About the Neem herb, medicinal uses and Precautions
Common and Botanical Names of Neem or Margosa
The botanical name of Neem or Margosa is Azadirachta indica. In Tamil, it is called as Vembu or Veepam. The tree belongs to Meliaceae family. Neem is called in various languages as Bevu, Arya Veppu, Nimba, Vepu, Vempu, etc. Other names of Neem tree include Divine Tree, Heal All, Nature’s Drugstore, Village Pharmacy, etc. Neem is called as as Muarubaini (Swahili) in East Africa, since it is said to cure 40 different diseases.
About the Herb, Neem Tree
Neem tree is very commonly found in countries like India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Bangladesh, etc. Neem is a noble tree and is dedicated to Goddess Neemari Devi. The speciality of the Neem tree is that it does not require much water and grows in drought hit areas.
The herb Neem has high medicinal uses and is widel y used in all non-conventional medicines like Ayurveda and Unani. Almost all parts of the Neem tree (seeds, leaves, fruits, stick and barks) have medicinal uses. Even the pharma industry uses the constitiuents obtained from the herb.
Primary Medicinal Uses of Neem
Chicken Pox: Since ancient times, neem has been used in treating chicken pox. Infected individuals are made to sleep on neem leaves. Also, they are made to bathe in warm water where neem leaves are added.
Stomach worms: The juice extracted from neem leaves is sometimes mixed with ginger juice extract and given to those infected with intestinal worms. You may also consume neem oil along with castor oil during early morning to get rid of intestinal worms
Tooth and gums: Before tooth paste or tooth brush was invented, we used to brush our teeth with neem twigs. Neem has the medicinal property of protecting the teeth and gums from infections. It also cures tooth ache.
Mosquito Repellent: Neem oil when applied on the body serves as mosquito repellent. This is a very cheap and simple method. This is widely used in villages. Sometimes the leaves are burned. The smoke generated kills all mosquitoes and insects.
Jaundice: Neem is very effective in treating jaundice. An extract is generated from the tender leaves and consumed thrice daily.
Lice Killer: Neem oil kills lice and is widely use in preparing soaps and hair conditioners.
Family Planning: Neem oil when applied in vagina before having sex, prevents pregnancy.
Other Medicinal Uses
Neem Oil: Neem oil is extracted from the Neem seeds and is widely used in various medicinal uses like antiworming agent, antibacterial agent, infections and for improving skin texture.
Insecticide and Pesticide: Neem is very often used as a botanical insecticide and environment friendly pesticide since it chases pests and microorganisms. It has been found to be a repellent for more than hundred types of insects.
Cooking Ingredient: Neem has often been used as an ingredient in south Indian cooking. Housewives use neem flowers to prepare milagu or vepam poo rasam.
Blood Purifier: Neem is a great blood purifier. It eradicates toxins from the blood.
Cosmetics: Neem Oil is used widely in preparing various cosmetics including soaps, hand washes, shampoos, balms, etc. Neem is very useful for skin care and is found to cure diseases like acne and maintains the texture and elasticity of the skin
Fever: When a decoction of neem roots is taken by those infected with fever, they get relieved soon.
Diabetes: It is very effective as medicine for diabetics by taking the powder of neem leaves.
Furniture and Decorations: Neem wood is termite resistant and is used in making furniture.
Ecological Balance: Neem is a very common tree and is found to be grown in plenty in common places and along both sides of national and state highways. This is because the tree helps in maintaining ecological balance and helps eradicate problems like deforestation, erosion and global warming.
Travelers Heaven: It is a natural air purifier and improves fertility of the soil. In ancient times, those who travel by foot used to rest beneath neem tree. Neem has a very cooling effect. This can be realized when you stand beneath a neem tree on a sunny day.
Disinfectant in storing grains: To protect grains and cereals from getting infected, often the cereals are mixed with neem leaves and stored. Sometimes, a paste of neem leaves is applied around the gunny bags in which the cereals are stored.