Tips on Using Neem
The Neem tree exemplifies Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of economy of permanence and has much to offer in solving global, agricultural, environmental and public health problems. No other tree can match Neem’s usefulness. Neem rightfully belongs to the millions of ordinary Indians who learnt to put it to use, as it is this knowledge, passed down through generations, that has helped scientists discover Neem’s amazing potential. The commercial and industrial prospects of neem are unlimited and exciting. There is no other tree that touches the life and living of such a majority of the country’s population.
- Mix pure neem oil with Vaseline in the ratio of 1:5. This combination can be used for repelling insects including mosquitoes as well as for skin disorders, minor cuts, burns, wounds etc.
- For complete skin protection make a strong tea with neem leaves and add to the bath along with a little rose water.
- Boil 10 freshly cleaned neem leaves along with cotton with a liter of water for approx. 10 mins. Cool. Use as an eyewash in case of conjunctivitis, itching etc.
- For athletes’ foot and other foot problems, make a strong tea and soak feet.
- For dandruff and head lice: Massage neem oil mixed with coconut or olive oil into hair and leave for 1 hour. Shampoo. Repeat once weekly for 3 weeks or as long as problem persists.
- To treat a sore throat without antibiotics, gargle with neem leaf water (add 2 – 3 neem leaves to 300 ml water and cool) to which honey has been added.
- For acne, pimples, skin infections pure neem leaf powder mixed with water to the affected area.
- In case of sinusitis, use pure neem oil as nasal drops. Two drops morning and evening.
- Prevent breeding of mosquitoes by adding crushed neem seeds and neem oil to all breeding areas. Neem products ensure complete inhibition of egg laying for seven days.
- Add 30 ml of neem oil to 1 ltr of water. Mix well. Add 1 ml of teepol (liquid detergent) and spray immediately for plant protection. Do not store the mixture; make fresh formulation for each spray.
- Boil 40 – 50 neem leaves in 250 ml of water 20 mins. Cool, strain and refrigerate to use as a astringent.
- Chewing 2 – 3 neem leaves regularly helps purify the blood and in cases of hyperacidity and diabetes.
- To ward of mosquitoes, add 5 – 10% neem oil to any oil and light as a diya (lamp).
- Add shake dried neem leaves for preservation of food grains like rice, wheat, lentils etc. The leaves should be replaced every 2 – 3 months.
Store neem oil in a cool dark place, away from sunlight. In case neem oil solidifies due to low temperatures, put the bottle in warm water (below 95 degree F) to liquefy. Putting the bottle in very hot water may reduce the effectiveness of oil.
Neem Tree Components
Since ancient times, neem has been associated with healing in the sub-continent of India. A large number of medicinals, cosmetics, toiletries and pharmaceuticals are now based on neem derivatives because of it's unique properties.
Bark : Neem bark is cool, bitter, astringent, acrid and refrigerant. It is useful in tiredness, cough, fever, loss of appetite, worm infestation. It heals the wounds and is also used in vomiting, skin diseases and excessive thirst.
Leaves: According to Ayurveda, Neem leaves help in the treatment of vatik disorders (neuro muscular pains). Neem leaves are also reported to remove toxins, purify blood and prevent damage caused by free radical in the body by neutralising them. Neem leaves are reported to be beneficial in eye disorders and insect bite poisons. It treats Vatik Disorders ( neuroand muscular pains )
Fruits: Neem fruits are bitter, purgative, antihemorrhodial and anthelmintic in nature.
Flowers: Neem flowers are used in vitiated conditions of pitta ( balancing of the body heat ) and kapha ( cough formation ). They are astringent, anthelmintic and non-toxic.
Seeds: Neem seeds are also described as anthelminitic, antileprotic, antipoisonous and bitter in taste.
Oil: Neem oil derived from crushing the seeds is antidermatonic, a powerful anthelmintic and is bitter in taste. It has a wide spectrum of action and is highly medicinal in nature.
Mixture: Five parts of Neem tree ie. Bark, Root, Fruit, Flower and Leaves together are used in diseases of blood. It is also used in vitiated conditions of excess heat, itching, wound, burning sensation in body and skin diseases.
Following is a informal compilation of sime of the investigations done in Neem in recent past.
Neem leaves are now known to contain nimbin, nimbinene desacetylnimbinase, nimbandial, nimbolide and quercentin.
Neem leaves have shown potential in the following areas :
Studies indicate that tender leaves are effective in Parasitic infections.
A 10% aqueous extract of tender leaves has been found to posess anti-viral properties.
Studies on plasma clotting time using Russel's viper venom have proved that the leaf extract contains a clotting inhibitor. This justifies its use in the treatment of poisonous bites.
A total extract of Neem leaves has shown potential as a potent Hepatoprotective agent
Water extract of Neem leaves have shown significant antiulcer activity
Essential oil from fresh leaves has a mild fungicidal action
Neem leaf extract shows significant Anti-inflammatory effect
Neem leaf extract have shown reduction in the frequency and severity of stress-induced gastric mucosal lesions.
Intraperitoneal administration of Neem leaf, bark and seed extracts revealed immuno-stimulatory properties of Neem, which are responsible for their anti-HIV effect.
THE FRUIT & SEEDS
Azadirachtins from Neem seed kernel, are among more than a 100 compounds found in Neem. So far twelve azadirachtins have been identified, all the twelve have high level of biological activity.
It has been reported that a single low dose of azadirachtin immunized the kissing bug a transmitter of Chagas disease.
Azadirachtins have shown inhibition of larval, pupal and adult moults and of reproduction and fitness of both plant-feeding and aquatic larvae like mosquitoes.
Gedunin, contained in whole fruit has been shown to possess antimalarial activity.
Nimibidin found in neem bark is now known to be antipyretic and non-irritant, and it has found to be effective in treatment of skin diseases such as eczema, furunculosis, arsenical dermatitis, burn ulcers, Herpes labialis, scabies and seborrhaeic dermatitis.
It is also effective in the treatment of skin diseases of unknown origin, such as warts and dandruff.
Extracts of bark have potent diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Nimbidin and sodium nimbidinate contained in neem bark are reported to possess spermicidal activity.
Neem bark has shown anti-bacterial activity against various gram positive organisms