Neem - benefits of neem oil, neem leaf extract and other parts of the neem tree
Neem - Benefits of neem
The neem (Azadirachta Indica) is an important part of life in India. It is an evergreen tree which grows to a height of 20 to 40 and rarely up to a height of 60 feet. It is around this tree that many activities of the village happen. Every part of the neem tree is used for its medicinal value. It is called ‘the village pharmacy’. The Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine use the properties of neem in all their treatments. The neem is called ‘Arista’ which in Sanskrit means ‘perfect, complete and imperishable’. The Sanskrit name for the neem is ‘Nimabati’ comes from the term ‘Nimbati Systhyamdadati’ which means 'to give good health'. It is also called ‘Sarvaroganivarini’ which means ‘the healer of all ailments’. None of these terms are tall claims because most of the natural treatments consist of using neem in various forms. The Neem tree is also worshiped by the Hindus as a Godess and is a part of many celebration and festivities in the Hindu household.
Link to Neem products online
Neem - the natural air conditioner
The British who invaded India planted neem saplings all over the land. It is a natural air conditioner in the hot tropical regions. It is found that the temperature under a neem tree is a couple of degrees Centigrade lower than the area around it. In fact, in the villages people bring out their cots to sleep under the neem tree in summer. The air is fresh and pure and it is a natural insect repellent. In the desert regions where there is little or no fodder for animals, the neem leaf becomes their food during the hot Indian summer.
Neem leaves - uses of neem leaves
The neem leaves are used to treat chicken pox and warts by directly applying the paste of the leaf on the skin. The leaves are also boiled in water and added to the bathwater. It helps to increase the immunity of the body. It clears up acne and destroys any harmful bacteria on the skin.
The tender leaves are eaten raw for the control of Diabeties.
It is an excellent anti malarial remedy. Neem is also used for treating fevers as it has antipyretic properties. The leaves are boiled in water and reduced to half, cooled and this tea is administered as a medicine for malaria. It has been found that the neem is as effective as Quinine in the treatment of malaria. The fresh leaves are very bitter and the tender leaves are either chewed directly or made into a paste and mixed with butter milk and this decoction is taken to get immunity from Malaria.
The leaf extracts are also found to be spermicidal and so they make excellent natural contraceptives.
It is used effectively in the treatment of athlete’s foot, ringworm or any fungal infection anywhere in the body.
The neem has antibacterial and antiviral properties and it is used to treat chicken pox, Acne, Psoriasis, Scabies, Eczema, etc.
It is a also great disinfectant and antiseptic and used for fumigation of delivery chambers. The dry leaves and bark are burned and the room is fumigated.
Today there are many brands of neem capsules available in the market because of its immunity boosting property. It is easier to administer the capsules than taking the decoction of the bark or chewing the leaves directly.
Neem oil, neem twigs and neem bark uses - neem products
Neem twigs - The twigs of the tree are cut into toothbrush sized bits, the bark is removed and the end is lightly pounded to make a soft brush and this is used to brush the teeth in most villages of India and Africa. This brush has been known to protect the gums and teeth from all kinds of infection and decay. Today there are so many tooth pastes that are available with neem extracts.
Neem oil is extracted from the seed kernel. It is widely used as an insecticide in agriculture. It is an effective means of pest control when diluted and sprayed. Many neem products like soaps, shampoos, cosmetics etc are made from neem oil and extracts of neem leaf. Neem oil is also use as a local application on the skin for various skin diseases.The use of Neem oil acts as an effective pest control agent. But you would want to go light on the neem oil because of strong unpleasant odor .
The bark of the neem is a bitter astringent and the decoction is used for tiredness, cough, fever, loss of appetite, worm infestation, etc. It is also an antileprotic useful in the treatment of leprosy. The bark and the roots are powdered and used for the control of fleas and ticks on pets. Gedunin, a compound found in neem is a very effective vasodialator.
Benefits of neem in agriculture and pest control
The neem seed cake, a by-product after the extraction of neem oil from the seeds is used as a fertilizer. This is not only a good fertilizer as it is natural, but it is also a good nematicide which inhibits the breeding and spread of bugs, pests and diseases that destroy plants. Pests like white flies, mealy bugs, locusts, aphids are all effectively controlled by neem seed cake mixed in the soil. A light spray of neem oil on the leaves discourages the worms and larvae from eating the plant. This is a natural and non toxic way of controlling pests in the garden.
Neem wood In the tropical regions wood of any kind is highly valued. The neem tree and neem wood is greatly valued for their strength and versatility of use in the construction industry. They are sued for making doors ,windows, frames etc. The other parts of the tree which is not used for wood becomes cheap fuel which is in great demand in the villages.
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The amazing neem tree
The neem is a very potent herbal medicine and it is important to use it with caution. Like anything else in nature, judicious use of neem products is advisable. One amazing fact about the neem tree is that this Indian tree has been identified on 5000 year old seals excavated from the Indus valley civilization. Thus the Indian life from the morning brushing of teeth to a good night’s sleep is completely dominated by the village pharmacy or the native Indian Neem tree.