Uses of a Neem Tree

The Neem tree (Azadirachta indica), also known as Margosa, is among the world's most researched trees, states the Neem Foundation. Neem is grown extensively throughout India. Thanks to its medicinal properties, the neem is grown in more than 50 countries worldwide. In ancient Indian literature, the tree was referred to as "the village pharmacy" because of its versatile medicinal properties.

Health Remedies

Nearly every part of the neem tree--leaves, fruit, branches, bark, roots and flowers--has some health or medicinal benefit. Neem is a natural antiseptic, so it can be applied in the form of powder or paste to external cuts and wounds. It wards off infection and expedites healing. Neem paste, powder and oil are effective against many skin ailments, like eczema, acne and ringworm. Neem oil used on the hair induces lush hair growth and prevents problems like dandruff and hair lice. Ingesting neem in the form of paste or juice improves digestion, keeps intestines functioning properly, kills internal worms and parasites, and is good for the body's immune system. Neem is also said to control the body's blood sugar levels. Neem twigs are also used like toothbrushes for cleaning teeth.

Pesticide

Neem oil is a popular and effective natural and organic pesticide. Half an ounce of neem oil and and half teaspoon of liquid soap mixed with two quarts of water is used to make a neem oil pesticide. Mix all of the above together, stirring in the neem oil well. The pesticide can be sprayed directly onto plants, leaves and flowers. The strong essence of neem repels insects and bugs, and kills pests like aphids, mites and moth larvae. The only downside is that the effect is slow-acting and it can take a week or more to kill the pests.

Food Preservative

The anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of neem make it a natural, safe and healthy alternative to synthetic food preservatives. A small quantity of neem oil performs a far better job of preserving a sample batch of apples than other preservatives. Neem is safe for human consumption, so its use as a preservative is also healthier than other alternatives.

Animal Feed

Neem leaves have considerable amounts of minerals, proteins and carotene in them. Dry fodder and straw that are deficient in copper lead to various health aliments in animals. This problem can be tackled by feeding neem to livestock along with other feeds. Neem seed cakes can also be used as animal feed.

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About this Author

Based in Northern California, Devin Dupre-Neary has a bachelor's degree in nursing from UC Davis. Rather than move towards a master's or work in a hospital, he chose a different route. In 2009, he wrote professionally, part-time, writing articles on a host of subjects from health issues to gardening.