Author: Dr Ranjeet Singh
Latin Name- Azadirachta indica
English Name- Margosa
Hindi Name- Neem
Neem (Margosa) is a very common tree in India. It is large evergreen dense tree growing some 10-10.5 meter tall with a girth of about 2-3 meters. The leaves of this tree are divided into numerous leaflets, each resembling a full grown leaf. The tree has small, white flowers green and yellow fruits with a seed in each.
The neem tree has played a key role in Ayurvedic medicines and agriculture since time immemorial. It is indigenous to South Asia, where up to twenty million trees line the roads. The tree occurs naturally in the Deccan peninsula, but is cultivated all over India. It is also common in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan, Japan and tropical region of Australia and Africa.
The Seeds of this plant contain substantial amount of essential oil, known as margosa or neem oil. The bitter constituents separated from this oil are nimbin, nimbinin and nimbidin. The main active blossoms yield a glucoside, nimbosterin and highly pungent essential oil, nimbosterol nimbecetin and fatty acids. The flowers contain a bitter substance and an irritant bitter oil. The fruits contain a bitter principle, baka yanin and the trunk bark yields nimbin, nimbidin, nimbinin and an essential oil.
Healing power of Neem?
Neem tree is generally considered to be an air purifier and a preventive against malaria fever and cholera. All parts of the tree posses medicinal properties. The leaves are useful in relieving flatulence, promoting the removal of catarrhal matter and phlegm from bronchial tubes, and in increasing secretion and discharge of urine. They also acts as an insecticide. The bark is a better tonic and a stimulant. It arrests secretions and bleeding besides counter-acting any spasmodic disorders. The root bark has the same properties as the bark of the trunk. The gum discharged by the stem is a stimulant and tonic with a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes.
Where to use Neem?
An infusion or a decoction of the fresh leaves is bitter vegetable tonic and alternative, especially in chronic malarial fevers because of its action on the liver.
The use of 3 grams of the inner bark of neem with 6 grams of jaggery every morning, is very effective in piles. To check bleeding piles, 3 or 4 neem fruits can be administered with water.
The sap of the neem tree has been found effective in leprosy, when taken in daily doses of 60 grams. Simultaneously the patient’s body should be massaged with the sap. This regimen should be continued for 40 days. If the sap is not available, 12 grams of neem leaves and three decigrams of pepper can ground in water and taken.
(4). Skin Disorders
The leaves, applied externally, are very useful in skin diseases. They are specially beneficial in the treatment of boils, chronic ulcers, eruptions of smallpox, syphilitic sores, glandular swellings and wounds. They can be used either as a poultice, decoction or liniment.
An ointment prepared from neem leaves is also very effective in healing ulcers and wounds. This ointment is prepared by frying 50 grams of the leaves in 50 grams of pure ghee and mashing the mixture thoroughly in the same ghee till an ointment consistency is obtained.
(5). Hair Disorders
If there is any hair loss or it has ceased to grow, washing with the decoction of neem leaves may help. This will not only stop hair from falling but also help their growth. Frequently application of neem oil also destroys insects in the hair.
(6). Eye Diseases
Neem is very useful in eye Diseases. Application of the juice of neem leaves to the eyes every night is highly effective in the treatment of night blindness. The leaves should be pounded and made into thin paste with water. The juice should then be pressed out through a clean piece of cloth and applied to the eyes with an eye rod.
The juice obtained by rubbing a few neem leaves with a little water and strained through a clean piece of cloth is useful in pain in the eyes caused by conjunctivitis. It is warmed, and a few drops put into the ear opposite the ailing eyes to give relief. Eyes are cured after few application.
(7). Ear Ailments
Steam fomentation with neem decoction provides immediate comfort in cases of earache. A handful of neem leaves should be boiled in a liter of water and the ear fomented with the steam thus produced. The juice of neem leaves mixed with an equal quality of pure honey is an effective remedy for any boils in the ear. The juice is to be warmed a little and a few drops fused in the ear. Regular application for a few days will provide relief from such ailments.
In case of insect fluxing in the ear the juice of neem leaves with some common salt, is warmed and few drops injected in the ear, kill the insect. Two drops of lukewarm neem oil put in the ear twice a day can cure deafness.
(8). Oral Disorders
Cleaning the teeth regularly with a neem twig prevents gum diseases. It firms up loose teeth, relieves toothache, evacuate the bad order and protects the mouth from various infections.
(9). Post- Parturition Disorders
Neem is very useful at the time of child birth. Administration of the juice of neem leaves to the women in labour before child birth produces normal contraction in the uterus and prevents possible inflammation. It corrects bowel movements and checks onset of fevers, thereby facilitating the normal delivery. The use of a tepid decoction of neem leaves as a vaginal douche heals any wounds caused during delivery and disinfects the vaginal passage.