Neem Tree - Azadirachta indica

India's "Village Pharmacy"

Neem Tree Leaves. { pranav } - Flikr Images

The neem tree could have been designed by a celestial committee (maybe it was). A collaboration of genetic engineers, chemical engineers, pharmacists, agronomists, and dieticians could not have produced a more interesting, and some say, valuable, plant. I'll let you decide after reading this brief overview.

Azadirachta indica is "tailor-made for combating the serious problems confronting mankind today" says the Neem Foundation.

" Studies through appropriate scientific channels are increasing and verifying the traditional uses and are finding even more uses for neem. Although major studies to conclusively prove neem's effectiveness are limited by financing and the general lack of knowledge in the West about it, preliminary studies suggest exciting uses for neem."

From the very beginning of recorded human history, people have used the mysterious neem tree. Today, rural Indians call this tree their "village pharmacy" because it is said to "cure" diseases and disorders ranging from bad teeth and bedbugs to ulcers and malaria. The seeds, bark and leaves contain compounds called limonoids with proven antiseptic, antiviral, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and antifungal uses.

Neem has a cousin that is a very familiar tree in the United States called the Chinaberry. Many North Americans are familiar with the abundant Chinaberry tree, Melia azedarach .

Also known as umbrella tree, this naturalized western Asian tree is a colonizer of disturbed sites throughout the South. It can be messy with surface roots, brittle wood, and toxic berries. However, it has an ability to grow in hostile sites and produce desirable shade.

Neem, on the other hand, is a sturdy, broadleaved evergreen.

In the seasonally dry hills of central India, Azadirachta indica , is very much in existence with the people and animals in villages and along roadsides. It will defoliate during periods of extreme drought or freezing temperatures. Native to the dry forest areas of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, neem thrives in the dry areas of the tropics and subtropics.

Mature neem trees are capable of withstanding mild freezes and can be grown in some of the United States south, along coastal California to San Francisco and on the East coast as far north as central Florida. In freeze zones they must be grown potted and taken in during cold snaps.

I was shocked at the reported uses of the neem tree. Most of this is supported by some scientific study. Much more investigation is needed, however.
More on Neem Cures >>>>

Multitude of Uses and Remedies Include:

• AIDS - The National Institutes of Health reports encouraging results as an AIDS preventative and possible cure using neem extracts.

• Allergies - Neem inhibits allergic reactions when applied externally or eaten.

• Birth control (men) - In India and the United States, trials show neem extracts reduced fertility in male monkeys without inhibiting libido or sperm production, making it potentially the first male birth control pill.

• Birth control (women) - Used as a vaginal lubricant, neem oil was up to 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.

• Cancer/immune - Polysaccharides and limonoids found in neem bark, leaves, and seed oil increased immune responses, reduced tumors and cancers without side effects.

• Diabetes - Oral doses of neem leaf extracts reduced insulin requirements by between 30% and 50% for nonkeytonic, insulin fast and insulin-sensitive diabetes.

• External parasites - Neem quickly kills external parasites and a neem decoction is safer and just as effective as standard treatments for head lice and scabies.

• Heart disease - Neem delays the coagulation of blood, calms erratic heartbeats and helps reduce elevated heart rates and high blood pressure.

• Herpes - Recent tests in Germany show that neem extracts are toxic to the herpes virus and can quickly heal cold sores.

• Hepatitis - Tests in the U.S. show neem hampers the virus that causes hepatitis B.

• Fungal toxin - Neem is toxic to several fungi which attack humans, including those that cause athlete's foot and ringworm, and Candida, an organism that causes yeast infections and thrush.

• Insect repellent - Studies have shown that one neem compound is a more effective insect repellent than the widely used synthetic chemical known as DEET (N,N,-diethyl-m-toluamide), a suspected carcinogen with long periods of use.

• Insecticide - Neem extracts have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on food crops. It is non-toxic to birds, animals, beneficial insects or man and protects crops from over 200 of the most costly pests.

• Malaria - An active ingredient in neem leaves, called irodin A, is toxic to resistant strains of malaria.

• Psoriasis - Neem seed oil and leaf extracts is suggested to be a cure for psoriasis. It relieves the itching and pain while reducing the scale and redness of the patchy lesions.

• Periodontal disease control - German researchers have proven neem extracts prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease.

• Soap/Shampoo - Neem oil soaps can be used to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments.

• Ulcer relief - Neem extracts give significant protection from discomfort and speed the healing of gastric problems.