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AZADIRACHTA INDICA

Common Name          :          
NEEM 
Botanical Name         :           Azadirachta indica
Local Names             :           Nim, Nimba, Bevinmar, Margosa Tree
Part Used                 :           The bark of the root and trunk; Seeds, Leaves

Habitat                    :           Grows wild in sub Himalayan tract and forests of other  areas. It is a native tree of the Indian sub continent but was introduced into Africa early this century. In India, it occurs in the tropical dry deciduous / evergreen and thorny forests and drier parts of India

Plant Description      :

A large tree up to 18 m high with almost a straight trunk. Leaves; pinnate, crowded at the ends of the branches. Leaflets; 5-15, opposite, subopposite or alternate, lanceolate, acuminate, serrate, glabrous. Flowers; numerous, white, honey scented. Fruits; 1-seeded drupes, oblong, yellow when ripe. Seeds contain oil. It flowers from March to May and fruits from May to July.

Introduction

Neem is a tree which has been valued by Indians for over 2000 years for its medicinal and pesticidal qualities. In recent decades, American and Japanese companies, most notably the W.R. Grace corporation, have patented compounds based on extracts of the Neem plant. These patents attempt to appropriate what had been common property for millennia in India, over time turning what had been a free resource into an exorbitantly priced one. The suits currently filed against these patents, in large part, began the movement against biopiracy.

Ancient Indian texts refer to Neem as Sarva Roga Nivarini, "the curer of all ailments." It is said that a few drops of divine nectar once fell on the plant, gifting it with its curative properties. Regardless of the roots of these properties, Neem remains in use in a variety of healing capacities throughout India.  Neem’s healing ability has long been known for bringing relief to all kinds of human ailments. The medicinal properties of neem have been described in ancient Indian medical texts such as the Atharva veda, Ghrhyasutras and the Sutragranthas. The sanskrit name nimba, is a derivative of the term nimbati syasthyamdadati - meaning ‘to give good health’. In our ancient religious texts, neem is referred to as sarva roga nivarini (the curer of all ailments). 

Active Ingredient

Bitter oil contains margosic acid.
Oil from seed contains nimbin, nimbinin and nimbidin.
Blossoms & Flowers yield a glucoside named nimbosterin, nimbosterol, nimbecetin and fatty acids.
Fruits contains bitter principle, bakayanin, nimbin, nimbinin, nimbidin and essential oils.

Uses

Malaria; Bark powder is recommended for overcome malaria. 
Weakness after fever; A decoction of bark is used for strengthening after fever (for example malaria).
Fever; Use coriander (dhania), dried ginger, cloves (longe), cinnamon (dal chini), kali marich and neem. 
Lucorrhea (white vaginal discharge); Prepare a decoction of neem and babul bark to be used for washing and drinking.
Abdominal pain: Crush bark and keep in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. Strain and then drink.
Diarrhoea: 1 cup of bark bits can be put in 1.5 glasses of water to soak for half an hour. Strain and then drink.
Headache: Crush 1 cup of bark and put in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes, strain and keep.
Irregular Menstruation: Prepare 2 cups of bark by crushing, then soak in 3 cups of water and strain after 15 minutes.
Scabies: The bark is dried, burned and the ashes mixed with coconut oil to form a paste.

Uses of leaves;

Wounds, Cuts, Other Infections; Prepare a decoction of leaves for skin problems. 
Skin Problems; Apply a paste of the leaves on to the skin.
Weeping eczema; Apply a paste of leaves and apply to skin and let it dry.
Leprosy; Leaves are mixed with amla and harada are taken orally.
Worm Infestation; Juice of leaves is anti-helminthic.
Syphilis, Prepare a decoction of the leaves. The juice is orally and also applied locally. Sit in a bath of neem juice decoction and water.
Jaundice; The juice is given with salt or dried ginger.
Postpartum Mothers; The juice is orally taken for cleansing the uterus. Through the mother’s breast milk, the neem juice helps the child by preventing fever and the loss of appetite.
Fever in infants: Crush the leaves till fine, put in water and rub till foaminess appears.
Small Pox And Chicken Pox; The leaves are given with mulethi.
Vaginal Infection: Wash 8 to 10 leaves, crush them and make it into a vaginal tampon using fine clean cotton, covered with a sterile piece of gauze.
Snake bite: Crush 1 cup of leaves and soak in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. If the infusion tastes bitter, there is no venom. If the infusion tastes sweet or tasteless, there is venom and treatment must be sought.

Uses of the Oil; 

The neem oil is used for application in syphilis, leprosy, infected wounds, rheumatic joints, piles, skin infestations, fissures and fistulas.
Falling and Greying of Hair; 1 drop is put in each nostrils.
Intestinal Worms; The oil is drunk. 

Uses of the Fruit; 

The fruit can be taken as a laxative, for urinary problems, and is generally good for the skin
Piles; The fruit is given with jaggery.

Use of the flowers

Decoction of flowers; Given after fever to strengthen the body and to cure digestive irregularities.

Uses of Sap and Seeds

The sap is nutritious and is given for rejuvenation. 

Head Lice: The seeds are crushed and the powder mixed with coconut oil.
   
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