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The Neem Tree: United Nations Declared Neem Tree As Wonderful Tree Of 21st Century

The tree Neem is scientifically named as Azadirachta Indica A Juss, it has another scientific name as well- Melia Azadirachta Linn.

The neem tree is indigenous toMyanmar (Burma) but naturally distributed in the whole Indian subcontinent. The plant is found cultivated throughout Bangladesh. It grows mostly in open areas and as a common roadside plant. It grows well in saline soils and drought conditions but growth is slow in water logged condition. The plant can be grown in all types of soils, preferably in black-loamy soil.

The neem tree is a large evergreen dense tree, with cracked bark all over the body. It grows up to 30 to 40 feet tall with a girth of about 6 to 9 feets. The leaves of the plant are divided into numerous leaflets, each resembling a full-grown leaf. The tree has small, white flowers in axillary’s bunches and 1.2 to 1.8 am long green (yellow when ripe) fruit with a seed in each.

Flowering period is from March to April and fruiting is from July to August.

The neem plant can be propagated through seeds in all types of soils. It grows best in places with 50-70 cm rainfall and temperature of 20°-40°C. It is to be noted that for propagation the seeds should be sown immediately after ripening, i.e. the life of seeds in very short.

Medicinal parts/Aromatic parts: In fact every part of the neem tree is useful-root bark, stem bark, leaves, flower and fruits.

The neem tree has played a very important rote in Ayurvedic system of medicine and agriculture since time immemorial.

The neem seeds contain substantial amount of essential oil known as margosa or neem oil. The bitter constituents separated from this oil are nimbin, nimbidin and nimbinin. The flowers contains a bitter substance and an irritant bitter oil. The fruits contain a bitter principle, baka yanin and the trunk yields nimbin, nimbidin and nimbinin and as essential oil.

Healing power and curative properties: Neem tree is generally considered to be an air purifier and is a preventive against malaria fever and cholera. All parts of the tree possess medicinal properties. The leaves act as an insecticide.  The bark is a bitter tonic and stimulant. It arrests secretions and bleeding besides counter-acting any spasmodic disorders. The root bark has the same properties as the bark of the trunk. The gum discharged by the stem is a stimulant and tonic with a smoothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes.

Piles: The use of 3 grams of inner bark of neem with 6 grams of jaggery every morning is very effective for piles treatment. To check bleeding piles, 3 or 4 neem fruits can be administered with water.

Skin disorders: The leaves applied externally are very useful in skin diseases. They are especially beneficial in the treatment of boils, chronic ulcers, eruption of pox, syphilitic sorey, glandular swellings and wounds. They can be used either as a poultice, decoction or liniment.

An ointment prepared from neem leaves is also very effective in healing ulcers and wounds. This ointment is prepared by frying 50 grams of the leaves in 50 grams of pure ghee and mashing the mixture in the same ghee till an ointment consistency is obtained. A part prepared from the bark by rubbing it in water can also be applied on wounds.

Hair disorders: If there is any hair loss or it has ceased to grow, washing with the decoction of neem leaves may help. This will not only stop hair from falling but also help their growth. Frequent applications of neem oil also destroy insects in the hair growth.

Eye diseases: Neem is very useful in eye diseases. Application of the juice of neem leaves to the eyes every night is highly effective in the treatment of night blindness. The leaves should be pounded and made into a thin paste with water. The juice should then be pressed out through a clean piece of cloth and applied to the eyes with an eye rod.

Ear ailments: Steam fermentation with neem decoction provides immediate comfort in of earache. A handful of neem leaves should be boiled in a liter of water and the ear fomented with steam thus produced. The juice of neem leaves mixed with an equal quantity of pure honey is an effective remedy for any boils in the ear. The juice is to be warmed a little and a few drops poured in the ear. Regular application for a few days will provide relief from such ailments.

In case of an insect in fluxing in the ear the juice of neem leaves with some common salt is warmed and few drops ingested in the ear, will kill the insects. Two drops of lukewarm neem oil put in the ear twice a day can cure deafness.

Oral disorders: Cleaning the teeth regularly with a neem twig  prevents gum disease. It firms up loose teeth, relieves toothache evacuates the bad odour and protect the mouth from various infections.

Post-Parturition disorders: Neem is very useful at the time of child-birth. Administration of the juice of neem leaves to the woman in labour before childbirth produces normal contraction in the uterus and prevents possible inflammation. It corrects bowel movements and checks onset of fevers, thereby facilitating the normal delivery. The use of a tepid decoction of neem leaves as a vaginal douche heals any wounds caused during delivery and disinfects the vaginal passage.

Neem is a powerful insecticide to kill soil nematodes and other plant parasites and is also useful as a mosquito repellant. Dry neem leaves can be used for keeping food grain free from being infected by insects. In this the dried leaves should be mixed randomly with food grains and other raw food items. (Rice, wheat, oat, potato, onion and other like these).

Executive Director
BengalPlants Research & Development
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