(Last Updated on : 06/07/2013)
Neem tree, also known as Margosa, has played a substantial role in Ayurvedic medicine and agriculture for millions of years. It is native to South Asia, where up to twenty million trees create an avenue. The Neem tree grows naturally in the Deccan peninsula, but is found all over India.
Cultivation of Neem Tree
Neem Tree is quite a familiar tree in India. It is a huge evergreen, impenetrable tree, growing some 10 to 10.5 metres tall with a breadth of about 2 to 3 metres. The leaves of this tree are split into several leaflets, each similar to a full-grown leaf. The tree has tiny, white flowers in supplementary clusters and 1.2 to 1.8 cm long green or yellow fruits with a seed inside each.
The seeds of Neem tree contain fairly large amount of essential oil, known as margosa or neem oil. The sour components separated from this oil include nimbin, nimbinin and nimbidin. The chief, dynamic constituent of these is nimbidin that contains sulphur. The flowers produce a glucoside, nimbosterin and an exceedingly acrid volatile oil, nimbosterol nimbecetin and fatty acids. The flowers contain a bitter substance and annoying acidic oil. The fruits of neem tree contain a sour principle, baka yanin and the trunk bark produces nimbin, nimbidin, nimbinin and a volatile oil. Neem tree is useful to mankind in every form. This tree is cultivated all across India, not only in gardens, but also roadsides and forest areas. The various parts of Neem tree has been used as medicine since Vedic era.
Benefits of Neem Tree
Neem tree has several uses, chiefly acting as an active disinfectant and cleanser, removing all impurities in cases of infectious disorders. Neem tree is generally considered an air purifier and a defensive against malarial fever and cholera. Every part of the tree possesses curative properties. The leaves are useful in assuaging gas, boosting the deletion of catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes and in increasing secretion and disposal of urine. They also function as an insecticide. The bark is a sour stimulant and vitalizes the body. It checks secretions and blood loss, in addition to counterbalancing any convulsive disorders. The root bark of this tree has the same attributes as the bark of the trunk. The gum released by the stem is a stimulant and revitalizes with a cooling effect on the skin and mucous membranes.
A mixture or a decoction of the fresh Neem leaves is an acrid vegetable vitaliser and remedial, particularly in acute malarial fevers, because of its action mechanism on the liver. It should be taken in dosages of 15 to 60 grams. The use of 3 grams of the inner bark of neem with 6 grams of jaggery each morning is very efficacious for piles. To arrest bleeding piles, 3 or 4 Neem fruits can be taken with water. Leprosy can also be healed by Neem. The sap of the Neem tree has been found to be pretty active for leprosy, when taken in regular dosages. Simultaneously the patient's body should be massaged with the sap. This schedule should be continued for 40 days. If sap is not obtainable, 120grams of Neem leaves and three decigrams of pepper can be mashed in water and taken.
Several kinds of skin disorders are healed by Neem leaves. The leaves administered externally, are extremely helpful in skin diseases. They are principally advantageous for treating boils, cute ulcers, and eruptions of smallpox, syphilitic sores, glandular inflammations and injuries. They can be used either as a poultice, decoction or liniment. A balm made from Neem leaves is also of immense use in curing ulcers and gashes. A paste prepared from the bark by rubbing it in water can also be administered on the gashes. If there is any loss of hair or it has stopped to grow, shampooing with the decoction of Neem leaves may be useful. This will not only stop hair fall, but also aid in their growth. Regular application of Neem oil also obliterates insects in the hair.
Neem is exceedingly useful for eye disorders. Applying the juice of Neem leaves to the eyes each night is extremely efficacious in the treatment of night blindness. The leaves should be thumped and made into a thin paste with water. The juice should then be extracted through a clean piece of cloth and applied to the eyes with an eye rod. The juice is helpful for sore in the eyes caused by conjunctivitis.
Steam fomentation with Neem decoction renders instant solace in cases of ear-ache. A couple of Neem leaves should be boiled in a litre of water and the ear should be fomented with the steam thus made. The juice of Neem leaves blended with an equal measure of pure honey is an effectual repair for any boils in the ear. The juice needs to be warmed a little and a few drops dropped into the ear. Everyday application for a few days will furnish alleviation from such illnesses. In case of an insect liquefying in the ear, the juice of Neem leaves, with some common salt is warmed and few drops injected in the ear kills the insect. Brushing the teeth regularly with a Neem twig forestalls gum sickness. It strengthens loose teeth, alleviates toothache, removes bad breath and shields the mouth from numerous infections.
Neem is exceedingly handy at the time of childbirth. Application of the juice of Neem leaves to the woman in labour before childbirth yields normal contraction in the uterus and thwarts probable swelling. It disciplines bowel movements and arrests attack of fever, thereby helping in normal delivery. The use of a lukewarm decoction of Neem leaves as a vaginal douche mends any injuries caused during delivery and disinfects the vaginal passage. Neem is a powerful insecticide to exterminate soil nematodes and other plant parasites and is functional as a mosquito repellent. Neem twig is also used as a toothbrush, and its juice in toothpastes and contraceptives.