Medicinal plants and herbs have been part of humanity since the dawn of civilization. Neem is a well-known medicinal plant used in India from time immemorial.
In India neem is known as margosa or Indian lilac. It is an evergreen tree and cultivated in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. Neem has been extensively used in ayurveda, unani and homoeopathic medicine and has become a cynosure of modern medicine. Neem is called sarvaroganivarani or reliever of sickness. The tree is regarded as ‘village dispensary’ in India.
The importance of the neem tree has been recognized by National Research Council (USA), which published a report in 1992 entitled ‘Neem – a tree for solving global problems’.
All parts of neem have medical value.
Some medicinal uses of neem as mentioned in ayurveda are:
The leaf is used for treating eye problem, leprosy, intestinal worms, epistaxis anorexia skin ulcers, and biliousness.
The bark of the tree is used as an analgesic, and used to treat fever.
Neem flower is useful in suppressing bile, treat intestinal worms and phlegm.
Fruit helps in relieving piles, eliminate intestinal worms, treat urinary disorder, epistaxis, expel phlegm, cure eye problems, diabetes, wounds and leprosy.
Neem twigs are used in the cure of cough, asthma, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, obstinate urinary disorder, and diabetes.
Gum obtained from the bark is a very effective for skin diseases like ringworms, wounds and ulcers, and scabies.
Pulp of the seed and neem oil are used in treating intestinal worms and leprosy.
A combination of the root, bark, leaf, flower and fruit is used in treating blood problems, bile afflictions, leprosy, itching, skin ulcer, urticaria etc.
A paste prepared with neem and turmeric was found to be effective in the treatment of scabies. In 97% of cases, the paste was found to cure scabies within 3–15 days of treatment without any adverse effect.
Dried neem leaves in the form of tea are used by the people of Nigeria and Haiti to treat malaria.
Application of neem oil on hair helps to kill head lice and cure dandruff.
Neem flowers help improve eyesight. For this purpose dry neem flowers are used, preferably 6 months to one year old. These flowers are fried lightly using ghee and then taken internally.
Thus the neem’s role in providing a cheaper, safe solution to modern day diseases is unsurpassed. No wonder it is called “arishta” in Ayurveda which means “reliever of sickness”.
Shaiju Joseph is an Ayurveda enthusiast who collects information on alternative systems from various sources. For more information on Ayurvedic home remedies, visit ayurvedichomeremedies.blogspot.com/