Arishta..Reliever of sickness!

Thank you God you created Neem tree!!!

As each part of Neem (Azadirachta Indica/कडुनिंब) is used in the medicines, it has been used in Ayurveda for more than 4000 years. It is referred as Sarva Roga Nivarini in our Vedas which means 'the one that cures all ailments & illnesses'. Owing to its versatile characteristics, it is rightly called the Village Pharmacy. Due to which, the tree is gaining respect throughout the world.

The seeds & leaves contain compounds which are demonstrated to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-pyretic, hypotensive, anti-ulcerating, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-malarial activity also! Variety of skin diseases, septic sores, infected burns, small-pox, chicken-pox & warts have traditionally been treated with paste of neem leaves.

It is far more than a tough tree that grows vigorously in difficult site. Among its numerous benefits, one that is most unexpected & immediately practical is to control farm & household pest. Number of flies. bugs & crop-pests as snails, nematodes, larvae of number of mosquito species (Anopheles & Aedes also) are sensitive to Neem. But the interesting fact is, it seems remarkably benign to earthworms, butterflies, bees & insects that contribute in pollination, ladybugs that consume aphids & wasps that acts as a parasite on various crop-pests.

Neem truly is a farmer's friend. Very useful as windbreak and a welcome source of shade. The tree can grow in some marginal lands also, thus it may not displace the food crops. It is beneficial for soil too! Its extensive deep roots seem to have remarkable effect at extracting nutrients from poor soil & these enter the top soil as leaves & twigs fall & decay. the leaves which are alkaline in nature are believed to neutralise the acidity in the soil. Thus it can help some worn-out lands return to productive use that are currently unsuited to crops. Its seed-cake (remnant after extraction of a oil, a potential biodiesel) is good fertilizer containing nitrogen, potash, phosphorous, calcium & magnesium. Earlier most of poor farmers used to mix handful of neem leaves in their stored grains for controlling pests. But now they do not want to be stigmatized as backward for following an ancestral & traditional practice. The key to quickly overcoming this misguided attitude is to show that using neem in modern than modern techniques for which these farmers are paying big money.

It is a beautiful tree which flowers in the beginning of summer in creamy white cluster. It can be planted easily using seeds, seedlings, samplings. The seeds should be sown soon after the fruit has ripened. Its growth is comparatively slow. But coppices (re-sprout & grow back vigorously after branches being cut) freely and following regrowth can be exceptionally fast as its being served by the root system large enough to feed a full grown tree.

The fertilizers made from Neem leaves & seeds are much in demand. Neem is also used in the manufacture of soap. A tonic wine is prepared from the bark. Neem reduce erosion & deforestation. The tree is known to fight Desertification. It has been used successfully in rehabilitating the waste land areas. Neem bark contains tannins which are used in tanning and dyeing industries.

Neem, state tree of Andhra Pradesh, can be a best avenue tree (one which is planted alongside roads & highways). Neem gives out more oxygen than many other trees. The temperature under this tree has been found to be ~10°C less than the surrounding temperature. It is said that planting Neem tree near the house is a ensured passage to heaven. On the day of Gudi-Padwa, its leaves are tied on the main entrance to remain away from the evil spirits.

A Wonder tree indeed!

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