Neem, having the Latin name Azadirachta indica, is a natural herb that displays incredible therapeutic effects on the human body. You will find the Neem tree in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world and can be used as leaves as well as neem oil. It is typically a 14-16 meter tall tree with a firm stem, alternate leaves and flowers with white inflorescence. The ancient scriptures of Ayurveda describe it vividly and in a very detailed manner.
Some of its useful attributes
- Taste(Rasa)– The taste of the Neem plant is a mixture of bitter (Tikta), spicy (Katu) and astringent (Kashaya).
- Potency(Veerya)– The potency of the Neem herb is Cold (Sheeta) which helps in pacifying the heat in the body.
- Qualities (Gunas)- It can be easily digested(Laghu) and is dry(Ruksha) in nature, in turn, useful in the absorption of excess fluid from the body.
- An effect on Doshas– Neem helps in the alleviation of Kapha and Pitta Doshas.
- However, an overdose of this herb can lead to the aggravation of Vata Dosha, resulting in an increase in dry skin, scalp and hair. Along with that, it can reduce bone density and weaken the power of the sense organs(eyes, ears, etc.) of the body.
How does this herb help in confronting disorders and diseases in the body?
Using the neem herb as medicine in numerous forms for many short-term and long-term diseases and disorders has proven to be therapeutic. It is found that neem can be used externally for local applications as well as internally ingested through the oral route.
External Uses of Neem
Local Application in the Form of Decoction or Paste
The dressing of infected wounds is possible with the help of the decoction of the bark. It helps to eliminate the secretions which are purulent and watery in nature.
The decoction of Neem leaves is used as a mouthwash to treat dental caries. The leaves are bactericidal in nature. This helps in the fumigation of wounds that take a long time to heal in patients suffering from other disorders like diabetes, varicose veins, etc.
The application of oil, made from Neem extract, is used in treating chronic wounds and diabetic ulcers. This is why it works well in cases of dandruff, scalp psoriasis and dermatological disorders.
Internal Uses of Neem
Improvement of the Digestive System
Internally, Neem absorbs the excess fluid contained in the digestive juices. It assists in the proper digestion of food and prevents vomiting, excess production & secretion of acid and gastric ulcers.
Neem plays an important role in treating the tendency of the body to succumb to recurrent worm infestation. Worms contained in stools are destroyed with the help of its bitter taste (tikta rasa).
If given with Triphala, it acts as a laxative and is useful in constipation and clearing any obstruction in the bowels.
The bitter taste (tikta rasa) of Neem leaves eliminates Kapha dosha, vitiating the tongue and thus brings back the sensation of taste.
Many patients suffering from diabetes tend to exhibit symptoms of dehydration. The juice of neem leaf extract (nimbasiddha jala), eliminates dryness of the mouth caused due to polyuria, which is a common symptom in diarrhoea.
Fever and Body-Ache
The bitter(tikta) taste and cold(sheeta) qualities help in the reduction of inflammation thereby reducing the temperature of the body.
A decrease in temperature leads to the alleviation of Pitta Dosha, in turn, pacifying the burning sensation in any part of the body.
When taken with honey, Neem Juice/decoction cleanses the obstruction of bile juice in the liver and facilitates its entry into the intestine.
This is how it brings back the normal colour of stools and eliminates increased yellowness in urine.
Researchers found that the seeds of Neem plant are oxytocic. The herb is useful in difficult labour and menstrual disorders like dysmenorrhea. Its intra-vaginal application has an anti-implantation effect, which serves as a contraceptive and can prevent pregnancy.
Availability of the Neem Plant across the World
We find this plant mostly in the tropical and subtropical regions and it is now available all across the globe. In the past few years, researchers, doctors & pharmaceutical companies have realized the medicinal value of this plant. This is why it is one of the most widely-used herbs, both commercially and in holistic and alternative medicine. The fact is that this plant has been able to cure millions of diseases over the past thousands of years. This is why it is in great demand and displays the permanence and unshaken presence of Ayurveda in today’s transient world.