Habitat & Cultivation : Originating in Iran, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka, neem is distributed widely across the sub-continent in forests and wooded areas. Frequently planted along roads for shade, it has also naturalized in various tropical regions, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and West Africa. Neem is typically cultivated from seed, and both leaves and seeds are harvested consistently throughout the year.
- Triterpenoid bitters
- Lowers fever
- Promotes wound healing
- Recent research : This suggests that neem oil possesses dual properties as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, and to a certain extent, it has the capability to alleviate fever and decrease blood sugar levels.
- Insecticide : Comprehensive research indicates that the liminoid azadirachtins in neem have insecticidal properties, effectively hindering feeding and growth. This makes neem a cost-effective and environmentally friendly insecticidal agent. Furthermore, the azadirachtins are associated with the tree’s antimalarial activity.
- Diabetes : Studies suggest that neem leaf and oil play a role in stabilizing blood sugar levels and could be beneficial in the treatment or postponement of late-onset diabetes.
Traditional & Current Uses
- Medicine chest : Regarded in India as a comprehensive pharmacy in itself, every part of the neem tree holds medicinal value. The bark, known for its bitter and astringent properties, is utilized in decoction form for addressing haemorrhoids. Infusions of the leaves are taken to combat conditions such as malaria, peptic ulcers, and intestinal worms. Locally, the leaves can be applied as a juice, infusion, or ointment to address skin issues like ulcers, wounds, boils, and eczema. The leaf juice is also employed for treating night blindness and conjunctivitis when applied to the eyes. Neem twigs serve as a natural tooth cleanser, contributing to gum firmness and preventing gum disease.
- Neem oil and sap : Derived from the seeds, neem oil is a popular choice as a hair dressing, known for its potent antifungal and antiviral properties, effectively preventing conditions like scabies and ringworm. Additionally, it can be transformed into a convenient treatment for head lice. The oil finds application in addressing various skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and even leprosy. Moreover, neem oil serves as a carrier for other active ingredients. It’s important to note that neem oil should be avoided when attempting to conceive, as it has the potential to reduce fertility in both women and men.