Sweet itch horses
The neem tree
NEEM TREE (Azadirachta indica)
Common Names: Neem, Nimba, Margosa.
Neem is an evergreen tree belonging to the mahogany family Meliaceae.
It is native to India and Asia. It grows in tropical and semi-tropical
regions and reaches a hight of 15-20 m, rarely 35-40 m. The flowers (white
and fragrant) attract honeybees that produce a honey with a pleasant
taste. The fruit looks a bit like an olive and is dark green. The inner is
white and hard and shells a seed (kernel).
In East Africa, it is known as Mwarobaini, which means the tree of the
40 as it is said to treat 40 different diseases. In India, the tree is
variously known as "Divine Tree", "Heal All",
"Nature's Drugstore", "Village Pharmacy" and
"Panacea for all diseases". Early research on Neem oil started
in the 1920's in India and has continued ever since by many researchers
all over the world studying various aspects of Neem and its products.
Properities and uses of Neem
All parts of the Neem tree (seeds, leaves, flowers and bark) are used
for different purposes. Neem is known to have antibacterial, antiviral,
antifungal, antiseptic and anti-parasitic properties. The oil has
moisturizing and regenerative properties, it contains Vitamin E and
essential fatty acids.
Some of the uses of Neem include:
- Preparation of insecticides
- Medical preparations
- Cosmetics and skin care
- The wood for furniture or as combustible
- Neem twigs for cleaning teeth and as tooth picks.
Neem oil and Azadirachtin
Neem oil has been used since centuries by farmers in India as an
insecticide. Azadirachtin is extracted from the seeds, it is a chemical
compound belonging to the limonoids. It is known to affect over 200
species of insects, by acting mainly as a repellent and as antifeedant and
growth disruptor. Many more compounds related to Azadirachtin are present
in the seeds as well as in the leaves and the bark which also show strong
Organic farming and household pesticide
Formulations made of Neem oil are also used as a bio-pesticide for
organic farming, as it repels a wide variety of pests including the mealy
bug, beet armyworm, aphids, the cabbage worm, nematodes and the Japanese
beetle. Neem oil also controls black spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose and
It can be used as a household pesticide against ants, bedbugs cockroaches,
houseflies, sand flies, snails, termites and mosquitoes both as repellent
and larvicide (Puri, 1999).
Neem fulfils many of the criteria needed for a natural insecticide
being biodegradable and environmentally sound. Neem Oil is known to be
harmless to beneficial insects such as honeybees and ladybugs as well as
to birds, mammals and other vertebrates.
Traditional Ayurvedic medicine
Neem has a long history of human use in India and surrounding regions
for a variety of therapeutic purposes. Traditional Ayurvedic uses of Neem
include the treatment of fever, leprosy, malaria, ophthalmia and
tuberculosis. Various folk remedies for Neem include use as an
anthelmintic, antifeedant, antiseptic, diuretic, emmenagogue,
contraceptive, febrifuge, parasiticide, pediculocide and insecticide. It
has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of tetanus,
urticaria, eczema, scrofula and erysipelas. Traditional routes of
administration of Neem extracts included oral, vaginal and topical use.
More information about Neem and its uses as well as research reports
can be found on internet, some of them can be found through links
on our home page.