Neem is a native tree of India, a tropical tree especially suited to semi-arid conditions. It is now grown in many Asian countries and in the tropical regions of the western hemisphere. Neem is considered to be part of India’s genetic bio-diversity. It is a medium large tree having short, straight bole, furrowed, dark brown to gray bark, and dense rounded crown of pinnate leaves. Various parts of the neem tree have been used as traditional ayurvedic medicine in India from time immemorial.
The medicinal utilities have been described, especially for leaf, fruit and bark. Neem oil and the bark and leaf extracts have been therapeutically used as folk medicine to control leprosy, intestinal helminthiasis, respiratory disorders, and constipation and also as a general health promoter. Its use for the treatment of rheumatism, chronic syphilitic sores and indolent ulcer has also been evidence. Neem oil finds use to control various skin infections. Bark, leaf, root, flower and fruit together cure blood morbidity, biliary afflictions, itching, skin ulcers, burning sensations and pthysis.
The termite resistant neem timber is used as a building material and in making furniture and farm implements. The bark yields tannin and gum. The amber-hued gum is used as a dye in textiles and traditional medicines. Leaves are used as fodder and green manure. Neem derivatives such as Azadirachtin, nimbicidin and a host of other compounds are now used in medicines and commercial pesticides. Many bioactive ingredients have been identified and isolated, the most important ones being azadirachtin and meliantriol. Neem powder is highly anti-bacterial, and the leaves have been used for centuries to make anti-bacterial washes and poultices. Add neem powder to cosmetic clays to make a face pack or body wrap that is suitable for acne prone skin. Add neem powder to salt scrubs for skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Make a tea infusion with neem powder, and use the infusion in a bath to treat chicken pox or oozing skin eruptions. Use it for anti-bacterial cleansing after working in the soil. Neem powder works well as a hair oil treatment for scalp conditions.