In India, the tree is variously known as "Divine Tree," "Heal All," "Nature's Drugstore," "Village Pharmacy" and "Panacea for all diseases." Products made from neem have proven medicinal properties, being anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fertility, and sedative. It is considered a major component in Ayurvedic medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin disease.
- All parts of the tree (seeds, leaves, flowers and bark) are used for preparing many different medical preparations.
- Neem oil is used for preparing cosmetics (soap, shampoo, balms and creams), and is useful for skin care such as acne treatment, and keeping skin elasticity. Neem oil has been found to be an effective mosquito repellent.
- Neem derivates neutralize nearly 500 pests worldwide, including insects, mites, ticks, and nematodes, by affecting their behavior and physiology. Neem does not normally kill pests right away, rather it repels them and affects their growth. As neem products are cheap and non-toxic to higher animals and most beneficial insects, it is well-suited for pest control in rural areas.
- Besides its use in traditional Indian medicine the neem tree is of great importance for its anti-desertification properties and possibly as a good carbon dioxide sink.
- Practitioners of traditional Indian medicine recommend that patients suffering from chicken pox sleep on neem leaves.
- Neem gum is used as a bulking agent and for the preparation of special purpose food (those for diabetics).
- Aqueous extracts of neem leaves have demonstrated significant ant diabetic potential.
- Traditionally, teeth cleaning was conducted by the chewing of slender neem branches. Neem twigs are still collected and sold in markets for this use, and one often sees youngsters in the streets chewing on neem twigs.
- A decoction prepared from neem roots is ingested to relieve fever in traditional Indian medicine.
- Neem leaf paste is applied to the skin to treat acne.
- Neem blossoms are used in Andhra Pradesh to prepare "Ugadi pacchadi.
Extract of neem leaves is thought to be helpful as malaria prophylaxis despite the fact that no comprehensive clinical studies are yet available. Private initiatives in Senegal were successful in several cases to prevent malaria . However, major NGOs such as USAID are not supposed to use neem tree extracts unless the medical benefit has been proved with clinical studies.
Neem FlowersThe flowers of the neem plant have a lovely, sweet, honey-like smell. It is quite intense, noticeable from a distance, but never overpowering. Bees love neem flowers and neem honey is popular. The flower oil is also used in aromatherapy and has a calming and restorative effect.