Description : Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft), and rarely 35–40 metres (115–131 ft). It is evergreen, but in severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide and spreading. The fairly dense crown is roundish and may reach a diameter of 15–20 metres (49–66 ft) in old, free-standing specimens. The neem tree is very similar in appearance to its relative, the Chinaberry (Melia azedarach).
The opposite, pinnate leaves are 20–40 centimetres (7.9–15.7 in) long, with 20 to 31 medium to dark green leaflets about 3–8 centimetres (1.2–3.1 in) long. The terminal leaflet is often missing. The petioles are short.
The (white and fragrant) flowers are arranged in more-or-less drooping axillary panicles which are up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) long. The inflorescences, which branch up to the third degree, bear from 150 to 250 flowers. An individual flower is 5–6 millimetres (0.20–0.24 in) long and 8–11 millimetres (0.31–0.43 in) wide. Protandrous, bisexual flowers and male flowers exist on the same individual tree.
The fruit is a smooth (glabrous) olive-like drupe which varies in shape from elongate oval to nearly roundish, and when ripe is 1.4–2.8 centimetres (0.55–1.10 in) by 1.0–1.5 centimetres (0.39–0.59 in). The fruit skin (exocarp) is thin and the bitter-sweet pulp (mesocarp) is yellowish-white and very fibrous. The mesocarp is 0.3–0.5 centimetres (0.12–0.20 in) thick. The white, hard inner shell (endocarp) of the fruit encloses one, rarely two or three, elongated seeds (kernels) having a brown seed coat.
Uses & Benefits : Vermifuge, Insecticide, Astringent, Tonic and Antispetic. It posseses anti diabitic, anti bacterial and anti viral properties and used sucessfully in cases of stomach, worms and ulcers. Root bark posseses anstringent, tonic and antiperiodic properties. It is also useful in Malarial fever. The oil is used in making Neem based soaps, shampoos and toothpaste.
- Neem products have medicinal properties that prove to be anthelmintic, antifungal, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fertility and sedative.
- All parts such of the tree, such as seeds, leaves, flowers and bark, are used in preparing various different medical preparations.
- Its oil is used for preparing cosmetics, like soap, shampoo, balms, creams, etc, which prove handy for skin care, such as in treatment of acne, for keeping the elasticity of skin, and so on.
- Patients suffering from chicken pox are recommended to sleep on neem leaves.
- It is known to neutralize more than 500 pests worldwide, including insects, mites, ticks and nematodes, by affecting their behavior and physiology.
- The gum of neem tree is used as a bulking agent to prepare special purpose food for diabetic patients. Its twigs are commonly used for cleaning teeth.
- A decoction can be prepared from the roots of neem tree and ingested to relieve fever.
- The paste of neem leaves is applied on skin to treat acne.
- Neem leaves extract is helpful in treating malaria and purifying blood.
- Various parts of the tree are used to protect stored roots and tubers from potato moth.
- Neem is used in vitiated conditions of pitta, hyperdipsia, leprosy, skin diseases, eczema, leucoderma, pruritus, intermittent fever, wounds, ulcers, burning sensation, tumors, tubercular glands, anorexia, vomiting, dyspepsia, intestinal worms, hepatopathy, cough, bronchitis, inflammation and fatigue.
- Fresh neem leaves are mixed with grains and cereals before storing them, ensure that the latter do not get spoilt.
- In Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, neem leaves are used to prepare a dish called Ugadi Pachhadi, a type of curry prepared with neem blossoms.
- The flowers of neem are mixed with and bella (jaggery or unrefined brown sugar) and offered to friends and relatives, as a symbol of sweet and bitter events in the upcoming New Year.
Medicinal Uses : Azadirachta indica is variously known as Sacred Tree, Heal all, Village Pharmacy and Panacea for all diseases. Products made from Neem tree have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties.
All parts of Neem tree used as anthelmintic, anti-fungal, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive and sedative. Neem tree is used in many medicinal treatment like skin diseases, healthy hair, improve liver function, detoxify the blood, Pest and disease control, fever reduction, dental treatments, cough, asthma, ulcers, piles, intestinal worms, urinary diseases etc.
Oil of Neem used in soap, shampoo, balms and creams as well as toothpaste. Small branches of Neem used as toothbrush. Neem oil also useful for skin care such as acne treatment, and keeping skin elasticity. Neem oil has been found to be an effective mosquito repellent. All parts of this tree also used in pharmacy companies for making different types of drugs.
Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose food (for diabetics). Aqueous extracts of Neem leaves have demonstrated significant anti-diabetic potential.
Neem leaf paste is applied to the skin to treat acne, and in a similar vein is used for measles and chicken sufferers. Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients suffering from chicken pox sleep on Neem leaves. A decoction prepared from Neem roots is ingested to relieve fever in traditional Indian medicine.
Healing power : Neem tree is generally considered to be an air purifier and preventive against malarial fever, acne , pimples and cholera. All parts of the tree possess medicinal properties. The leaves are useful in relieving flatulence, promoting the removal of catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes, and in increasing secretion and discharge of urine. They also acts act as an insecticide. The bark is a bitter tonic and a stimulant. It arrests secretion and bleeding besides counter acting any spasmodic disorders.