Friday, June 14, 2013

What Is Neem ??


        Neem leaf should get the attention it deserves.

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. The seeds, bark and leaves contain compounds with proven antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and anti-fungal uses. The earliest documentation of neem mentioned the fruit, seeds, oil, leaves, roots and bark for their advantageous medicinal properties, 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.
Over 75% of Ayurvedic remedies contain neem, usually in form of leaf (or extract), sometimes the bark/fruit/flowers, and almost never the oil. The leaf is the part of the neem plant that western medicine knows the most about. The majority of scientific studies were done with neem leaf or neem leaf extracts. Neem oil is neem seed oil, not neem leaf oil, as some people wrongly assume. It can be made safe for consumption, however, it really needs special knowledge and treatment before neem oil can be eaten. Neem leaves on the other hand, are considered safe to eat on a regular or daily basis, provided you aren't pregnant or trying to conceive. In the thousands of years that people across India have been taking neem there have never been any reports of negative side effects from leaves. Of course, you should still use common sense, as you should with any herbs. Start by trying a little to make sure you don't show any allergic reaction, and generally don't overdo it. As magical as all the medicinal properties sound, neem is not a magical cure all that will simply fix anything if you just take enough, but it can help with a lot, if taken sensibly.


Neem LeavesIn 2005 the Department of biochemistry at Annamalai University, published a research report, Medicinal properties of neem leaves. It is a compilation of existing scientific studies and clinical trials. It shows very impressively just how versatile the leaves are. Here is what it says about the benefits of neem leaves; "Neem leaf and its constituents have been demonstrated to exhibit immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antimutagenic and anticarcinogenic properties."
Here's some more information to help you better understand the benefits of neem, oil, leaves, etc.


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, and medicines.

Neem seed cake (residue of neem seeds after oil extraction) is 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.

Twigs of Neem are also used in India and Africa as toothbrushes. Nowadays toothpastes with neem extracts are also available commercially.

Neem Extracts (leaf and seed) have been found to be spermicidal and thus research is being conducted to use neem extracts for making contraceptives. Neem produces pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and fever reducing compounds that can aid in the healing of cuts, burns, earaches, sprains and headaches, as well as fevers.

 



Neem has anti-bacterial properties that help in fighting against skin infections such as acne, psoriasis, scabies, eczema, etc. Neem extracts also help in treating diabetes, AIDS, cancer, heart disease, herpes, allergies, ulcers, hepatitis and several other diseases.




Neem oil, leaves and neem extracts are used to manufacture health and beauty care products. Some of the products are soaps, bath powders, shampoos, lotions and creams, toothpastes, neem leaf capsules to increase immunity and as a skin purifier, insect repellents, and pet inceticides.
Neem extracts have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on food crops. It has been proven in various research studies that Neem is non-toxic to birds, beneficial insects or humans and protects crops from over 200 of the most costly pests. What a fantastic plant. Time to try some Neem products , and enjoy the many benefits of this aincent health giving plant. Good Luck...










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