Are you looking for alternative protection against pests for your furry friend? Then you are exactly right with us. At AniForte®, we value natural and plant-based ingredients and are always looking for alternatives to conventional methods. Today we would like to introduce you to the margosa extract from the neem tree and explain how this traditional medicinal tree can help your companion repel ticks and other pests.
Medicinal plants as natural protection against ticks
With all the pesticides, chemical substances and synthetic ingredients common today, pet owners are increasingly looking for alternative parasite repellents for their animals.
Medicinal plants may be the solution here. They already have proven their value as medicinal plants for thousands of years. One such plant is the neem tree with its broad spectrum of biological activity and high acaricidal potential.
The evergreen neem tree - nature's pharmacy
The tropical wonder tree grows up to 20 meters high and carries around 50 kg of cherry-sized, golden-yellow pitted fruit, which can easily be mistaken for olives. The pulp of these fruits has a bittersweet taste. From February to April the tree is covered with red-violet flower buds and therefore bears the name “Indian Lilac.”
Originally native to India and Pakistan, the neem tree is now found in many subtropical and tropical climates. The plant has been used for traditional remedies for various ailments since ancient times and is often referred to as nature's pharmacy.
In addition to its healing properties, the tree carries antibodies that protect it from pests and other diseases. The neem tree with its numerous health-supporting and pest-repellent properties has become an insider tip in modern medicine and pest control.
Neem preparations such as margosa extract (mahalin extract) are harvested from the neem tree and used against pests such as ticks, fleas and mites.
What is Margosa Extract?
Margosa oil is made from the various components of the neem tree. It can be obtained from leaves, roots, bark as well as fruits, seeds or flowers of the tree. Margosa extract should not be confused with the pure neem oil, which is pressed exclusively from the seeds of the neem tree.
The neem tree contains numerous active ingredients that are directed against parasites, but can also have anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects. For this reason, margosa extracts have been used for years both as pesticides and as a means of repelling insects for animals and humans.
How does Margosa work against ticks?
Margosa extract is mainly used for external application in animals and has proven itself in the defense against ticks. While the extract is extremely toxic to ticks, it has no harmful effects on dogs, horses and many other animals - in contrast to conventional tick remedies based on neurotoxins.
The natural ingredient causing this defensive effect is known as azadirachtin. This chemical compound is the most important active ingredient of the neem tree for repelling pests and not only protects the tree itself, but can also benefit our animals as tick protection. The seeds of the fruit contain the highest concentration, but other components of the neem tree also provide sufficient azadirachtin.
But be careful: Margosa extract and pure neem oil can be poisonous for cats. Both the extract and the oil contain terpenes and phenols, which can be toxic to cats even in small amounts.
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.
In numerous scientific experiments it was possible to observe how the ingredient azadirachtin works: It has been shown that azadirachtin overcomes the tick's own protection and penetrates its body. Margosa preparations contribute to the fact that the cuticle, the tick’s protective layer, becomes thinner and thus allows toxins to pass through. This ultimately leads to the parasite being damaged from the inside and dying off.
In addition, various concentrations of azadirachtin-enriched neem preparations cause damage to the morphophysiology of female ticks. On the one hand, the ticks' reproductive system is damaged so that the egg cells cannot develop viable germ cells. On the other hand, it causes fatal damage to the tick's digestive system and the pest dies after a short time. The higher the azadirachtin concentration, the more severe the damage.
Even the US National Academy of Sciences published a report in 1992 with the title "Neem - A tree for the solution of global problems" and in it affirmed the following effects of neem extracts on various insects:
- Disruption or inhibition of the development of eggs, larvae or pupae
- Blocking the molting of larvae or nymphs
- Disruption of pairing and sexual communication
- Repels larvae and adults
- Discouraging females from laying eggs
- Sterilising adults
- Poisoning of larvae and adults
- Deterring feeding
- Blocking the ability to "swallow" (i.e. reducing the mobility of the bowel)
- Misdirection of metamorphosis in different stages
- Inhibition of the formation of chitin, the horn-like component of the tick shell
Does Margosa extract have any side effects?
The extract and the neem oil itself must not be swallowed as it can lead to liver and kidney issues. In addition, cats should not be treated with neem supplements, as the ingredients can cause poisoning. An alternative to ticks for cats are preparations based on geraniol, paraffin oil and lavender oil.
Some animals may have an allergic reaction to the essential oils of the margosa extract. Neem supplements should be discontinued if there are abnormalities. In addition, all types of margosa extract, including neem extracts, have an abortive effect. For this reason, products with margosa extract should not be used in pregnant animals.
Our Ectoprotex Dog contains Margosa Extract as an active ingredient.
Other active ingredients of the neem tree as a parasite killer
Neem preparations use natural ingredients to protect animals, humans and plants against a wide variety of pests. In addition to the most important active ingredient azadirachtin, the tree contains some other ingredients that show activities in pest control both in agriculture and in humans and animals:
Nimbin and Nimbidin: These two active ingredients have shown antiviral effects in studies, in particular against smallpox viruses in poultry and cattle and against the potato virus in crops.
Salannin: This constituent of the neem tree also has a deterrent effect on various insects and even inhibits their ingestion on contact.
Meliantriol: This active ingredient is largely responsible for the fact that the fields of India have often been spared from locusts. Observations revealed that neem prevented the insects from eating the plants.
Some other ingredients of the neem tree also contribute to the insect repellent ability of neem supplements. They prevent the insects from swallowing by paralysing the swallowing mechanism.