Azadirachta indica commonly known as ‘neem’ has a wide range of medicinal properties for which it is planted.
In Persian, Azad-darakhti-i-hindi literally means ‘free tree of Indian origin’ or ‘free tree of India’. This is one tree from India known since antiquity.
This tree has straight trunk and the leaves are spread all around thus giving a wide canopy of shade. This is one of the main reasons why this tree is planted along the roadside.
Neem is a tree with a straight trunk and numerous compound leaves. The leaves have a serrated margin.
The flowers are white in color and small in size. The fruits turn yellow in color when ripe. They appear small and elongated
This short creeper grows to 20 to 70 cm tall in height.
Neem can grow In almost all conditions and hence is cultivated even in deserts for the shade it provides.
Almost every part of the plant starting from the roots to fruits is used to treat various medical ailments.
It is found almost everywhere in India from evergreen tropical forests to arid deserts.
This tree is indigenous to South Asia. It is believed to have originated in Assam and Myanmar.
The tree is commonly found in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanks, Pakistan, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand.
It has been introduced in the dry areas of Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, South and Central America, Australia, Caribbean Islands, Saharan parts of Africa and Middle-East.
Almost every part of the plant such as bark, leaves, flowers and seeds are used.
Neem leaves are used widely for treating various skin infections and rashes. Neem leaves in bathing water is known to control itching. Sleeping on a bed of neem leaves is recommended for chicken pox.
Neem oil is used in preparation of soap, balms, shampoos, creams etc.
Slender neem branches are traditionally used as a toothbrush. People chew on the twigs to clean their teeth.
Ground neem seeds are soaked overnight and sprayed on crops to control crop pests. They act as a repellent thus protecting the crops from damage.
It is also used as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anthelmintic, contraceptive, antiviral and sedative.
Neem cakes are sold as fertilisers.
The flowers and shoots are used as vegetables in various parts of India since they act as excellent appetizers.