Are you looking for alternative protection against pests for your four-legged friend? Then you've come to the right place. Because we at AniForte® also value natural and plant-based ingredients and are always looking for alternatives to conventional methods. In this article, we would like to introduce you to margosa extract from the neem tree and explain how this traditional medicinal tree can help to repel ticks and protect your four-legged friend from other pests.
Medicinal plants as natural protection against ticks
With all the pesticides, chemical poisons and synthetic ingredients in use today, pet owners are increasingly looking for alternative pest control products for their pets. Ticks in particular are causing hysteria among many dog, horse and cat owners, as the effects of a tick bite can be serious for the animal.
Medicinal plants can be the solution here. They have been used as medicinal plants for thousands of years and often contain active ingredients against parasites in order to protect themselves against these pests. One such plant is the neem tree. It has a broad spectrum of biological activity and a high acaricidal potential.
The evergreen neem tree - nature's pharmacy
This tropical wonder tree grows up to 20 meters high and bears around 50 kg of cherry-sized, golden-yellow stone fruits, which can easily be mistaken for olives. The flesh of these fruits has a bittersweet taste. From February to April, the tree is covered in panicles of reddish-purple flowers, which is why it is also known as the Indian lilac.
Originally native to India and Pakistan, the neem tree can now be found in many subtropical and tropical climate zones. The plant has been used since ancient times for traditional remedies for various ailments and is often referred to as nature's pharmacy.
In addition to its healing properties, the neem tree, also known as the neem tree in our regions, also has antibacterial properties that protect it from pests and other diseases. This is one of the reasons why it is planted near homes and hospitals in India to protect against diseases.
In the meantime, the neem tree, with its numerous health-supporting and pest-repellent ingredients, has also become an insider tip in modern medicine and pest control.
Indians traditionally rub their cattle and cows with neem to prevent infestation by ticks and other insects.
Neem preparations such as margosa extract (mahalin extract) are obtained from the neem tree and used against pests such as ticks, fleas and mites in animals.
What is margosa extract?
Margosa oil is an extract from the various components of the neem tree. It can be obtained from the leaves, roots, bark, fruits, seeds or flowers of the tree. However, margosa extract should not be confused with pure neem oil, which is pressed exclusively from the seeds of the neem tree.
The neem tree contains numerous active ingredients that are effective against parasites, but can also have an anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effect. Margosa extracts have therefore been used for years both as a plant protection product and as an insect repellent for animals and humans.
How does margosa work against ticks?
Margosa extract is mainly used for external application on animals and has proven itself in tick repellent. While the extract is extremely toxic to ticks, it has no harmful effect on dogs, horses and many other animals - unlike conventional tick repellents based on neurotoxins.
The natural ingredient responsible for this repellent effect is known as azadirachtin. This chemical compound is the most important active ingredient in the neem tree for repelling pests and not only protects the tree itself, but can also benefit our animals as a tick repellent. The highest concentration is found in the seeds of the fruit, but other parts of the neem tree also provide sufficient azadirachtin.
But be careful: Margosa extract and pure neem oil can be toxic to cats. Both extract and oil contain terpenes and phenols, which can be toxic to cats even in small quantities.
Alternative flea and tick remedies have been produced on the basis of neem for years. These include Margosa. The extract has a repellent effect and is often used in spot ons for dogs and other anti-tick products. Even human preparations against parasites often use margosa extract. Studies have shown that insecticides made from natural plant sources are less toxic to animals and humans than those of synthetic origin.
Numerous scientific experiments have shown how the ingredient azadirachtin works:
Azadirachtin has been shown to overcome the tick's own protection and penetrate the tick's body. Margosa preparations contribute to the cuticle, the protective layer of the tick, becoming thinner and thus allowing toxins to pass through. This ultimately leads to the parasite being damaged from the inside and dying.
In addition, various concentrations of azadirachtin-enriched neem preparations cause damage to the morphophysiology of female ticks. On the one hand, the reproductive system of the ticks is damaged so that the egg cells cannot form viable germ cells. On the other hand, lethal damage is caused to the tick's digestive system and the pest dies after a short time. The higher the concentration of azadirachtin, the more severe the damage.
Even the US National Academy of Sciences published a report in 1992 entitled "Neem - A tree for solving global problems", in which it confirms the following effects of neem extracts on various insects, among others:
- Disrupting or inhibiting the development of eggs, larvae or pupae
- Blocking the moulting of larvae or nymphs
- Interruption of mating and sexual communication
- Repelling larvae and adults
- Deterring females from laying eggs
- Sterilization of adults
- Poisoning of larvae and adults
- Deterrence of feeding
- Blocking the ability to "swallow" (i.e. reducing the motility of the gut)
- Misdirection of metamorphosis at various stages
- Inhibition of the formation of chitin, the horn-like component of the tick's shell
Does Margosa extract have side effects?
The extract and the neem oil itself must not be swallowed as it can lead to liver and kidney problems. In addition, cats should not be treated with neem preparations as the ingredients can lead to poisoning. An alternative tick repellent for cats are preparations based on geraniol, kerosene oil and lavender oil.
Some animals can have an allergic reaction to the essential oils in the margosa extract, and neem preparations should be discontinued if this is the case.
In addition, all types of margosa extract, including neem extracts, have an abortifacient effect. Therefore, products containing margosa extract should not be used on pregnant animals, or only very sparingly.
Other active ingredients of the neem tree as a parasite killer
Neem preparations protect animals, humans and plants against a variety of pests using natural active ingredients. In addition to the most important active ingredient azadirachtin, the tree contains several other ingredients that are active in pest control in agriculture as well as in humans and animals:
Nimbin and Nimbidin: These two active ingredients have shown antiviral activity in studies. In particular against smallpox viruses in poultry and cattle and against the potato virus in crops.
Salannin: This ingredient of the neem tree also has a deterrent effect on various insects and even inhibits their feeding on contact.
Meliantriol: This active ingredient is largely responsible for the fact that India's fields have often been spared locusts. Observations have shown that neem prevents the insects from eating the plants.
Some other ingredients of the neem tree also contribute to the insect repellent ability of neem preparations. They prevent the insects from swallowing by paralyzing the swallowing mechanism.