The neem tree , the Azadirachta indica, a cousin of the better known Chinaberry tree the Melia azedarach, is something short of a miracle. The whole tree -leaves,bark,stem,fruits and flowers are useful for human beings.Some of the uses are-
The neem is known to Indians as a virtual living pharmacy. Daily, millions of people brush their teeth with neem twigs. Dentists confirm that this practice guards against periodontal disease. A crude antiseptic soap is made from the pulp of the olive-like fruit. A paste made from the leaves has been found to successfully treat skin lesions. Small portions of leavers mixed with regular feed seem to affect intestinal parasites in livestock.
Additionally, several compounds were isolated from the seeds of neem. One of these, azadirachtin, was found to both repel and disrupt the growth and reproduction of many destructive insect species. Unlike many synthetic insecticides, low dozes of azadirachtin were found to have little or no mammalian toxicity, and insects showed little resistance to the compound even through several generations. The range of insects affected by neem extracts is impressive and includes beetles, flies, mosquitoes, caterpillars, true bugs, locusts and grasshoppers, aphids, weevils, moths, and roaches. The zoo is currently experimenting with a commercial insecticide containing azadarachtin.
The major by-product from processing neem is called "cake." Fields top-dressed with cake were found to be less affected by nematodes, snails, and certain fungi. Later tests showed neem oil to be very effective on plant diseases like rust and powdery mildew. Neem cake was also found to be excellent fertilizer, outperforming farm manure and sewage sludge.
Neem trees are easily grown in warm, frost-free areas and are relatively fast-growing. In many areas of Third World countries, wood of any kind is at a premium. Neem timber has been shown to be rot and insect-resistant.
Neem oil is clean-burning, and the tree produces excellent firewood. Resin produces excellent firewood. Resin tapped from the bark provides a gum commonly used as a glue.
Some of neem products :