Essay on The Neem Tree: The Village Pharmacy

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The Neem Tree: The Village Pharmacy The neem tree Azadirachta indica A. Juss. (=Melia azadirachta L. and Melia indica Brandis) is known as the Indian lilac or Margosa (Koul, 1990). Neem is a large evergreen tree with a wide trunk, which can grow 12-24 meters tall. The leaves are bright green with 9-15 leaves, oblique at the base or slightly curved, coarsely toothed, with a pointed tip Shodini, 1997). In India, neem flowers from January to April, and fruits mature from May to August (Koul, 1990). The one-seeded neem fruits are yellow when ripe, and are about one inch long (Shodini, 1997). neem is native to the and regions of the Indian subcontinent, was introduced into Africa, and is presently grown in many Asian countries, as well as…show more content…
Neem was used in every stage of life throughout India, and is still used today for its many beneficial qualities. Starting from birth, the Sarira Sthanam recommended that newborn infants be anointed with herbs and oil, laid on a silken sheet and fanned with neem tree branches. The child was given small doses of neem oil when ill, bathed with neem tea to treat cuts, rashes, and chicken pox. neem twigs were used as toothbrushes to prevent gum diseases and tooth caries. Wedding ceremonies included neem leaves placed on the floor of the temple, and neem branches for fans. neem oil was used in small lamps for lighting. Neem wood was used for cooking fuel and for making the roof of the house. Grains and beans were stored in containers with neem leaves to keep out insects. At the time of death, neem branches were used to cover the body and neem wood was burned in the funeral pyre (Conrick). In the Indian book about healing plants for women, called "Touch Me, Touch-me-not: Women, Plants and Healing," the author describes the role of neem for the village folk of India. Shodini describes neem as an all-purpose medicine and as a tree used in some form of goddess worship. Neem leaves were used in the earliest societies in India to exorcise the spirits of the dead. Branches of neem were placed in households because it was believed that the goddess lived

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