Neem - Pharmacognosy & Uses

By: Pharma Tips | Views: 22825 | Date: 29-Dec-2011

Family: MeliaceaeBotanical name: Azadirachta Indica. It grows in tropical and semi tropical regions and is widely found in Burma, India and Pakistan. This is a very fast growing, ever green tree which reaches the height of 15 to 20 meters.



Family: Meliaceae

Botanical name: Azadirachta Indica.

 It grows in tropical and semi tropical regions and is widely found in Burma, India and Pakistan. This is a very fast growing, ever green tree which reaches the height of 15 to 20 meters.

Neem is known for its immeasurable medicinal properties and is used as a main ingredient in many home remedies. Commending the medicinal properties of neem, numerous sanskrit names have been coined by our ayurveda acharyas . Few of them are mentioned below.

    It is known as Nimba as it boosts health
    It is praised as Pichumarda as it destroys skin diseases.
    As it is used to ward off evil powers that harm our body , it is known as Arishta

Chemical composition of neem:

Neem tree has numerous medicinal properties by virtue of its chemical compounds. Seeds of the Neem tree contain the highest concentration of Azadirachtin. Apart from Azadirachtin , salannin, gedunin, azadirone, nimbin, nimbidine, nimbicidine, nimbinol, etc are other important liminoids of neem.

Uses of neem in horticulture:

Neem has been the most traditionally used plant in India , Pakistan and Africa to protect grains and cereals from pests. Fresh neem leaves are mixed with grains and cereals before storing. A paste of fresh neem leaves is rubbed against the wall of large mud bins or gunny bags in which the grains and cereals are stored. Some times a thick layer of dry neem leaves are spread over grains. Neem oil extracted from seeds acts as best biopesticide. Jute sacks treated with neem oil or extracts of neem are used to store food grains. Neem oil is a very cheap and effective house hold pesticide to protect grains and legumes from pests. Neem is being used to protect stored roots and tubers from potato moth.

Azadirachtin is available in high concentration in neem seeds. It is used as “botanical pesticide” which is environmentally friendly. It prevents insects from feeding on plants and regulates the growth of insects. Neem extracts do not harm the insects like bees, spiders and butterflies which help in pollination.

Medicinal properties of Neem:

The Neem tree has many medicinal uses. The chemical compounds present in neem have anti-inflammatory , antiarthritic ,antipyretic ,hypoglycaemic , Antifungal, spermicidal, antimalarial, antibacterial and Diuretic properties. Flower, leaves, bark and seeds of neem are used in home remedies and in preparation of medicines. Bark of neem acts as antipyretic and helps to reduce fever. Flowers are used in intestinal disorders. Juice from fresh leaves is very helpful in treating skin diseases, wounds and obesity. Oil from neem seeds is used in arthritis, skin diseases and muscular sprains. Neem is very effective in treating gum diseases.

The neem is proved to be beneficial in treating skin diseases because of its antibiotic, antifungal and blood purifying properties. According to ayurveda principles vitiated Kapha and pitta cause skin diseases. Neem pacifies vitiated kapha and pitta, thus helps to cure skin ailments. It promotes wound healing as it is antibacterial and astringent. In psoriasis it reduces itching, irritation, roughness of skin and heals the psoriatic patches. In same way it heals eczema too. It reduces infection and inflammation of acne. Neem helps to maintain the health of scalp skin and prevents dandruff.

The Advantages of Neem

Neem, or Azadirachta indica, is an evergreen tree found extensively in India. The stems, roots, leaves and young fruits of the tree are made into capsules, tablets, lotions, creams, soaps and shampoos and are used to treat a variety of conditions. The side effects and drug interactions of the herb have not been documented scientifically, although states that more than 0.2 mL of neem oil per kilogram of body weight can lead to toxic reactions. It is important to talk to a doctor before using neem for any health problem.


Neem oil has significant antimicrobial activity against a variety of bacteria and fungi. A study published in the May 2007 edition of the "Malaria Journal" found that neem oil can inhibit the growth of the mosquito species that carry the malarial parasite and may be a cheap alternative to the traditional larvicides. also states that neem leaf extracts can improve hemoglobin and CD4+ in HIV patients without the help of any other anti-retroviral drugs. Neem extracts may also help treat sexually transmitted diseases in women caused by organisms such as Neisseria gonorrhea and Chlamydia trachomatis.


Certain components of neem, such as limonin glucopyranoside, azadirone, quercetin and kaemferol, may suppress the growth of cancer cells and reduce the incidence of tumors by enhancing immune response, neutralizing free radicals and inhibiting division of cancer cells, says These claims, however, have not been proven in actual clinical cases.

Dental Health

Neem twigs are commonly chewed every morning in rural India to clean the teeth and prevent dental infections. Several studies, such as the one published in 2007 in the "Indian Journal of Dental Research," have also demonstrated the inhibitory effects of neem extracts against oral bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus salivarus, thereby proving the benefit of chewing neem twigs.

Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Properties

Another study published in the June 2002 edition of the journal "Current Science" indicates that the chloroform extracts of neem stem bark can reduce inflammation in animal models. Neem plant extracts can also relieve pain via brain and spinal cord receptors known as opioid receptors. However, there is no clinical evidence to prove these benefits, so it is important to talk to a doctor before using them for pain.


Neem leaf extracts and neem seed oil helped reduce the blood sugar levels in diabetic rabbits, according to P. Khosla, author of a study published in the January 2000 edition of the "Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology." Neem extracts may, therefore, help manage blood sugar levels in diabetes patients and delay the onset of the disease. However, it is important to prove these benefits in clinical cases before using them for diabetes treatment.

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