As we all are very familiar with neem trees, neem is a natural herb that comes from the neem tree (Azadirachta indica) but is commonly known as neem, nimtree, or Indian lilac. Neem has its medicinal, religious themed traditional value as well. It is generally grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Its fruit is used as a source of neem oil. Every part of the neem plant has its value, importance, and uses. It has a bitter taste so it kills numerous germs and bacteria.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY :
Neem is believed to have originated from the Indian sub-continent and to dry areas all over south Asia. It is also found in some parts of Africa and Central America. Neem has immense usefulness in ayurvedic, cosmetic as well as organic farming sectors.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION :
The Azadirachta indica (neem) belongs to the family Meliaceae( mahogany) of the kingdom Plantae of order Sapindales. It is one of the fastest-growing perennial trees of height 15-30 meters. It possesses attractive rounded crowns like structure and thick furrowed bark. It has a compound green leaf with reticulate type venation which is characterized by broad leaves. Neem consists of small white fragrant flowers which are arranged in clusters more or less dropping axillary panicles up to 25 cm long with smooth yellow-green drupe and have a sweet flavored pulp. The flower is bisexual. Neem is usually grown from seed but can be propagated from cuttings or root suckers. Neem is drought resistant and grows in areas with arid conditions and low annual rainfall. It can resist heat but cannot tolerate temperature below 5°c so it is typically found in the Terai region of our country.
USEFUL ADVANTAGES OF NEEM :
Almost all the parts of the neem tree are equally useful and beneficial to humans. It has a wide range of coverage in various sectors like ayurvedic, cosmetic, and traditional. It also provides shade. Some people apply neem directly to the skin to treat lice as well as a mosquito repellent.
- Medicinal use:
Since it is solely a medicinal plant that is used to treat various types of diseases. It is one of the chief components of the ayurvedic field. Its leaf is used to treat diseases such as leprosy, eye disorder, intestinal worms, stomach ache, loss of appetite, skin diseases, diseases of heart and blood vessels, diabetes, gum problems as well as liver problems. The bark of neem is used to treat malaria, stomach, intestinal ulcers, skin problems, pain, and fever. The flower is used to reduce excessive bile production and control phlegm. The fruit is used to control hemorrhoids, urinary tract disorder, bloody nose, wounds, and leprosy. Its towing is also used to cure cough, asthma as well as low sperm production in the male. Usually, the people of the Terai region use neem twigs instead of toothbrushes to clean their teeth by chewing it, as it cures gum disease and keeps our mouth healthy. It whitens and brightens our teeth so people dry the twigs for further use. That’s why toothpaste companies also use neem as their constituent ingredient.
- Cosmetic use:
Nowadays cosmetics have become one of the essential needs of the modern generation. As neem oil contains fatty acid, antioxidants, and antimicrobial compounds which is beneficial to our skin in different ways. Different research has found that these compounds help to fight against skin infection, promote wound healing, combat signs of skin aging as well as whitening and brightening skin. Different brands like Himalayan, Patanjali uses neem as their chief component in products like cream, face wash, cleansing milk, and facial kits. Many people use neem leaf paste as a face pack for glowing skin as it fights against acne, skin dullness, and wrinkles. The use of neem also moisturizes the skin and prevents water loss. There are various neem soaps available in the market which are getting positive feedback from customers.
- Religious value:
According to our Hindu mythology, the neem tree originated from a drop of Amrita and sprinkled into the earth by divine God. Neem is also regarded as mother goddess Durga and deified as Neemari Devi. It plays an important role in the region’s religious tradition as well as the ayurvedic healing system and is said to be the creation of evil demons and protect people from them by weakening the insect’s life pattern. Since it provides fresh air and has antibacterial properties. Neem is planted in front of houses in the Terai region and worshiped.
- Agricultural uses:
Neem is a natural soil conditioner that helps improve the quality of soil, thereby enhancing the growth of plants and fruits. Organic soil conditioners are getting popular in the agricultural industry. It is used as natural soil fertilizer for cash crops. When the neem cake is ploughed into the soil cake it provides them with various nutrients. Neem-based insecticides and pesticides do not leave any residue on plants and are environment friendly. It is nontoxic and it caIt is non-toxic and it can be used in combination with other pesticides and oil for more effectiveness. It is a useful and organic way of controlling insects, pests, and mites.
- Contraceptive use:
Neem can be used as a natural population controlling factor in the era of population growth. The neem leaf or oil extracted from the neem plant can be used to avoid pregnancy because of its extremely powerful and high spermicidal properties. If women are injected with even a little amount of neem oil at a point where the fallopian tube meets the uterus, which causes a blockage which is reversible.
Besides these, neem is known as a powerful immune-stimulant and that’s what makes it ideal to have in the current time when the entire world is under threat of novel coronavirus infection, it can help us ineffective fight against coronavirus boosting immune function and help recover fast.
DISADVANTAGES OF NEEM :
Everything has its own usefulness and harmfulness, similarly, if neem, when taken wrongly or in excess amounts, causes disadvantage to the human body directly or indirectly. Although it has enormous usefulness, it has some drawbacks which are given below:
- Neem oil and neem bark are unsafe when taken to the mouth during pregnancy can cause miscarriage.
- Neem oil is harmful to children and infants as it causes vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, coma, brain disorder, and sometimes leads to death.
- Some people might have an allergy to neem which results in inflammation of the applied area and mostly the face region.
- Neem causes the immune system to become more active than normal which could result in the symptom of auto-immune diseases.
- It can be harmful to organ transplanted people.
- Over consumption of neem can cause problems in the fertility of men.
- Neem taken for a long period of time might harm the liver and kidney.
In conclusion, I would like to recommend planting neem trees in houses to get fresh air which contains an adequate amount of oxygen and purify the air as well. It has more advantages if used in the proper manner than disadvantages. Please plant trees and go green 🌳