Neem: Ancient plant

(Neem (Azadirachta indica) evergreen small to medium sized tree belongs to mahogany family. This plant native to Myanmar and later introduced in Asian subcontinents. Ordinary, wild and kari are known varieties of neem.

Neem: Ancient plantHabitat specification

Neem massively grows in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. Growing season starts in Pakistan during (with the start of) the monsoon season and flourished well by the use of fertilizers. At the age of 4 -5 years it starts flowering by following 12 weeks. It starts for fruit maturation but botanical and economical properties augmented after 10-12 years of struggle. 

Major constituents

Neem has been strongly recognized for holistic purposes from Paleolithic age to the contemporary era. All parts beneficially contribute in ayurvedic, unani, therapeutic medicines, folk medicines and modern pharmaceutical (allopathic) drugs due the presence of life saving chemical compounds. Tetranortriterpinoid is the most active compound isolated from seed kernel of neem tree. Nimbolinin, nimbidin, quercetin, nimbinene, azadirachtin (H, I) and many other compounds are discovered from this tree and while some compounds are under working stream.

Focus

  • Allocative efficiency neem used over a time for its ethno-botanical uses and innocuous effects on human beings, animals, valuable insects and pests.
  • known as a biological controlling agent to control various plant diseases as well as a good source of organic fertilizer (nitrification inhibitor).
  • Anti-cancerous properties by regulating the cancer suppressor genes and leaves act as a blood purifier.
  • Anti-desertification agent and best carbon sink.

Health benefits and uses

Neem regarded as “Panacea for all diseases”, elixir’, “arista”, “sarbarogaribarini”, “nature’s drug store” and “magical tree” due to antimicrobial effects and antioxidant properties. All plant parts effectively used to cure almost all sickness in both plants and animals. Neem oil, resins, gums and sap are recognized all over the world due to distinguished and valuable beneficial characteristics in diseases management.

Improves fertilizer effectiveness

It is estimated that about 60-70% urea wastes in different forms only 30-40% available for crop. In different parts of world, neem cake is used to mix with the urea due to slow decomposition of nutrients and nitrification inhibitor.

Soil conditioner and green manure

Organic manure helps to improve water proliferation (hydraulic conductivity) in soils and macro pore formation by rapid growth of microorganisms. Neem increases the air flow through micropores to allow roots to breath. It is eco-friendly and acts as nitrification inhibitor by killing(block) the denitrifying bacteria in soil. Its antifeedant property protects plant roots from nematodes, soil grabs and white ants.

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Animal feed

Neem leaves are a good source of DCP and TDN used as feed for rabbits and ruminants. Neem cake is used in poultry and livestock with specific dosage for a specific period of time but as a fodder its studies are not significantly recognized. Twigs and leaves used by mixing with other feed.

Pest Control

Pesticide spray are very common nowadays although these sprays considerably control the insects and pests attack on the meanwhile these practices alters the plant physiology, beneficial pests like earthworm, earwig, lady bug, bees and marine life. Neem oil application not kills the pest but it restricts growth and acts as a feeding deterrent that keep away pests like nematodes white ants, beetles and mites etc. Bark and root powder effectively control the growth of ticks and fleas on pests.

Shade and timber

Neem wood used for excellent domestic fuel (burn slowly), furniture (bookcase, wardrobe), excellent packing case and fencing. Large number of its crowns are planting along the roads, residential territories for shelter and shading purposes.

Storage and packing

Storage and packaging of food is a problematic situation from last decades. Chemical sprays are offered to protect the seeds and food items, that done their job very well but these sprays contain some chemicals that are injurious to human and packing items.

Neem is antifungal, anti-bacterial, antiviral and super ovipositional deterrent.  Oil, leaves, cake and wood are significantly used in backward area of Asian subcontinent. Neem oil coating on food items protect the supplies from infestations up to twenty mounts without losing palatability of the product.

Alternative to plastic toothbrush

Young neem twigs (neem miswak) traditionally used by local people of Pakistan for dental care, hygiene and twig bristles are used to keep teeth whiter. Antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties play a key role in preventing oral disorders and diseases like gum swelling, plaque, gingivitis, toothache, mouth ulcer and bad breath.

Modernism society used it as toothpastes and dental care products that are broadly used in Pakistan, Asian and European countries to cure all sorts of oral infections and levels alkaline level in saliva. Different research suggests that its leaves extract toothpaste application continuously 6 weeks can reduce number of bacteria that cause plaque formation.

Hair strengthens

Traditionally, Neem is using in different methods to condition hair by nourished hair roots and excellent scrubber of dandruff or frizzy hair.

  • Its leaves pastes apply to gets stronger and shinier hair.
  • Its oil application into the scalp before taking bath prevents hair fall and lice.
  • Boil a handful  leaves until water turns greenish and leaves the solution to cool. Use the leaves solution for dandruff free hair after using any shampoo.
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Soap

Due to antifungal, antibacterial and moisturizing properties neem cold pressed oil used by beauty manufacturers. More than 75% supplied neem oil used in laundry and beauty soaps. Its face wash and soap is the most popular and well-known products of Himalaya drug company.

Suppressor of cancer growth cells

Cancer is a multifactorial health disorder caused by alteration or deterioration in the structure of DNA that lead to uncontrolled growth and dysfunctioning of normal cells. Allopathic medication proves effective but chemical constituents adversely affect the normal cell functioning. Different plants constituents especially flavonoid compound inhibits the growth of malignant cells. Neem leaves contain two compounds flavonoid and glycoprotein reported as tumor suppressor genes ad restrict the development of cancer cells.

Blood purifier

Neem’s leaf juice conventionally had been used to clean the blood due to best antiseptic, antioxidant and antiviral properties.

Treat human Ailments

In old age neem leaves used to treat warts, foot fungi and chicken pox. Till now in undeveloped areas of Pakistan  paste its leaves and water applied on the affected area of that person for these diseases’ curation.

Malaria and dengue are two serious diseases of their time. Neem bark and leaves thought to be helpful but its use in malaria curation not yet proved by clinical studies (under studies). Leaves smoke is considered to be the best repellent of dengue mosquito and mosquito repellent neem oil has been effectively used to repel mosquitoes But if you are sensitive or allergic must done an allergic test before application. 

Supreme Wound Healer

Neem leaves paste and oil heals wound or insects bite without leaving wound scars.

Cures respiratory disorders

Neem oil and flowers has been reported to relieve respiratory distress including phlegm, cough and emphysema(asthma).

Ulcers cure

Neem bark has been founded to cure stomach and intestinal ulcers.

Diabetes medication

There are some traditional and clinical evidence about the curation of blood sugar level by neem leaves. Chemical compounds found in leaves and its gum that work like insulin after being digested by the body. All parts are life threatening to pregnant women over dosage lead to miscarriage.

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Strengthen immune system

Neem leaves crushed by adding some water and stained in a glass boost your immune system.

Other diseases

Neem decoctions and poultice are reportedly efficacious against a variety of diseases like Anaemia, sanitizes, disinfects, deworming agent, cardiovascular diseases, constipation, bloating, cramps, digestive problems, restore mental health, antiscarbic, ring worms, psoriasis and antipyretic.

Skin care with Neem

Vitamins and essential fatty acids provide nourishment for skin. The neem oil is high in antioxidant compound that helps to fight free radical damage to Soothe and heal skin. Different neem’s beauty products are available in markets like face wash, soap, shampoo, moisturizers and balms creams.

Its mask with few drops of grapeseed oil moisturized skin. It pack with tulsi, turmeric powder, and sandalwood with few dopes of rose water extract applied to get glowing, lightened skin tone and prevent or lightening blemishes and pimples development.

Dry itching and rashes

Treated by neem oil, azadirachtin a constituent can cause irritation to eyes and allergic skin. Its fresh juice act as a blood purifier, improves metabolism by clean the stomach and adds to weight loses.

Use as lubricant

Nondrying and degradational resistance properties neem oil is used in cart wheels to grease in rural areas of India.

Bark

Neem bark is a good source of tannin 14% tannin obtained by this tree used as coarse fiber woven into ropes.

Honey

Apiculture promote neem cultivation due to great demand of neem honey.

Products available in market

The product obtained are biodegradable and nontoxic to higher animals but neem oil is slightly toxic to marine life (fish).

Neem Cake

Neem cake is an organic product obtained by cold suppressing of fruits and seeds. Different kinds of cake powder, cake granules, cake bio mix and cake fertilizer are available in market. It helps to enhance soil amendment by increasing water holding capacity.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a major well recognized product of neem tree obtained from its leaves and fruits (seed kernels) or by cold press process. Oil is equally effective for both plants and animals, due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Oil spray should be done in the morning or afternoon on both sides of leaves. Its spray have the potential to kill the pests at all stages from larvae to egg stage

Abdul Rehman
Author: Abdul Rehman

Agronomist

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Abdul Rehman

Agronomist

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