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Home :: Neem

Neem Tree | Neem Oil

Scientific Name(S): Azadirachta indica A. Juss. Formerly known as Melia azadirachta L. Family: Meliaceae. Often confused with Melia azedarach L. (the chinaberry or Persian lilac).

Common Name(S): Neem, margosa, nim, nimba

Neem there is perhaps no other herb known to man that has so many and varied potential benefits for humanity. Neem has been used for thousands of years and has been widely documented in the ancient herbal healing science of India, Ayurveda. But the value of

The neem tree could have been designed by a celestial committee (maybe it was). A collaboration of genetic engineers, chemical engineers, pharmacists, agronomists, and dieticians could not have produced a more interesting, and some say, valuable, plant.

One of the most powerful blood purifiers and detoxifiers in Ayurvedic usage, Neem is often used to maintain healthy skin.

Botany:The neem is a large evergreen tree that grows to 18 meters in height. The spreading branches of this tree form a broad crown. The plant is found commonly throughout India and the neighboring region, where it is often cultivated commercially.

History: Almost every part of the neem tree is used in traditional medicine in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Indochina, Java and Thailand. The stem, root bark and young fruits are used as a tonic and astringent and the bark has been used to treat malaria and cutaneous diseases. The tender leaves have been used in the treatment of worm infections, ulcers, cardiovascular diseases and for their pesticidal and insectrepellent actions. The tree yields a high quality timber and a commercial gum.

Benefits & Uses of Neem Oil

Neem has been used as an insecticide, insect repellent, oral dentifrice, and traditional medicine to treat malaria, diabetes, worms, and cardiovascular and skin diseases. It reportedly has contraceptive potential.

Culinary use

The tender shoots of the neem tree are eaten as a vegetable in India and parts of mainland Southeast Asia , particularly in Cambodia (where it is known as sadao or sdao ), Laos (where it is called kadao ) and Vietnam (where it is called s?u dâu ). Even lightly cooked, the flavor is quite bitter and thus the food is not enjoyed by all inhabitants of these nations, though it is believed to be quite healthful.

Side Effects of Neem

It is toxic in large doses. In infants, it can produce symptoms like those of Reye's syndrome.

Toxicology: Neem oil is nonmutagenic in the Ames mutagenicity assay. Neem oil has traditionally been considered to be a relatively safe product in adults. The LD50 of neem oil is 14 ml/kg in rats and 24 ml/kg in rabbits. In rats, a dose of up to 80 ml/kg caused stupor, respiratory distress, depression of activity, diarrhea, convulsions and death. Gross examination of all organs except the lungs was normal after acute dosing.

The seeds of neem, which are poisonous in large doses, resemble the more toxic drupes of M. azadarach and are sometimes confused. Severe poisoning in 13 infants who had received 5 ml to 30 ml doses of margosa (neem) oil has been reported. Toxicity was characterized by metabolic acidosis, drowsiness, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma and death in two infants. These infants exhibited Reye's syndrome-like symptoms, with death from hepatoencephalopathy. Neem oil administered to mice can induce mitochrondrial injury, resulting in similar hepatic damage. The toxin has not been identified, but may be a long-chain monounsaturated free acid, to which infants and small children are particularly vulnerable.

Summary: Neem oil has been used in traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years, practically as a panacea. The oil and its extracts are insecticidal, can reduce blood sugar levels and may be the source of a contraceptive substance. Although the oil has not been generally associated with toxicity in adults, its use has resulted in Reye's syndrome-like symptoms and mortality in infants.

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