Neem tree Tree Uses
Tree Healing Therapy
Botanical name Azadirachta indica / Family Meliaceae
The neem tree, which belongs to the mahogany family, is a fast-growing evergreen that is native to Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Pakistan. It has hard, fissured or scaly bark, feather-like leaves tinted with red and purple when young, and small white, fragrant star-shaped flowers. It normally contains one (rarely two or three) seeds with a brown seed coat. Neem is one of very few shade-giving trees that thrive in drought-prone areas and is also valued for its anti-desertification properties,
History, mystery and spiritual healing Neem's name derives from the Sanskrit nimba and it was known as the 'panacea for all diseases', In India it is deeply imbued with spiritual meaning and is known as the 'divine tree', The ancient Hindus believed that planting neem trees ensured a passage to heaven, Its curative properties were attributed to a few drops of heavenly nectar descending upon it.
Neem was, and still is, closely connected with Indians' everyday life, its pure, hygienic, decontaminating and protective properties playing an important role in cradle-to-death care, Babies were bathed with neem water, given small doses of neem oil and the leaves were hung over their cradles, Smallpox and chickenpox were thought to be cured or held off by its use, for spiritually it was believed that Sithala, the goddess of smallpox, lived in the neem tree, as did the powerful mother goddess Kali.
In Ayurvedic, Unani and folklore traditional medicine, neem oil is used in India and Bangladesh as a treatment for leprosy and other skin diseases. It has also been used for malaria, ophthalmia and tuberculosis; in the treatment of tetanus, urticaria, eczema, scrofula and erysipelas; in hygiene products; and for inflammations and fevers. Neem twigs are used daily as bactericidal 'chew sticks' to clean the teeth,
Neem's three chief compounds range in use from cosmetics and toiletries to pharmaceuticals and agriculture, Its products have proven medicinal properties, being anthelmintic, antibacterial, ant diabetic, antifungal, antiviral, contra-infertility and sedative, It is particularly prescribed for skin diseases, Neem is also anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antimalarial, antipyretic, antitumour, hypoglycaemic, diuretic, pesticidal and spermicidal. Recently it has been investigated for its antioxidant and anticarcinogenic activities, for male contraception, and dermatological uses,
Cautions There are some reports of allergic reactions to neem products, It is vital that the neem tree is not confused with the Chinaberry (Melia azedarach), which is very similar in appearance and all parts of which are toxic.