Neem tree (Azadirachta Indica)

The neem tree has been known as a miraculous Indian tree for centuries.

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as antiseptic in treating diseases caused by viruses and bacteria , it is also recommended for people with urinary problems, diarrhea, fever, skin diseases, burns and inflammatory diseases. It is often called “a friend and a patron of an Indian peasant” due to its wide range of applications.

Azadirachta indica is a big, evergreen, widespread tree, which  has small white flowers  with sweet smell. It  blooms in the beginning of April in the climatic conditions of Northern India. Fruits are similar to olives, and can be eaten when ripe.

The tree is a good air cleaner, because of its large leaf surface. It comes from Burma, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan, but it grows  throughout  the whole semi-tropical region . It is called “Muarubaini” in East Africa, or “the tree of 40” in Swahili, because it is said that it cures 40 diseases.

Neem is described as:  amoebicidal, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-periodontitis, anti-tubercular, anti-viral, antifungal, larvicidal, bactericidal, insecticidal, spermicidal and wormicidal.

The leaf extract is used for producing tooth pastes and soaps. The fruit seeds are used as beads for making necklaces and rosaries. The main component of the oil, Nimbidin, is used in producing some pharmaceutical preparations and medicinal cosmetics, such as lotions and antidandruff shampoos, or gargles.

UN has declared the neem tree (Azadirachta Indica) to be the tree of the 21st century!

Why is neem so miraculous? Some of the research have shown that neem contains alkaloids and liminoids with lots of medicinal properties. One of the liminoids found in neem leaves (Gedunin) is used in the tropics against malaria. Two other alkaloids (Nimbin and Nimbidin) have antiviral and antifungal properties.

Although it is common to use all parts of the tree in traditional Ayurvedic recipes, there are three parts which are more significant than the others – the bark, leaves and oil.

The most common use of the bark would be for  cleaning teeth. The traditional way to do use it is to sliver of the tree and chew the twig. The tart properties of the bark were used for treating bleeding gums, cavity and bad breath many years before developing a tooth paste.

Neem leaves are appreciated for having antibacterial and antiviral properties. Even today, people in India sprinkle fresh neem leaves around the bed in which a person with fever or a flu is lying, and they also hang a bunch of leaves on the front door. The leaves clean the air from bacteria and viruses, which helps in preventing spreading of infection.

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