Neem: A Miracle Plant
Neem tree is found all over India and people in general are aware of its medicinal qualities. The Sanskrit name of Neem is Arishtha means the reliever of sickness. In earlier days people use to plant Neem in their back yard so that the air can be purified. Many people use Neem for certain ailments to be cured. Specially to cure chicken pox, measles and small pox. People call the disease as mata and only Neem leaves are used for its cure. Its stems are used as datun and flowers are used in chutney during the New Year festivities in southern states. Neem has no side effects and can be used and treated for so many other ailments too. Here are a few uses of Neem tree:
To cure chicken pox
The leaves of Neem are spread near the bed. The fresh neem leaves are put in the water and while giving bath and gently rubbed over the body to ensure quick recovery.
Dry leaves are used as insecticide. Dried leaves of Neem are kept in store room to ward away the insects. Dry leaves are burnt along with Cow dung cakes to ward off flies and mosquitoes (Not to try this in closed rooms as it suffocates). Neem leaves can be put in warm water and by keeping feet in them can give relief from eczema and other skin infections.
Boil Neem leaves over the low flame. After cooling strain and make paste of the leaves. Apply over the acne, wash after half an hour. Apply daily till it disappears. This is very affective.
Make powder of the dried leaves of Neem, add little salt, Sarson (Mustard) powder, and camphor. Take cowdung cake in an earthen pan, sprinkle the mixture of Neem leaves on it and light it. Let the smoke spread in the whole area. Keep the doors and windows open. This will not only repel mosquitoes but also kills germs and purifies the air.
(a) Neem oil 100gm, Bark of the Crown Plant (Madar), (Aak) powder 20gm, Make a fine paste of both these, heat a little and apply on the knees when it is warm.
(b) Chop off a small piece of Neem bark after washing it throughly and drying make fine powder of it and add Ashwagandha powder of same quantity to it. Mix well and store in a bottle. Take 3 pinches daily for more effective results.
Flowers are used in chutney called ‘Ugadi Pachadi’ along with raw mango, jaggery and tamarind in Andhra and Karnataka region during the New Year festival which falls in the month of Chaitra. As the festival falls during the starting of summer, people believe eating Neem flowers will keep all the summer prone diseases at bay. There is a practice in Maharashrta to drink a small quantity of Neem juice on New Year day before the starting of the festivities. This also acts as a remedy to the effects of change of season and bad effects of the food eaten during the festivities.
Tender stems are used as datun to brush teeth which checks tooth decay and makes the gums stronger by chewing. Now Neem tooth paste is also available in the market. Decoction of the bark is used to expel worms from the body. (Decoction: gently simmer the bark in water for about 30 min so as to release their properties. Strain before use 20gms of bark for one litre of water.
Urinary infections, tumours, piles and toothache can be relieved by consuming Neem fruits.
To cure deafness:
Break open the Neem seed and remove the inside part of it. Soak them in water overnight and grind it. Make tablets of the size of Bengal gram out of it and let it dry in shade.On taking daily one for 40 days one can get rid of deafness.
To get relief from pain in the eye:
If the right eye pains put four drops of Neem oil in left ear and for the left eye four drops in right ear. There will be immediate relief from pain. Neem oil is used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines. This is quite effective in curing skin diseases and infections. Many of the soap industries also use Neem oil for their productions. Neem oil has medicinal properties which is beneficial for hair care.
Need of the Hour
In Delhi one finds innumerable Neem trees. The same can be done at other cities also by planting more of them. Neem trees look gigantic and at the same time give shade and shelter to the people and the animals alike. In most of the Indian villages, people also have to undertake Neem plantation in a big way as rainy season is just approaching. We are enjoying the benefits of Neem which our forefathers have planted. The same way we should plant Neem trees for our future generations. This is the right time! Now.
By N Sugna