Written by Katarina Subotich
Common name: Neem, Nimb.
Botanical name: Azadirachta indica.
Neem has been known in India as a “village apothecary” for thousands of years. It a tree native to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and now days growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions around the world. It is a fast growing tree that can reach the height of 15-20m. It is also very resistant to draught.
Neem has been one of the most beneficial plants used in Ayurveda for more than 2,000 years. There are numerous preparations made from different parts of neem tree: leaves, seed, bark, roots.
In Ayurveda it is used to calm pitta, and lower kapha due to its bitter taste. It is one of the most powerful blood-purifiers and detoxifiers in Ayurvedic usage. It cools the fever and clears the toxins involved in most inflammatory and skin diseases or those found in ulcerated skin membranes. It is powerful febrifuge and effective in malaria and other intermittent and periodic fevers ( The Yoga of Herbs, Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad)
Major active constituents are:
- Nimbin – anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, antifungal, antihistamine
- Nimbidin – antibacterial, analgesic, anti-arrhythmic
- Nimbidol – antitubercular, anti-protozoan
- Gedunin – vasodilator, anti-malaria
- Sodium nimbinate – diuretic, spermicide, anti-arthritic
- Quercetin – antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
- Salanin – repellent
- Azadirachtin – repellent, anti-hormonal
Medicinal uses of neem are numerous:
AIDS – The National Institute of Health is reporting encouraging results from in vitro tests for neem as an antiviral agent against AIDS
Cancer – Plysaccharides and limonoids fond in neem bark, leaves and seed oil reduced tumors and cancers without side effects in a number of different studies.
Heart disease – neem extracts have delayed the coagulation of blood, helped reduce elevated heart rates and high blood pressure.
Herpes – Recent tests in Germany show that neem extracts are toxic to herpes virus
Periodontal disease – German and American researches have proven that neem extracts prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Dermatology – studies have shown great results in treating acne, eczema, itching, dandruff and warts.
Allergies – neem has antihistamine properties that help inhibit allergic reaction
Birth control (men) – In India and US, trials show neem extracts reduced fertility in male monkeys without inhibiting libido and spearm production, making it potentially the first male birth control pill. In women, neem oil showed 100% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy when used as a vaginal lubricant or injected in fallopian tube.
Hepatitis – tests show neem adversely effects the virus that causes hepatitis B.
Fungi – neem is toxic to several fungi that attack humans, including those that cause athlete’s foot and Candida.
Malaria – An active ingredient in neem leaves, known as irodin A, is toxic to resistant strains of malaria.
Insect repellent – studies have shown that neem compound is more effective insect repellent than DEET (a suspected cancirogen).
Reference: Neem, The Ultimate Herb. John Conrick.