As a kid I often saw my grandfather chew twigs of Neem, I was pretty fascinated, tried doing the same…And seriously I cannot tell you the olfactory experience I went through!!
It was puke-inducing! Gross!
All that my mom tells me today is that I made a face as if I had been ducked in pool of faeces for a good number of seconds!
Okay, I know it sounds a tad exaggerated but then again I had to share the experience as explicitly as possible…Anyway…getting back, but one thing I surely remember nicely…till he breathed his last, he had teeth stronger than what they in toothpaste commercials.
But, with this story, don’t think I am simply trying to focus on the dental aspect of Neem, there is much more to this amazing medicinal herb than just the maintenance of dental health,
The Neem tree (Azadirachta indica) is a tropical evergreen tree native to India and is also found in other southeast countries. In India, neem is known as “the village pharmacy” because of its healing versatility, and it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years due to its medicinal properties. Neem is also called ‘arista’ in Sanskrit- a word that means ‘perfect, complete and imperishable’. The seeds, bark and leaves contain compounds with proven uses namely…
The Sanskrit name ‘nimba’ comes from the term ‘nimbati syasthyamdadati’ which means ‘to give good health’.
The earliest documentation of neem mentioned the fruit, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark for their advantageous medicinal properties. These benefits are listed in the ancient documents ‘Carak- Samhita’ and ‘Susruta-Samhita’, the books at the foundation of the Indian system of natural treatment, Ayurveda. Neem has a garlic-like odor, and a bitter taste. The various parts of this tree have many uses that aptly give neem its name in Sanskrit-“sarva roga nivarini”, meaning ‘the curer of all ailments’. Some of the most important documented uses of various parts of the neem tree are:
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree and has insecticidal and medicinal properties due to which it has been used for thousands of years in pest control, cosmetics, medicines, etc. Please see neem oil & its uses for detailed information.
Neem seed cake (residue of neem seeds after oil extraction) when used for soil amendment or added to soil, not only enriches the soil with organic matter but also lowers nitrogen losses by inhibiting nitrification. It also works as a nematicide.
Neem leaves are used to treat chickenpox and warts by directly applying to the skin in a paste form or by bathing in water with neem leaves. In order to increase immunity of the body, neem leaves are also taken internally in the form of neem capsules or made into a tea. The tea is traditionally taken internally to reduce fever caused by malaria. This tea is extremely bitter. It is also used to soak feet for treating various foot fungi. It has also been reported to work against termites. In Ayurveda, neem leaves are used in curing neuromuscular pains. Neem leaves are also used in storage of grains.
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