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Is neem oil safe for cats &, dogs?
While this might be debated among veterinary professionals, I've found neem oil is considered safe for cats and dogs. There is a slight concern that its effects might vary from person to person or animal to animal based on the health of the animal.
There is always the small chance that an oil could be toxic to cats and dogs. The toxicity comes from their inability to process oils with a larger proportion of fatty acids than their own. This means that dogs have a low tolerance for neem oil because their own fat content is usually higher than dogs'.
While a neem oil product may not be harmful to a pet, it is good to be aware of potential problems when using oil, and to watch for signs of an anaphylactic reaction like extreme itching, vomiting, diarrhea, urination, etc. A large cat with a history of allergies could have a more severe reaction.
There is a concern that it may cause anaphylaxis in people with peanut allergies. According to one research study a neem oil product did cause anaphylaxis in a child with peanut allergy. Although the child was given an epinephrine injection it did not prevent the reaction.
I would avoid this neem oil products.
Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) oil, a commercially available extract of the neem tree, has many medical uses due to its anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and anti-coagulant properties.
Neem is one of the oldest and most widely used botanicals. Because of the therapeutic value of neem, a large body of literature has been published on the use of the various parts of the neem tree in folklore medicine. Neem oil has a long history of use as both food and medicinal products in India and other parts of the world. In traditional medicine neem is used as an astringent, a tonic, an antimicrobial, a demulcent, an anti-arthritic, an anti-fungal, a stomachic, an anti-diarrheal, an anti-nauseant and as a remedy for a variety of other conditions.
The leaves, which are widely used, have been shown to possess antiviral activity, in vitro (Jain, 1997). This has also been verified in the natural infection by herpes simplex virus in rats. Azadirachtin has also been found to have antimicrobial properties, and has also been tested against Herpes simplex virus (Herpesvirus simplex, HSV), herpes type I and II viruses, and Candida albicans (Babu, 1995). Studies have also demonstrated that the oil has insecticidal properties, and can be used against mosquitoes (Reddy et al, 1985).
The plant's seed has been proven to be effective in the treatment of diabetes (Ragde, 2002). The oil has been found to have an anti-oxidant effect in vitro (Sharma et al, 1994).
The plant does produce some compounds that are very good deterrents to certain insects, and also provides some chemical compounds that can kill other insects. One of the main compounds that I am most interested in is azadirachtin. There have been a number of different tests on azadirachtin to determine its effects on humans, and these tests have not always been negative. In one study (Shahidi et al, 2007) azadirachtin was found to have a high toxicity level. Azadirachtin has shown to reduce cancerous growth in mice and in rats (Zhang et al, 2001). Azadirachtin has also been proven to have the ability to heal wounds in rats (Zhang et al, 2002). The plant also produces a lot of natural products that are good astringents and tannins (which are naturally antimicrobial). The seeds have also been shown to inhibit cholesterol production (Reddy et al, 1985).
As the extract is mainly composed of tannins, it will produce astringent taste. On account of its high tannin content, the use of the plant is limited to external application. Other chemicals, such as alkaloids, glucosinolates, glycosides, terpenoids, and xanthones are also present in small amounts.
From the above, it is obvious that the plants do not appear to produce a harmful effect on humans, although they are not good for humans, either. So if you have an alternative choice, than an alternative could be a noxious plant that does harm to humans.
Other plants in the same family
There are other plants that are similar to O. gratissima, but are actually different plants that produce different compounds. One example is Euphorbia species, which produce latex that is used for its anti-malaria properties (Wikipedia). O. gratissima is actually one of many species that produce latex, and this could be a reason why O. gratissima is being used for this purpose.
If you are going to use this plant for some reason, then use the least amount of. A lot of plants are safe, but you have to be careful with what you use. Also, if the plant is going to be used for food, then it has to be organic. It would also be a good idea to find a good supplier to get a good quantity of the plant.
National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2018. Oenothera fruticosa. Available online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?id=247980
Reddy et al, 1985. Effect of seed extracts of Oenothera fruticosa on serum cholesterol levels in rabbits. J