Neem The King of Ayurvedic Home Remedies Part 1

Medicinal plants are part and parcel of human society to combat diseases, from the dawn of civilization. Neem is well known in India and its neighbouring countries for more than 2000 years as one of the most versatile medicinal plants having a wide spectrum of biological activity. The Indian neem is known as margosa tree or Indian lilac and is an evergreen tree, cultivated in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. Every part of the tree has been used as traditional medicine for household remedy against various human ailments, from antiquity. Neem has been extensively used in ayurveda, unani and homoeopathic medicine and has become a cynosure of modern medicine. The sanskrit name of the neem tree is ‘Arishtha’ meaning ‘reliever of sickness’ and hence is considered as ‘Sarvaroganivarani’. The tree is still regarded as ‘village dispensary’ in India. The importance of the neem tree has been recognized by the US National Academy of Sciences, which published a report in 1992 entitled ‘Neem – a tree for solving global problems’.

Clinical studies with the dried neem leaf extract indicated its effectiveness to cure ringworm, eczema and scabies. Lotion derived from neem leaf, when locally applied, can cure these dermatological diseases within 3–4 days in acute stage or a fortnight in chronic case.

A paste prepared with neem and turmeric was found to be effective in the treatment of scabies in nearly 814 people. In 97% of cases, the paste was found to cure scabies within 3–15 days of treatment without any adverse effect.

Neem leaf extract has been prescribed for oral use for the treatment of malaria by Indian ayurvedic practitioners from time immemorial. Dried neem leaves in the form of tea are used by the people of Nigeria and Haiti to treat this disease.

Several clinical studies have been reported with the neem oil. Application of neem oil on the hair has been shown to kill head lice.

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