Neem, your ‘bittersweet’ friend in summer

(Azadiracta indica)

Ayurvedic Herb ShatavariNeem is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicines and remedies since thousands of years. Its bark, gum, flower, leaves, seeds and seed oil are used for various medicinal purposes.

Use of Neem originated in ancient India and neighboring countries, where it has long been revered as one of the most versatile plants known. Even today, the Neem tree is esteemed as the “Village Dispensary” or “Nature’s pharmacy”

Neem is a fast-growing, evergreen tree well known for its drought resistance. The neem tree matures into a large shade tree with a dense, round canopy and can live for 150-200 years. It is fast-growing tree that needs very little water.

Botanical Name : Azadiracta indica
Sanskrit -- Pichumarda, Sarvatibhadra, Subhadra, Prabhadra, Sutikta, Tiktaka
English -- Margosa tree or Neem tree

Family : Nimba kula [Meliaceae]

Energetic Principles -

Effect on the Doshas: Vata: +ve Pitta: -ve Kapha: -ve

Rasa (Taste) : Bitter, pungent, astringent.

Virya (Energy): shita (cold)

Vipak (Post-Digestive Action): Katu

Parts Used : Flowers, leaves, bark, seeds and oil.

Neem Properties :

  • Sheet (imparts cooling effect)
  • Laghu (quickly Digested)
  • Grahi(absorbs moisture)
  • Agnikrut
  • Vatakrut
  • Arhidya (not so good for heart).
  • Jwarahara
  • Krimihara
  • Kushtahara
  • Mehanut(Useful in diabetes)

Neem Medicinal Uses

Local -
Decoction of the bark is used for dressing infected wounds. Neem oil cleans the wounds and removes pus. Being bactericidal leaves should be used for fumigation of wounds as well as of the atmosphere. Decoction is used for gargling in dental caries.

Use of Neem in various diseases -

Parasites - It eliminates parasite infestation on the skin as well as from intestines. This should be given with asafetida, vidanga, and ajamoda.
Fever -
These substances being katu-tikta, they eliminate aggravated Fever - Nimba acts as ama detoxifying agent and hence is useful in all recently developed fevers.
Diseases of Pitta aggravation – Neem acts as the best Pitta pacifier and hence can be used in many Pitta aggravating diseases like bleeding disorders, jaundice, burning etc.
Skin diseases – It has excellent kleda( Micro wastes) purifying action and hence is useful in all skin diseases where Pitta and Kapha are aggravated. Neem can be used in all these diseases as locally as well as for internal use. For the same reason it is useful in diabetes mellitus also.

Neem Dose - Powder- 1 to 3 gms. Juice of the leaves - 10 to 20 ml with honey.Oil - 5 to 10 drops.

Medicinal Preparations of Neem - Nimbadichurna, Nimba-gandhakachurna,Nimba-haridrakhanda, Vranashodhana oil.

Neem side effects -
Since it can lower blood glucose levels, as a general rule, if you are fasting, it is better to avoid oral intake of neem.
People with diabetes should use neem only under medical supervision, with constant blood glucose level monitoring. This is because, neem can reduce blood sugar.
If a diabetic person is already taking medications for the same, consuming neem along with it may cause very low blood sugar. It is better to take the advice of your doctor before using neem during childhood, pregnancy or lactation.
If you are using neem oil for hair, (as in case of dandruff), while washing off the oil, it may cause burning sensation to the eyes.

Neem Research-
The spermicidal activity of nimbidin and nimbin 1) was reported in rats and human as early as 1959 (refs 28, 29).
Nimbidin also demonstrated antifungal activity by inhibiting the growth of Tinea rubrum. In vitro, it can completely inhibit the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and was also found to be bactericidal.
Nimbolide has been shown to exert anti-malarial activity by inhibiting the growth of Plasmodium falciparum.It is inhibitory to the development of malarial parasites.
Neem lotion is highly effective on Scabies, eczema, Fungal infections of skin, furunculosis various types of Dermatitis, herpes etc.Neem Leaf extract kills roundworms.
A 2014 study in the journal Leukemia and Lymphoma examined neem leaf extract in treating chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and concluded it “demonstrates clinical efficacy, warranting further investigation as a potential therapy”.
Extract from the bark of the neem tree may help treat and reduce the spread of Coronavirus, according to a new study by scientists at the University of Colorado in the US and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.


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