The Botanical Name for the Neem Tree is Azadirachta indica belonging to the family Meliaceae (Mahogany Family). It is a tropical evergreen tree. The bark, leaves, fruits and flowers of the Neem Tree are used for medicinal purposes and to make many beauty products. In India, the Neem Tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4000 years. The Neem Tree grows in tropical and sub-tropical climates and is native to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is respected and worshiped as a holy tree in India.
The Neem tree grows well in places that have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. They thrive very well in hot weather conditions. Tree is very adaptable. It can grow in any type of soil. They grow very well in well-drained deep and sandy soils. They can also grow in shallow rocky slopes where there is not much soil or water in acidic soils in areas where there is poor rainfall.The Neem Tree does not grow in water-logged or clay based soils. This tree can tolerate very high temperatures but cannot withstand temperatures below 4-degrees centigrade. The lifespan of the Tree is about 150-200 years.
Description of Neem Tree
The Neem Tree is evergreen and can reach heights of about 15 -30 m. The trunk of the Neem Tree is straight. The texture of the trunk is hard and scaly. It has wide spreading branches with dense clusters of leaves. During extreme dry conditions, the Neem Tree sheds all the leaves.The leaves of the Neem Tree are arranged in a comb-like structure called as the “pinnate” arrangement. The pinnate leaves are arranged opposite to each other on a long stalk. The leaves of the Tree are 20-30 cm long.
The flowers are found in large clusters called “inflorescence”. Each inflorescence bears about 150 -250 flowers. The individual flower itself is very small. They are white in color and have a strong fragrance.
The fruit of the Neem Tree is oval to round in shape and smooth just like the Olive fruit. This fruit is edible but bitter in taste. It has one elongated seed and rarely two to three seeds.
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- The bark, leaves, and seeds are used to make medicines.
- Neem leaves are used for intestinal worms, stomach upsets, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diabetes, gum disease, liver problems and eye disorders.They are also used to treat chicken pox and warts by directly applying a paste of the Neem leaves to the skin.
- Neem leaves have insecticidal properties and are used to store grains to prevent insects from eating the grains.
- The anti-bacterial properties of Neem help to fight against skin infections such as acne, psoriasis, scabies, eczema etc.
- The bark is used for malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases pain and fever.
- The flower is used to reduce bile secretion, controlling phlegm and treating intestinal worms.
- The fruit is used for hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, urinary tract disorders, diabetes and eye disorders.
- The seed and seed oil is used for leprosy and intestinal worms.
- The Neem oil extracted from trees is used in cosmetics and medicines.
- Neem extracts are used to make soaps, bath powder, shampoos, lotion and creams, toothpastes, skin purifiers, repellents and pet care products.
- Neem leaves are used to make Neem leaf capsules to increase immunity.
- The stem, root, bark, and fruit of the Neem Tree are used to make astringents and toothpastes.
- Neem is used as an insecticide in agriculture.
- Growing Neem Trees helps to bring back the acidic soil to the normal range. It also helps to improve the water holding capacity and nutrients of the soil.