|Azadirachta indica, flowers and leaves|
Melia azadirachta L.
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is native to India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan. It grows in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Neem is known by many different names, including Nimm (Punjabi), Arya Veppu (Malayalam), Azad Dirakht (Persian), Nimba (Sanskrit and Marathi), DogonYaro (in some Nigerian languages), Margosa, Neeb (Arabic), Nimtree, Vepu, Vempu, Vepa (Telugu), Bevu (Kannada), Kohomba (Sinhala), Vembu (Tamil), Tamar (Burmese), sầu đâu, xoan Ấn Độ (Vietnamese), Paraiso (Spanish), and Indian Lilac (English). In East Africa it is also known as Muarubaini (Swahili), which means the tree of the 40, as it is said to treat 40 different diseases.
Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach up to 15–20 m (about 50–65 feet) tall, and sometimes even to 35–40 m (115–131 feet). It is evergreen, but in serious drought it may lose most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are spread far apart.
Uses[change | change source]
Products made from neem have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties: they are said to be antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive and sedative. Neem products are also used in selectively controlling pests in plants. Neem is considered a large part of Ayurvedic medicine.
- All parts of neem are used for preparing many different medicines, especially for skin disease.
- Part of the Neem tree can be used as a spermicide .
- Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap and shampoo, as well as lotions and others), and is useful for skin care such as acne treatment. Neem oil has been used effectively as a mosquito repellent.
- Neem is useful for damaging over 500 types of insects, mites, ticks, and nematodes, by changing the way they grow and act. Neem does not normally kill pests right away, rather it slows their growth and drives them away. As neem products are cheap and not poisonous to animals and friendly insects, they are good for pest control
References[change | change source]
- The earliest documentation of neem mentioned the fruit, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark for their advantageous medicinal properties. These benefits are listed in the ancient documents ‘Carak- Samhita’ and ‘Susruta-Samhita’, the books at the foundation of the Indian system of natural treatment, Ayurveda. Neem has a garlic-like odor, and a bitter taste. The various parts of this tree have many uses that aptly give neem its name in Sanskrit-“sarva roga nivarini”, meaning ‘the curer of all ailments’
- Neem has anti-bacterial properties that help in fighting against skin infections such as acne, psoriasis, scabies, eczema, etc. Neem extracts also help in treating diabetes, AIDS, cancer, heart disease, herpes, allergies, ulcers, hepatitis and several other diseases.