood poisoning; eczema and psoriasis; ulcers, malaria and diabetes. Neem oil has some spermicidal activity, and may inhibit pregnancy.
Second Skin Naturals can be found at: You can meet Liddle and buy her skincare products, vegetables and neem leaves at Kaua’i Community College (Saturdays 9:30 a.m.). Visit SecondSkinNaturals.com for store locations, or call 634-0454.
RAVEN’S NEEM TEA
This tea is for medicinal purposes only. Raven says this recipe will make a mild tea. Neem is extremely bitter, and tastes like garlic and onions. I recommend drinking it after you kiss your lover goodnight!
* 1 handful neem leaf
* 2 quarts water
Boil water in a pot and remove from heat. Add leaves and steep for 15 minutes. For a strong tea, steep for one hour. Add a pinch of sea salt if you are going to gargle with it, or honey to sweeten.