I first discovered this terrific soap while I was on vacation in Kerala, India. I had just finished a yoga teacher training and took the time to tour around the backwaters in the south before returning home.
Walking around the seaside in Fort Cochin, I found myself drawn to a fabulous hotel that looked and felt more like a living room rather than a busy lobby. It was actually a restored 300-year-old house designed by a German architect who omitted the traditional hotel lobby. He created the same feeling you would get from walking into a private residence. It was first thing I noticed, because it lacked the obnoxious ‘reception’ sign that, no matter how nice they try to make it, somehow never fits.
Eager to check in and get to the room, I found the neem and tulsi soap as a cute little sample in the bathroom. Coincidentally, it was also named the the Yogi’s Soap.
Neem is a plant growing in South Asia (mainly Sri Lanka, Burma and India) and has been used for thousands of years. In many villages of India the streets are lined with neem trees. Considered sacred and god-like, many villagers worship the trees as a god. The trees serve multiple purposes by giving shelter from the heat, the leaves as a cure for skin rashes, and the twigs for toothpaste. Recent research has even found that neem can be a preventive measure for prostate cancer.
Tulsi is called the ‘Holy Basil’ in India with reference made to it in the Holy Scriptures. It's an antioxidant that boosts the immune system, acts as a stress relieving agent, and is often found in tea.
Tips on what to look for:
Although many of the soaps found today contain other ingredients such as aloe vera, the purer form is made from neem and tulsi. Neem soap is either made from neem oil, leaves or both. Check the label for the percentage of neem and the other ingredients added. Neem oil alone does not smell great so when mixed with tulsi this neutralizes the soap. Some of the more common name brands are TheraNeem and Hamam (an Indian manufacturer).
6 Benefits for Using Neem and Tulsi Soap:
- Soothes backaches and relieves stress and tension from the muscles
- Acts as an anti-bacteria clearing up skin rashes, eczema and ache
- It is smooth, soft and gentle without leaving a residue or sticky film
- It is a non-toxic and chemically unaltered product
- Lathers well and leaves the skin moisturized
- Usually is wrapped in white paper making it feel like a spa soap.
So say good-bye to Zest, Dove and Camay and hello to Neem and Tulsi.