Call it “Holy Tree”, “Divine Tree”, “Nature’s Drugstore”, “Life-Giving Tree”, or “Village Pharmacy”, the humble Neem has a strong foothold in the world of medicine and wellness. Right from the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, seeds, bark or fruits, each and every part of the neem plant has potent pharmacological properties including anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-bacterial, antihistamine as well as germ-killing qualities.
Neem which goes by the botanical name Azadirachta indica is a member of the mahogany family, Meliaceae. The scientific latinized name comes from the Persian words, where ‘Azad’ signifies ‘free’, ‘dirakht’ means ‘tree’, and ‘indica’ symbolizes ‘of Indian origin’. Hence, the scientific name indicates a free tree native to India.
Neem consists of 15% tannin, proteins, fatty acids and polysaccharides. It also contains other substances at various concentrations depending on the part of the plant :
flavonoids – pigments with antioxidant properties ;
Firstly, neem can be consumed as a herbal tea, using the leaves. To make a tea, infuse a teaspoon of dried neem in a cup of hot water for around 10 minutes. For optimal efficacy, drink 2-3 cups a day.
Dental plaque. Early research suggests that applying neem leaf extract gel to the teeth and gums twice daily for 6 weeks might reduce plaque formation. It also might reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth that can cause plaque. However, using a mouth rinse containing neem extract for 2 weeks does not appear to reduce plaque or gingivitis.
Insect repellant. Early research suggests that applying extract of neem root or leaf to the skin helps repels black flies. Also, applying neem oil cream to the skin seems to protect against some types of mosquitos.
Ulcers. Some research suggests that taking 30-60 mg of neem bark extract twice daily by mouth for 10 weeks helps heal stomach and intestinal ulcers.
Psoriasis. Early research suggests that taking neem extract by mouth for 12 weeks, along with daily sun exposure and the application of a coal tar and salicylic acid cream, reduces the severity of psoriasis symptoms in people.
Supports oral hygiene
Our oral hygiene holds the door to the buildup of harmful pathogens and infection spreading germs. Neem, with its active properties, works to decrease the microorganism culture and germs from attacking your body. Many people also like chewing neem leaves regularly for the same reason. It also promotes fresh breath, maintains a pH level in the saliva and protects oral health from any sort of decay. For the same reason, neem is an active ingredient present in many kinds of toothpaste.
Neem is also used in organic farming. The popular neem seed cake, which is basically a neem seed residue which is left after oil extraction, is extremely beneficial for enriching the soil. It also brings down nitrogen loss and works as a nematicide.
Neem leaf is used for leprosy, eye disorders, bloody nose, intestinal worms, stomach upset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease (gingivitis), and liver problems. The leaf is also used for birth control and to cause abortions.
Neem also helps in strengthening hair quality and promotes growth of hair. Neem paste is also used as a hair conditioner. Due to its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, neem is an excellent way to curb dandruff