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Neem 


Indian Name :  Neem
Botanical Name : Azadirachta indica
Family:  Meliaceae
Parts Use:  Leaves, Bark, Seed

Description:

A large evergreen tree, 12 to 18 meter in height and 1.8 to 2.4 meter in girth with a straight bole and long spreading branches forming a broad crown as much as 20 metres across, commonly found throughout greater parts of India.

Bark Grey or dark reddish brown with numerous and scattered tubercles. The bark exudes a gum known as East India gum. Leaves alternate 20 - 30 cm long, leaflets 8 - 19 alternate or opposite ovate glossy, bluntly serrate.

Flowers : white or pale yellow, small, scented, numerous on long axillary panicles, have a honey like scent and attract many bees.

Fruit : Fruit is a ovoid bluntly pointed, smooth drupe green when young and turns yellow with a very thin epicarp, mesocarp with scanty pulp and a hard bony endocarp, enclosing one seed.

The timber is relatively heavy with a specific gravity varying from 0.56 to 0.85 (average 0.68) when freshly cut, it has a strong smell.

The flowering season of neem varies from place to place. Generally it flowers from January to May and the ripening time of fruits is from May to August. The fruit pulp is edible.

Cultivation :  

Neem grows on almost all kinds of soils including clayey, saline and alkaline soils but does well on black cotton soils. It thrives better than most other trees on dry stony saline soils with a waterless sub-soil or in places where there is a hard calcareous or clay pan near the surface. It does not tolerate inundation. It has a unique property of calcium mining which changes the acidic soil into neutral. Neem also grows well on some acidic soil. It is said that the fallen neem leaves which are slightly alkaline are good for neutralising acidity in the soil.

Neem can be easily raised through direct sowing, entire / polypot seedlings or root-shoot cuttings. For degraded areas direct sowing is more successful. Entire / polypot seedlings or root-shoot cuttings are more relevant for agro-forestry / silvi pasture and road side avenue plantations. Direct sowing is done either by dibbling in bushes, broadcast sowing, line sowing, sowing on mounds or ridges, sowing in trenches in sunken beds in circular saucers or by aerial sowing. The choice varies with edaphic, climatic, biotic and economic conditions of the site. Planting in pits is carried out by using 20 to 45 cms tall seedlings. Taller ones promise better survival. Planting of stumps prepared from a year old seedlings in crowbar holes also gives good results.

Climatic conditions for growth :

The neem tree originated in India and loves growing in a tropical to subtropical climate. It needs and positively thrives in hot weather, but it can handle the occasional cold spell.

Temperatures up to 50C (120F) are fine for growing neem trees. So is the occasional drop down to about 5C (35F). Below that the neem tree will shed its leaves. Longer exposure to cold weather can cause permanent damage or kill a neem tree. The younger the tree, the more vulnerable it is to cold weather. An ample supply of water is good when growing neem trees, but the tree can make do with very little.  The areas where neem trees grow naturally receive between 450 and 1200 mm of rain per year, but neem has been planted in drier regions as well. There are neem trees growing in areas that receive as little as 200 mm annual rain.

Purchase Advice : The Best time to buy this herb :

October to December

Benefits of Neem

  • All parts of the tree are said to have medicinal properties (seeds, leaves, flowers and bark) and are used for preparing many different medical preparations.
  • Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, neem shampoo, balms and creams and many oral health products.
  • Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine, the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.
  • Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients with chicken pox sleep on neem leaves.
  • Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose food.
  • Traditionally, slender neem branches have been chewed to clean one's teeth. Neem twigs are still collected and sold in markets for this use, and in rural India one often sees youngsters in the streets chewing on neem twigs(for the neem twigs and branches have great dental effects).
  • Extract of neem leaves is thought to be helpful as malaria prophylaxis.

    Neem extracts as insecticides: Neem products are unique in that they are not outright killers. Instead, they alter an insects behaviour or life processes in ways that can be extremely subtle. Eventually, however, the insect can no longer feed or breed or metamorphose and can cause no further damage.
  • Azadirachtin : One of the first active ingredients isolated from neem, Azadirachtin has proved to be the trees main agent for battling insects. It appears to cause some 90% of the effect on most pests.
  • Fungicides : Neem has proved effective against certain fungi that infect the human body. Such fungi are an increasing problems & have been difficult to control by synthetic fungicides.
  • Antibacterials : In trials neem oil has suppressed several species of pathogenic bacteria including Staphylococcus & Salmonella spp.
  • Antiviral agents : In India, there is much interesting, but anecdotal information attributing antiviral activity of Neem. Its efficacy particularly against pox viruses is strongly believed, even among those of advanced medical training. Small pox, chicken pox have traditionally been treated with a paste of neem leaves usually rubbed directly on to the infected skin.
  • Dermatological Insects : In India, villagers apply neem oil to the hair to kill head lice, reportedly with great success. Neem seed oil and leaf extracts may be the wonder cure for psoriasis. It relieves the itching and pain while reducing the scale and redness of the patchy lesions.
  • Dental Treatments : In India, millions of people use twigs as "tooth brushes" every day. Dentists have endorsed this ancient practice, finding it effective in preventing periodontal disease.
  • Malaria : Practitioners of the Indian Ayurvedic Medicine system have been preparing neem in oral doses for malarial patients for centuries. Neem's antimalarial activity was reported in Ayurveda books as far back as 2000 BC by Charaka & 1500 BC by Sushruta.
  • Pain Relief & Fever Reduction : Neem may also be a ready source of low cost analgesic (pain relieving), or antipyretic (fever reducing) compounds. In trials, positive results have been obtained for significant analgesic, antipyretic & anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Contraceptive Agents : Indian scientists from the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS) have applied for patents on chemicals isolated from the neem oil which have proved to be promising contraceptive agents which are DK-1 & DNM-5. A third active agent coded as DNM-7 acts as an abortifacient causing abortion if administered orally after implantation has already occurred.
  • Veterinary Medicine : Ancient practice & initial testing of neem derivatives against various livestock pests indicated that this is an area of particular promise for the future. Insects of veterinary importance are obvious targets for neem products.
  • Cosmetics : Neem is perceived in India as a beauty aid. Powdered leaves are a major component of at least one widely used facial cream. Purified neem oil is also used in nail polish & other cosmetics.
  • Lubricants : Neem oil is non drying and it resists degradation better than most vegetable oils.
  • Fertilizers : Neem has demonstrated considerable potential as a fertilizer. Neem cake is widely used to fertilize cash crops particularly sugarcane & vegetables. Ploughed into the soil, it protects plant roots from nematodes & white ants, probably due to its contents of the residual limonoids. In Karnataka, people grow the tree mainly for its green leaves & twigs, which they puddle into flooded rice fields before the rice seedlings are transplanted.
  • Resin : An exudate can be tapped from the trunk by woundings the bark. This high protein material is not a substitute for polysaccharide gum, such as gum arabic. It may however, have a potential as a food additive, and it is widely used in South Asia as "Neem glue".
  • Bark : Neem bark contains 14% tannins, an amount similar to that in conventional tannin yieldings tree (such as Acacia decurrens). Moreover, it yields a strong, coarse fibre commonly woven into ropes in the villages of India.
  • Neem fruits : The fruits are recommended for urinary diseases, piles, intestinal worms, leprosy etc. The dry fruits are bruised in water & employed to treat cutaneous diseases.
  • Soap : India's supply of neem oil is now used mostly by soap manufacturers. Although much of it goes to small scale speciality soaps, large scale producers also use it, mainly because it is cheap. Generally, the crude oil is used to produce coarse laundry soaps.
Neem Leaf Tea : Several companies have started processing neem leaves for Tea production and selling as neem leaf Tea. Although it tastes bitter, in the long run it may catch up with the masses especially to the health conscious people.

Quality of Neem :

  • Stick Less Shade Dry

For bulk purchase of the above qualities :
Please send us an email mentioning the quantity you require and your delivery destination at order@allayurveda.com

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