Azadirachta indica (Neem), an herb extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homoeopathic systems of medicineto treat many health related problems and ailments, and also known to exert anticancer, antioxidant, wound-healing, and antimicrobial properties is also known to be one of these plants from which almost every part is used, from the Neem oil extracted from its seeds to the leaves and branches.
The white and fragrant flowers are arranged auxiliary in drooping panicles, about 25 cm in length. The smooth olive-like drupe fruit is elongated-oval to nearly roundish in shape. Neem is grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions of India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan. It is also known as ‘Divine Tree’, ‘Heal All’, ‘Nature’s Drugstore’, ‘Village Pharmacy’ and ‘Panacea for All Diseases’ in India.
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree and has insecticidal and medicinal properties due to which it has been used for thousands of years in pest control, cosmetics, medicines, etc. Please see neem oil & its uses for detailed information.
Neem seed cake (residue of neem seeds after oil extraction) when used for soil amendment or added to soil, not only enriches the soil with organic matter but also lowers nitrogen losses by inhibiting nitrification. It also works as a nematicide.
Neem leaves are used to treat chickenpox and warts by directly applying to the skin in a paste form or by bathing in water with neem leaves. In order to increase immunity of the body, neem leaves are also taken internally in the form of neem capsules or made into a tea. The tea is traditionally taken internally to reduce fever caused by malaria. This tea is extremely bitter. It is also used to soak feet for treating various foot fungi. It has also been reported to work against termites. In Ayurveda, neem leaves are used in curing neuromuscular pains. Neem leaves are also used in storage of grains. Neem leaves extract is helpful in treating malaria and purifying blood.The paste of neem leaves is applied on skin to treat acne.
Neem is used in vitiated conditions of pitta, hyperdipsia, leprosy, skin diseases, eczema, leucoderma, pruritus, intermittent fever, wounds, ulcers, burning sensation, tumors, tubercular glands, anorexia, vomiting, dyspepsia, intestinal worms, hepatopathy, cough, bronchitis, inflammation and fatigue.