Neem Tree Health Benefits
Azadirachta indica or neem as it is commonly called, is often referred to as a village dispensary and leads the herbs, for natural home remedies in India. It has phenomenal health benefits and medicinal uses. All parts of the tree – seeds, leaves, flowers and the bark have medicinal properties. The neem tree is a tall evergreen tree, with small white flowers and oval thin skinned light green fruits. It can tolerate very high temperatures and also thrives in drought prone areas. It is fairly dense, with widely spread branches. Neem leaves when dried and burned is known to keep mosquitoes and flies away. Neem oil is made from the fruits and seeds.
Botanical name – Azadirachta indica, family – Meliaceae
Sanskrit – Nimba
Tamil – Vembu
Hindi – Neem
English – Margosa, Neem, Indian Lilac
Health benefits of Neem
Every part of the neem tree has antiseptic qualities. The bark is astringent and the compound nimbidin found in the bark is found to be effective in the treatment of various skin diseases. Extracts of the bark have anti-inflammatory and spermicidal activities. It is useful for cough, fever, loss of apetite, worm infection and skin diseases. The neem leaves are said to remove toxins, purify blood, and cure eye disorders and insect bites. Azadirachtins is a compound found in the neem seed kernel. It has been reported that this compound immunizes the kissing bug which is a transmitter of the Chagas disease. Gedunin, a compound found in the fruit is said to possess antimalarial properties. Flowers are used to treat worms, and is also used to balance body heat and to treat cough.
Neem Health benefits for diabetes
The neem leaf is known to stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin, thus lowering blood sugar. Chewing a few neem leaves regularly benefits people with diabetes.
Neem is a blood purifier
The blood purifying, anti bacterial and anti fungal properties of neem are useful in skin disorders . It is useful as a tonic and astringent that promotes wound healing.
Neem has detoxifying benefits
The neem has detoxifying benefits that help maintain a healthy circulatory, digestive, respiratory and urinary system. It helps in fighting intestinal worms and also detoxifies the liver.
Neem health benefits for arthritis
Tradionally, neem has been recommended for reducing arthritic pain and inflammation of the joints and also to halt the progress of the disease.
Neem health benefits for immune system
Scientific studies show that the neem boosts the immune system by energising lymphocyte cells to respond to infection and any other problems that may affect the body’s immunity.
Neem health benefits for skin infections
Due to its anti-bacterial properties, it is very effective in fighting most epidermal dysfunctions like eczema, psoriasis and even acne. Oils prepared from the leaves and seeds are used to treat leprosy, ringworm and scabies. It is also used to treat chicken pox in India.
Home remedies with neem
- For malarial fever a decoction of 2 tbsp pounded bark, 2 tbsp of pounded coriander seeds and a tsp of cardamom should be boiled in 2 cups of water and simmered for half an hour. About 4 tsps can be taken thrice a day with honey or sugar.
- For ulcers in the mouth, a tsp of roasted pounded neem bark mixed with half a tsp of catechu can be applied. This generates saliva in the mouth, which should not be swallowed. Later, gargle with warm water 3-4 times a day.
- Neem makes an excellent home remedy for dandruff. Massage neem oil mixed with coconut oil into your hair and leave for an hour. Shampoo and repeat once a week.
- One can treat a sore throat by gargling the water in which neem leaf has been boiled and to which honey has been added.
- Neem twigs and leaves are used to brush the teeth in villages to keep the gums free of disease and infection.
- Grind 2-3 neem leaves with 3-4 peppercorns. Mix this and sip slowly for cholera as they both have anti microbial properties.
- For intestinal worms, take a tbsp of dried neem flowers, fry them in clarified butter and have it with boiled rice for 3-4 days. A tsp of neem powder with milk or hot water, taken twice a day is also good to remove intestinal worms.
- Body massage with warm neem oil 2-3 times a week is an effective remedy for rheumatoid pains.
- For nappy rash, boil neem leaves in 2-3 litres of water. Allow it to cool, then filter. Use this to wash baby’s bottom.
- For boils, neem heads the list in natural home remedies. Grind fresh, tender leaves to a fine paste and apply on the boil daily.
- For scabies, make a paste of neem leaves with an equal quantity of turmeric powder mixed with mustard oil. Apply and bathe after an hour. Do this till all the lesions have healed.
- For fungal infections, bathe in water in which a handful of neem leaves have been boiled.
- For acne, neem leaf juice can be applied. Neem acts on micro-organisms that attack the skin. The pulp of neem fruit mixed with milk can also be applied.
Neem Flower Rasam Recipe
The Neem flowers have a very nice fragrance. Neem Flowers are usually used to treat intestinal worms, nausea and belching. The flowers also used to treat skin problems. The Neem flower rasam is very easy to make
- A small lemon sized tamrind Soaked in water for 1 hour
- 2 red chillies
- A tbsp of curry leaves
- 1 tsp mustard
- A pinch of asafoetida
- 1 tsp ghee
- 1 tsp pepper crushed
- 1 tsp cumin crushed
- Salt to taste
Extract the juice from the tamarind. In a pan, add the ghee, then add the mustard seeds, when the mustard seeds splutter, add the red chillies, curry leaves and Neem flower and roast for a minute. Add asafoetida and the tamarind water to the pan along with crushed pepper and cumin and salt. Put off the stove as soon as it comes to a boil. Serve with rice or drink as a soup