Nimba, commonly known as Nimbi in Ayurvedic scriptures has found its place in Purana, Gautam Parashara, Vishnu Dharma Sutra and Agni Purana. Neem is known as Limbdo in Gujarati, Kadunimb in Marathi, Vembu/Vempu in Tamil, Veppu in Malayalam, Margosa in English, and Azadirachta Indica, or Melia Azadirachta in Latin.
Neem is considered as the most auspicious plant after Tulsi (Basil), Papal and Awla plant. It is commonly found everywhere in India. Its popularity has increased in the last decade because of its medicinal use. Before knowing its medicinal use, one needs to know its pharmacological properties also.
Other then sodium, potassium, salts, it contains chloriphyle, calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflasium, nicocin, vitamin C, carotene, and oxalic acid. It has a characteristic chemical group namely TRITERPENOIDS which forms the basis for its therapeutic value. Other chemicals that form its therapeutic value are:
2. Terpenoids and steroids
4. Fatty acid derivatives like margosinone and margosinolone
5. Coumarins like scopoletin, dihydrosocoumarins
6. Hydrocarbons like docosane, pentacosane, hetacosane, octacosane etc.
7. Sulphur compounds
Medicinal uses of Neem (Margosa):
1. According to Ayurveda, it is useful in treating all sorts of Pitta, Kapha and Vatic disorders. It should be consumed early in morning on empty stomach for 15 days during the end of winter till the starting of summer season. This prevents most of the diseases through out the year.
2. In malaria: 1 to 3 grams of Neem leaves powder thrice daily with warm water is effective. 10 gm of Neem bark powder should be boiled in one glass of water to make it one fourth and be used as decoction during illness.
3. In typhoid: Doses are same as above. In addition it helps in regulating bowel movements in cases of typhoid.
4. Digestive disorders: Digestive system comprises of mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, liver, pancreas, gall bladder, small and large intestine. Impairment in the physiological functions of these organs leads to digestive disorders. The acrid, astringent, stomachic action of Neem helps to cure these disorders.
5. Diarrheas and dysentery: One teaspoon full of Neem juice with sugar thrice a day regulates bowel moments and also helps in curing traveler’s diarrhea.
6. Hyperacidity: Ingestion of 2 to 5 Neem leaves with vegetable preparations for few days relieves nausea. 10 grams of Neem bark powder is boiled with 1 cup of plain water and reduced to one fourth. This strained decoction when given cures hyperacidity and nausea.
7. Constipation: 2 to 3 grams of Neem powder with 2 to 4 black pepper given thrice daily acts as laxative and demulcent. Hence, recommended in cases of constipation.
8. Worm infestation: Hookworms, round worms, tape worms are all intestinal worms and such worms infestation often presents with symptoms like itching, weight loss and abdominal pain. 1 gm of Neem leaves powder with Jaggery for 15 days helps in curing all sorts of worm infestation completely because of its anti-helmenthic actions.
9. Burning sensation of foot: One teaspoon of Neem leaves juice along with sugar twice daily brings about cooling effect in body thereby reducing burning effect in foot.
10. Hepatitis: Neem is anti-pruritic, thermogenic, tonic, stomachic and abdominal movement controller. 2 teaspoon of Neem leaves juice with honey is indicated to accelerate the process of cure.
11. Spleenomegaly: In this condition spleen gets enlarged and produces pressure effects by pressuring bladder and colon. 3 spoons of Neem juice with honey helps in curing faster.
12. Respiratory disorder: Decoction of Neem bark is used as anti-tussive in dry cough. Dried Neem leaves powder given daily in 1 gm dose twice a day with honey suppresses cough. Neem oil 5-10 drops given with 2 tablespoon of sugar once a day for 15 days helps in tropical Eosinophilia. The expectorant, depurative and antiseptic properties of Neem attribute to cure cough.
13. Tuberculosis: Loss of weight, intermittent dry cough, and fever, evening rise of temperature are typical symptoms of tuberculosis. There is decrease in anabolic components and patient feels weak and lethargic. Neem being anti-tussive and anti-bacterial and tonic in its properties helps in revitalizing condition. Decoction from daily 20gms Neem bark powder, twice a day for nine months cures it completely. Doses should be reduced after first 4 months of 20 grams and should preferably be reduced according to weight.
14. Urinary disorders: In this condition there is burning micturation, oxaluria, phosphaturia, glucosuria, chyluria etc. Neem is effective in cases where there is albuminuria, phophaturia and burning micturation. 3 grams of neem leaves powder should be boiled with 4 cups of water till it reduces to 2 cups. This should be strained. This decoction given, twice a day helps in the above mentioned conditions. In burning micturation, 1 teaspoon Neem leaves juice daily taken thrice is helpful.
15. Leucorrhoea and Dysmenorrhoeas: White discharge from vagina is known as Leucorrhoea. When menstrual cycle is associated with pain and abdominal discomfort and the flow is irregular/scanty then the condition is called as Dysmenorrhoea. The anti-periodic, anti-pruritic, vulnerary depurative action of Neem helps in curing these disorders. In both these conditions 10 grams of Neem leaves juice along with 1 tablespoon sugar be given once daily early in morning on empty stomach.
16. Filarial: Here there is fever accompanied by itchy, irregular, erythematous, hard swelling of the skin scattered on body. Leg becomes thick like elephants leg. And therefore this condition is also called as Elephantiasis. Neem is used here because of its anti-pruritic, anti-helminthic, and thermogenic action. One tablespoon of Neem leaves powder is recommended. Along with this, 10 grams of Neem leaves, root and bark decoction in a dose of 2 tablespoon twice daily is used to treat Filarial.
17. Diabetes: Neem being biter, stomachic, anti-pruritic, and revitalize works wonders in this disease. One table spoon of Neem leaves juice approximately 5 ml taken early in the morning on empty stomach for 3 months is helpful in diabetes. 10 Neem leaves chewed or powder taken daily in the morning also controls diabetes. Dietary regulations should be followed.
18. Hypertension: One tablespoon syrup of Neem leaves juice taken twice a day is found useful in hypertension.
19. Cancer: Neem being depurative purifies the blood and being an astringent decreases the body heat. Chewing of 10 to 20 Neem leaves early morning with warm water is helpful.
20. Leprosy and Leucoderma: 10 drops of Neem oil mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar twice a day acts as a supportive part of treatment. The anti-leprotic action of Neem works.
21. Allergy: 8 to 10 fresh Neem leaves are to be eaten early morning on an empty stomach. This helps in purifying blood and controls the allergic condition.
22. Herpes: In this condition Neem leaves should be boiled in water and this water, after cooling, should be used to clean the affected part. It is very beneficial. One gram of Neem leaves powder should be given with water 3 times a day which is very effective in this condition.
23. Eczema: 5 to 10 drops of Neem oil is taken orally with 3 grams of Neem leaves powder.
24. Inflammatory conditions: Steam fomentation of Neem bark or leaves help to subside inflammation and edema.
25. Otomycosis: This is the fungal infection of the ear. Mostly found in damp areas. Neem’s anti-fungal properties help in curing this condition. 2 drops of Neem oil once a day cures the disease.
26. Alopecia: Loss of hair from scalp is known as Alopecia. Powder of dried Neem leaves and fine ash from burnt Neem roots should be mixed with Vaseline to make it an ointment or with Neem oil to make it a paste. Application of this ointment or the paste over the scalp during night time every day will stimulate hair growth.
27. Hair care: Falling or graying of hair are two major common symptoms. 2 drops of Neem oil put in the nostril prevents falling and graying of hair. To get rid of lice and dandruff Neem oil massage should be done on scalp during night. In the morning, hair should be washed with Neem water. This should be done twice a week for a period of three months.
28. Inflammatory joint pains: This occurs in rheumatoid arthritis. As Neem has anti-inflammatory action, its oil when massaged over the inflamed joints, gives relief.
29. Neem honey: Honey obtained from the Neem tree has more medicinal properties. It improves eye sight and is harmless for diabetic patients. It is also used to treat eye disorder by applying as netranjan (eye-liner). It is very beneficial in care of burning sensation of the body. One teaspoon to 2 teaspoon twice a day should be given.
30. Cardiac diseases: High blood pressure, blood clots, high cholesterol levels and arrhythmic heart action are major causes of heart attack. Neem leaf extracts have been shown to reduce blood clotting, cholesterol and pressure. It helps in reducing tachycardia (a condition where heart rate is above 100); it inhibits irregularities of rhythms of the heart. There are also reports stating that it has mild sedative and tranquilizing effect, it reduces stress levels by promoting blood vessels relaxation (vasodilatation).
Properties of Neem:
Neem bark is cool, bitter, astringent, acidic and refrigerant. Its bark can be used in cough, fever, loss of appetite, tiredness, diabetes, vomiting, skin diseases, excessive thirst and worm infestation. It heals wounds. Neem leaves are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-scabies, anti-viral, and hepato-protective. Neem flowers are used in vitiated conditions of Pitta and Kapha.
Neem seeds are antihelmenthic, antileprotic, and anti-poisonous. Neem oil besides having properties of Neem seeds, also is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, sedative, anti choilinergic, anti-histaminic and anti-micotic.
Different preparations of Neem:
1. Powder: Dry Neem leaves or steam or internal bark is ground after drying in shade. It is meshed to obtain fine powder.
2. Juice: Pluck fresh leaves, grind with little water and then crush to make a round ball. This should be wrapped in a fine cotton cloth and squeezed to get fresh juice.
3. Decoction: 5 grams of neem leaves are to be boiled with 2 cups of water until it reduces to 1 cup then it should be filtered to get fresh decoction.
4. Extract: Neem leaves or internal bark one part and 16 parts of water are to be boiled together and reduced to one fourth. This is then filtered. Again this is heated on a slow flame to further reduce it to one fourth. This is called Neem extract.
5. Distillation: One part of Neem leaves and 16 parts of water are to be put through distillation process, so as to get Neem distilled water.
6. Anjan: A cotton wick is to be soaked in Neem oil and one end is to be burned in airtight bowl placed upside down. All smoke will get collected on the inner side of the bowl. This can be used as an eye applicant.
7. Pessary: Cotton wick of small size should b soaked in Neem oil. That can be used as a suppository in vaginal disorders or as a contraceptive.
8. Wick: Guaze is to be made long lengthwise. It should be rolled along with Neem oil. Then dry it. It can be used in anorectal disorders.
9. Ointment: Fine powder or dried Neem leaves one part and Vaseline 5 parts should be mixed with speculum into the fine paste. This paste can be used for treatment purpose.
– Dr. Hiren Parekh.