NEEM, Azadirachta indica


Latin name: Azadirachta indica

English name: Indian lilac

Sanskrit names: Aristha

Indian name: Neem

Medicinal parts used: Leaves, Stem, Bark, Seeds

Neem is a tall, usually evergreen East Indian tree, widely cultivated in tropical Asia for its timber, resin, bitter bark, and aromatic seed oil, which is used medicinally and as an insecticide. Neem has a garlic-like odour, 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’.

The Neem Tree is known as the “wonder tree” from India and regarded as mother nature’s gift to the world because of its number of medicinal and pesticidal uses. Products made from neem have proven medicinal properties, being anthelmintic, antifungal, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fertility, and sedative. It is considered a major component in Ayurvedic medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin disease.

Therapeutic use:

  • Used in the treatment of fever, gastrointestinal disease, dermatologic (skin) disorders, immune dysfunction, respiratory disease, parasites, inflammatory conditions, and infections by some bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • Some components have been shown to have anti-malarial properties. The seeds contain an insecticidal substance that is EPA approved for use on non-food crops.
  • Some viral diseases have been treated by components of neem. It may inhibit the multiplication of viruses and prevent them from entering and infecting cells. Some of the diseases that have reportedly been relieved include colds, flu, and conditions caused by herpes, such as chickenpox and shingles.
  • External parasites, such as lice and mites, are often treated in India with aqueous extracts of neem leaves.
  • Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, shampoo, balms and creams), and is useful for skin care such as acne treatment, and keeping skin elasticity.
  • Aqueous extracts of neem leaves have demonstrated significant anti-diabetic potential.

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