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Neem


    Scientific Names

    Neem Leaves
    • Azadirachta indica
    • Meliaceae family

    Common Names

    ivyNeem tea
    ivyArista (Sanskrit name)
    ivySarva roga nivarini (Sanskrit name)
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    Parts Usually Used

    Seeds, bark and leaves
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Neem is a botanical cousin of mahogany. It’s a tree that will live for about 150-200 years. It requires full sunlight and dry to moist soil to thrive. It doesn’t do well in soil that is waterlogged or poorly drained.
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    Where Found

    The Neem has adapted to a wide range of climates. It thrives well in hot weather, where the maximum shade temperature is as high as 49° C and tolerates cold upto 0° C on altitudes upto 1500 m.

    Today, the Neem is well established in at least 30 countries world-wide, in Asia, Africa and Central and South America. Some small scale plantations are also reportedly successful in the United .
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    Medicinal Properties

    antiseptic, antiviral, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antifungal
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    Biochemical Information

    Active compounds found in the neem tree are:

    • Azadirachtin: Provides repellant, anti-hormonal and anti-feedant properties
    • Nimbin: Provides anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, antihistamine and antifungal properties
    • Nimbidin: Provides antibacterial, anti-ulcer, analgesic, anti-arrhythmic and antifungal properties
    • Nimbidol: Provides anti-tubercular, anti-protozoan and antipyretic properties
    • Sodium nimbinate: Provides diuretic, spermicidal and anti-arthritic properties
    • Gedunin: Provides vasodilator, anti-malaria and antifungal properties
    • Quercetin: Provides anti-protozoal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties

    Neem seed oil contains the major concentrations of theses active compounds along with many fatty acids like oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid and linoleic acid.
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    In India, neem is known as “the village pharmacy” because of its healing versatility, and it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years due to its medicinal properties.

    This tree is considered to be of divine origin. According to Indian mythology, amrita (ambrosia or the elixir of immortality) was being carried to heaven and a few drops of it fell on the Neem tree.

    Another story tells of the time the Sun took refuge in the Neem Tree to escape from the awesome powers of the demons.

    Some common practices involving the Neem tree integrated in the Indian lifestyle have been:

    • Sleeping and resting under the Neem tree
    • Burning Neem leaves and twigs to ward off mosquitoes
    • Growing the tree in the vicinity to purify the atmosphere
    • Hanging Neem twigs and leaves at doors for protection against communicable diseases.
    • Spreading Neem leaves near persons suffering from infectious diseases.
    • Bathing with water in which a few Neem leaves have been boiled
    • Greeting the Groom with fresh Neem twigs at weddings, to ward off evil
    • Putting dried Neem leaves in folds of clothes and in stored grain
    • Chewing a Neem stick for oral hygiene first thing in the morning
    • Increasing the shelf –life of vegetables and fruits by packing the produce with neem leaves in baskets.
    • Adding neem leaves to the feed of milch cattle
    • Puddling neem leaves and twigs in rice fields

    Planting three or more Neem trees during one's lifetime was considered a surefire ticket to heaven.

    The earliest documentation of neem mentioned the fruit, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark for their advantageous medicinal properties. These benefits are listed in the ancient documents ‘Carak- Samhita’ and ‘Susruta-Samhita’, the books at the foundation of the Indian system of natural treatment, Ayurveda.
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    Uses

    Hair Care: A decoction prepared from the leaves of neem is used as a head wash to prevent premature graying of hair, hair loss and to remove lice infestation and dandruff.

    Ear Drops: Juice of neem leaves (5 ml) and equal quantity of honey when mixed well and instilled as ear drops, reduces oozing from the ear and also removes inflammation. However, if the oozing persists and is painful and foul smelling, expert guidance should be sought.

    Jaundice: Juice of neem leaves (15 – 30 ml) and half the quantity of honey is taken on an empty stomach for seven days.

    Stomatitis: For infantile stomatitis 10 -15 dry neem leaves along with 5gms of Pippali (long pepper) and honey should be ground and applied on the tongue.

    Worms: The juice of neem leaves (10 ml) along with honey and asafetida powder (5gms) removes intestinal worms in children.

    Stomach Problems: 5gms of dried neem flowers mixed and fried with 5gms each of rock salt, old tamarind, chillies and curry leaves is prepared into a chutney and given in conditions such as vomiting, anorexia, sour belching and worms.

    Urticaria: A decoction of neem bark, sandal and guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is taken internally.

    Piles: Four seeds of neem powdered and mixed with warm water and taken as a drink on empty stomach for a week stops bleeding in piles. The seeds of neem fried along with copper sulphate and mixed well with coconut oil is beneficial as an ointment for piles.

    Pruritus: Juice of neem leaves when applied on the groin and anal region removes pruritus in children.

    Dysmenorrhoea: Juice of neem leaves (15ml) and ginger juice (15ml) mixed well and taken internally cures painful menstruation.

    Post Delivery Care: To bring back the structure and functioning of uterus after delivery, one ounce (30 ml) of juice of neem leaves should be taken for 27 days in the morning on an empty stomach.

    Skin Care: One teaspoonful of dry neem leaf powder, same quantity of ghee and dry gooseberry powder mixed with sufficient quantity of honey cures allergic skin affliction.

    The bark of neem and the root of Arka (Calotropis gigantea) taken in equal quantities (10gms each) is rubbed with cow’s urine and applied on the skin where there is loss of sensation. However, in chronic skin problems it is always advisable to seek expert guidance.

    Psoriasis: The ash of dry neem leaves mixed with ghee and applied on the skin is beneficial in skin diseases such as psoriasis.

    Sweating / Burning: 5 – 10 drops of neem oil with milk at bed time is very beneficial for excessive sweating and burning sensation.

    Chicken Pox: Neem leaves are used to soothe the patient and prevent further spreading of the virus during the course of the infection. The patient is given a bath with water in which neem leaves are soaked, as a post-treatment care.

    Measles: A pill prepared of tender neem leaves, Yasti (liquorice) powder (20gms each) and administered along with warm water is beneficial in measles.

    Malaria: 20% Neem oil mixed in coconut oil applied to the exposed body parts keeps away mosquitoes. Hence neem helps in the prevention of malaria. Neem leaves powder 1-3 gm given thrice daily with warm water is effective. For complete skin protection make a strong tea with neem leaves and add to the bath along with a little rose water.

    Boil 10 freshly cleaned neem leaves along with cotton in a liter of water for approx. 10 minutes. Cool. Use as an eyewash in case of conjunctivitis, itching etc.

    For athletes foot and other foot problems: Make a strong tea and soak feet.

    For dandruff and head lice: Massage neem oil mixed with coconut or olive oil into hair and leave for 1 hour. Shampoo. Repeat once weekly for 3 weeks or as long as problem persists.

    To treat a sore throat without antibiotics, gargle with neem leaf water (add2 – 3 neem leaves to 300 ml water and cool) to which honey has been added.

    For acne, pimples, skin infections apply pure neem leaf powder mixed with water to the affected area.

    In case of sinusitis, use pure neem oil as nasal drops. 1-2 drops morning and evening.

    Prevent breeding of mosquitoes by adding crushed neem seeds and neem oil to all breeding areas. Neem products ensure complete inhibition of egg laying for seven days.

    Boil 40 - 50 neem leaves in 250 ml of water for 20 mins. Cool, strain and refrigerate to use as an astringent.

    Chewing 2 - 3 neem leaves regularly helps purify the blood and in of hyperacidity and diabetes.

    To ward off mosquitoes, add 5 – 10% neem oil to any oil and light as a diya (lamp).
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Decoction: prepared by boiling 50gms of neem bark in 400 ml of water till it is reduced to 100ml. To this 400 ml of ghee is added and boiled in a wide mouthed container and is removed from the flame when the froth appears which indicates the completion of the Ghritha (ghee) preparation. This ghee can be used both externally and internally for conditions such as herpes, lymphadenitis and skin problems.

    Chewing 8 – 10 neem leaves early in the morning for twenty four days protects the body from diseases like diabetes and hypertension. The body also becomes immune to skin problems by this medication.

    Tooth Powder: A mixture of powder of neem seeds (10gms), rock salt (10gms) and alum (10gms), mixed well can be used as a tooth powder for maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

    Tea: You can use dried or fresh neem leaves. Use the same amount as you would for any other cup of tea, say a good teaspoon dried neem leaf per tea cup, or three to five fresh leaves. Pour hot water over it and let it brew.

    Salve: Mix pure neem oil / neem leaf powder with Vaseline in the ratio of 1:5. This combination can be used for repelling insects including mosquitoes as well as for skin disorders, minor cuts, burns, wounds etc.
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    How Sold

    Capsules, tea bags, loose herb
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    Resource Links

    eHow.com: How to Brew Neem Tea

    LiveStrong.com: 15 Uses for the Leaves of Neem

    LiveStrong.com: Neem Therapy

    OrgaNeem

    Neem Foundation

    Drugs.com: Neem

    PubMed.gov: The use of neem for controlling gastric hyperacidity and ulcer.

    PubMed.gov: Neem leaf glycoprotein enhances carcinoembryonic antigen presentation of dendritic cells to T and B cells for induction of anti-tumor immunity by allowing generation of immune effector/memory response.

    PubMed.gov: The neem limonoids azadirachtin and nimbolide induce cell cycle arrest and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells.

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    Bibliography

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems, by National Research Council (U. S.), Books for Business, 2002.

    Buy It! Neem: India's Miraculous Healing Plant, by Ellen Norten, Healing Arts Press; English language ed edition, 1999.

    Buy It! Neem: The Ultimate Herb, by John Conrick, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, 2001.

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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