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The Neem Tree: The Village Pharmacy Essay

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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 tropical areas of the New World (Koul, 1990).

Neem trees are fast growers, and in three years may grow to 20 feet in height from seed planting. It will grow where rainfall is only 18 inches per year and it thrives in areas of extreme heat up to 120 degrees. Neem trees can live up to 200 years (Conrick).

The neem tree's history goes back a long way, with indications it was used in medical treatments about 4,500 years ago. There is evidence found from excavations at Harappa. and Mohenjo-Daro in Northwestern and western India, in which several therapeutic compounds including neem leaves, were gathered in the ruins (Conrick).

India's ancient books of knowledge are called the Vedas. Some of the most ancient surviving documents that have been translated, are the Caraka-Samhita (about 500 BC), and the Susruta Samhita (about 300 AD). These books are the foundations of the Indian system of natural healing, or Ayurveda. These texts mention neem in almost 100 entries for treating many diseases whi...


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...Association. http://www.ajtsc.coni/neemtree.htm

Koul, Opender, et. al. 1990. Properties and uses of neem Azadirachta indica. Canadian Journal of Botany. v68. National Research Council of Canada.

McCaleb, Rob. The Original neem Co. neem Ancient Herb From India. http://www.neemaura.com/.

Randhawa, 1997. Cyber India Foundation. http://www.neemfoundation.org/

Sharma, Priya Vrat. 1996. Classical Uses of Medicinal Plants. Chaukbambha Visvabharati. Varanasi 1, India.

Sharma, S.B. 1997. ( Book Review) The neem Tree Azadirachta indica A. Juss. and Other Meliaceous Plants: Sources of Unique Natural Products for Integrated Pest management, Medicine, Industry and Other Purposes. International Journal of Nematological Research. E.J. Brill Leiden, The Netherlands.

Shodini. 1997. Touch Me, Touch-me-not: Women, Plants and Healing. Kali for Women. New Delhi, India.


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