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Uses Of Neem Trees

Updated on August 22, 2016
Neem trees
Neem trees | Source

Neem trees and neem plants have many uses including uses for neem tree leaves and uses for neem tree oil. The uses of neem trees include cosmetic uses and traditional medicinal uses in Ayurveda.

Neem trees are evergreen trees grown very widely in tropical and subtropical regions. Neem trees are drought tolerant, easy to grow and have numerous medicinal uses.

The trees can grow up to 20 or even 40 feet tall and they are mostly used as shading trees in gardens, parks, roads and other public places in many Asian countries. They propagate naturally and sometimes people even remove the smaller plants thinking they are weeds.

The flowers are small and white in color and they produce small green berries. The leaves and berries of the tree are highly bitter in taste, but the leaves are used in many traditional medicines and the berries are used to prepare neem oil which also has so many medicinal uses.

Neem trees are also commonly known as Azadirachta indica , the Indian lilacs or the Nim trees.

The uses of neem tree leaves

The uses of neem tree leaves including the medicinal uses for the neem leaves are many. The neem leaves are very bitter in taste, but chewing a few fresh leaves of neem is believed to control the blood sugar level. In South India, the leaves are sometimes added to certain recipes along with tamarind or yogurt to reduce the bitterness.

Neem is excellent for skin care. The paste of neem leaves alone or mixed with turmeric powder can help reduce acne and pimples and improve the overall health of skin. Applying neem-turmeric paste in the body can also help in preventing skin infections. Neem is antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial and it is believed that rubbing neem leaves in the skin during the time of chickenpox can reduce the associated symptoms.

Neem leaves are natural insecticides and so they can be dried and used in the cupboards where clothes are kept and also in the kitchen cupboards to prevent cockroaches and other insects.

Flowers in a neem tree
Flowers in a neem tree | Source

Uses Of Neem Tree Oil

Neem oil is made from the berries or fruits of neem tree. The edible neem fruits or berries are bitter in taste, but just like the leaves of the tree, they have many medicinal and cosmetic uses. The oil produced from neem tree berries is a cold pressed vegetable oil which is mainly added to cosmetic soaps, creams and even laundry soaps as a major ingredient.

Neem oil is excellent when it comes to the treatment of head lice and dandruff. Applying the oil in hair for few minutes can leave a strong odour in the hair and combing the hair later on can remove the head lice. You will have to wash your hair with shampoo once this is done. Neem oil is also added to many hair oils, as one of the ingredients, since it is believed to promote the growth of hair.

This oil is an important ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines and Unani medicines, especially for treating skin infections like eczema and psoriasis and also for the treatment of diseases like malaria, tuberculosis etc.

Neem oil is not edible, and the excessive use of it can be toxic. So if using neem oil, one should always use it following the directions and always keep it out of reach of children.

The leaves and fruits of the neem tree
The leaves and fruits of the neem tree | Source

The use as a natural fertilizer and pesticide for crops

Neem cake, which is a by-product obtained during the preparation of neem oil, is very popular as a natural fertilizer for crops. It is also a mild pesticide which can protect the roots of crops from insects, especially ants. The use of neem cakes as a natural fertilizer can help improve the organic matter and the fertility of soil. It also reduces the alkalinity of soil and improves the water holding capability. Neem cakes are also very popular as a poultry and cattle feed.

Ground neem seeds is a great alternative to synthetic pesticides. The powder can be mixed with water and sprayed on to the crops, which acts as a repellent, and protects the crops from insects. This has to be done at least once in a week for optimum results.

Neem oil is also a very good mosquito repellant as well!

Have you ever heard about the neem trees before?

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The flowers and buds of the neem, along with the leaves are also used in few recipes in many parts of Asia, even though many people don't find these very appetizing due to the bitterness.

Since neem has so many health benefits and medicinal uses, consuming the leaves and flowers in moderate quantities is considered healthy, even though the excessive use is not advisable.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the education. I have never heard of this tree.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the information about neem. I enjoyed learning more about this very interesting plant.

    • VioletteRose profile image
      Author

      VioletteRose 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for stopping by billybuc and AliciaC!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I have seen but did not know anything until now an informative and so interesting hub on this beautiful plant.

    • VioletteRose profile image
      Author

      VioletteRose 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for stopping by DDE :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I have never heard of this tree. Thanks for the information.

    • VioletteRose profile image
      Author

      VioletteRose 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you FlourishAnyway!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Once again you have added to my knowledge of species,as a plant enthusiast I was happy to read about the interesting Neem tree. Images are excellent. voted up,interesting and useful

    • VioletteRose profile image
      Author

      VioletteRose 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you so much D.A.L :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Someone recently told me about neem oil as a pesticide and I was eager to read more about the plant here in your hub. Thanks for the detailed explanation about its by-product and uses.

    • VioletteRose profile image
      Author

      VioletteRose 2 years ago from Chicago

      Hi PegCole17, I am so glad you found this hub useful. Thanks so much for reading!

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 2 years ago from Ohio

      I use neem oil for many things, including neem toothpaste!

    • VioletteRose profile image
      Author

      VioletteRose 2 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Ilonagarden, thanks so much for reading and sharing the use of neem in toothpaste! I have heard about the ayurvedic neem toothpaste but never used myself. Thanks again!

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