Neem-- Azadirachta Indica
Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15-20 m (about 50-65 feet), rarely to 35-40 m (115-131 ft.). It is evergreen but under severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide spreadNeem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15-20 m (about 50-65 feet), rarely to 35-40 m (115-131 ft.). It is evergreen but under severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide spread. The fairly dense crown is roundish or oval and may reach the diameter of 15-20 m in old, free-standing specimens.
Neem is strongly antiseptic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. This is why it is used in the manufacture of Neem Tea and Neem Skin Cream, and other preparations for the relief of skin problems, such as acne, athletes'' foot and other fungal conditions, eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, dandruff, scalp scaling, mouth ulcers and conditions, head lice, thrush, etc. Neem Oil and insect repellent is used in the treatment and prevention of Sweet Itch in horses.
For generations, Indian medical practitioners have made poultices from Neem leaves to cure skin diseases such as boils, ulcers, eczema, and ring worm. Pastes and extracts from Neem trees have also proven effective in treating various skin fungus conditions, including athlete''s foot and lesions in the mouth and vagina. More serious diseases such as chicken pox and small pox have been treated with Neem tree pastes; and even people suffering from herpes and hepatitis B viruses have obtained relief from Neem tree preparations.
The Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica A. juss) and its derivatives have great relevance in organic farming practices. This remarkable tree has been identified as a renewable resource for home grown agro-chemicals and nutrients which are bio - degradable, non-toxic and effective.
Using neem derivatives for managing pests is a non-violent approach to controlling pests. Neem products work by intervening at several stages of the insect''s life. They may not kill the pest instantaneously but incapacitate it in several ways. Neem very subtly employs effects such as repellence, feeding and ovipositional deterrence, growth inhibition, mating disruption, chemo-sterilization, etc. These are now considered far more desirable than a quick knock-down in integrated pest management programs as they reduce the risk of exposing pests'' natural enemies to poisoned food or starvation.
Neem twigs are used by millions of Indians as an antiseptic tooth brush. Its oil is used in the preparation of toothpaste and soap. Neem oil is known to be a potent spermicide and is considered to be 100% effective when applied intra-vaginally before intercourse. Intriguingly, it is also taken internally by ascetics who wish to abate their sexual desire. Neem oil is used as lamp oil, while the fruit pulp is useful in the manufacture of methane.
Neem has been used for centuries to treat problems of the skin and to prevent infection. Neem may reduce the pain, kill the bacteria that may cause infection, and aids in healing with reduced scarring.
Neem oil, which is extracted from the seed kernel is excellent for its healing properties and is used in creams, lotions and soaps. It is also known to have insect deterrent properties. In recent years the growth hormone regulating and anti-feedant properties of Neem oil have prompted a considerable amount of research. Neem oil is also an effective fungicide.