Location in BHU campus :Common tree planted along the roadside, hostels, Institutes, residences and Botanical and Ayurvedic gardens .
Botanical name : Azadirachta indica A.Juss. Derived from Persian meaning ‘azad darakht’ meaning noble tree.
Family : Meliaceae
Vernacular / local Name : Bengali-Neem; Gujarati-Limbado; Hindi- Neem,nim.nimb; Kannada- Bevinamara;Malayalam-Veppa; Marathi-Limba; Oriya-Nimba; Sanskrit- Nimba,arishta ; Tamil-Vembu,veppam;Telugu-Veepachettu,yapachettu; Urdu-Nim;
English names : Margosa , Indian lilac
A moderate sized fast growing tree which can live up to 200 years or more with dense crown. Stem can grow to a girth of about 2 m. Sometimes small amount of gum is produced .Bark is rough, bitter, fissured, dark grey outside and reddish brown inside. Leaves are compound, alternately arranged with long slender leaf stalks. Leaflets are 4-7 paired, toothed. Leafless for a brief period in dry localities during March and canopy renewed by second week of April .Flowers are cream colored, fragrant, appear in clusters during March- May . A flower has 5 slender spreading petals and 10 stamens fused in to a central column. Fruits are oval, yellow when ripe, fleshy, one seeded and ripen during June-August .
fuEci=a Le`ra us«;a d`fefiÙkfo’kiz.kqr~A
okrya dVqikda p lokZjkspddq’Buqr~AA
fuEcQy jls frDra ikds rq dVqHksanue~A
fLuX/ka y?kw’.ka dq’B?u xqYek'kZ% d`feesguqr~AA
Nimba leaf is agreeable to the eye, destroys parasites, pitta and poisons,
augments vata, is pungent on digestion, and useful in or destroys anorexia and skin diseases.
Nimba fruit is bitter in taste, pungent on digestion, laxative, demulcent,
light pungent, destroys skin diseases, gulma, (phantom tumour), parasites and meha.
Thought to be divine in origin, Neem has been valued for over 4000 years. When nectar was being taken to heaven from the world below for the use of Gods a few drops fell on the neem and hence it is believed that it possesses curative properties. Neem tree is considered abode of certain deities like Sitala,Manasa ,Kali as well as witches by many tribes of India.The banyan tree and neem tree are often grown in close proximity and their intertwined branches are considered a holy union and not cut down by Hindus.
In the Garhwal Himalayas the festival associated with Neem are Sheela Ashtami in the month of March and Nimb Saptami in the month of April.
Nandarvo is a festival celebrated by Gamits of Gujarat. The new sprouting grass is worshipped .The bitter juice of neem which is considered health giving is offered to the god and then it is distributed to cattle and men as Prasad .
It is also associated with snake worship and Sun worship The powerful is said to dwell in on the neem tree and stones representing the powerful goddess Kali are worshipped under a neem tree.
In Andhra Pradesh many female deities called Grama Devatalu or Ammavarulu are worshipped by the villagers in different forms. Some deities are in the form of brass images, which are carried in procession during the festival. The offering is brought along with a few Neem leaves removed from a bunch that the bearer carries along with him. All the members of the family mark their forehead with turmeric powder and keep the neem leaves offered to the goddess in their hair .
The neem tree (considered the bride) is wedded to Peepal tree (considered the groom) with the belief that this marriage would bring good rainfall, an abundant crop and cordial ties in the region. Peepal tree is decked with a white cloth and ‘basinga’ and neem tree with bangles. In the Sankastha Chaturthi Vrata pushpa pooja, Nimba pushpam is offered.
Brides take ritual baths in neem-infused water .Babies are also bathed with neem water and given small doses of neem oil. The smoke from the neem leaves is wafted into rooms for cleansing purposes. In a ceremony after childbirth babies are laid upon neem leaves to provide them with a protective aura .
The patients of pox and measles are fanned with neem twigs and many wear armor made of neem branches to avoid cholera and pox. Persons of Nath sect (Kanpatha Yogis) use a piece of neem branch like an ear-ring . On the New Year day the Hindus eat the neem leaves to acquire freedom from disease.. In south the bitter leaves are chewed with jaggery on Ugadi or New Year’s Day, to symbolize acceptance of the good with the bad. Another preparation with flowers and jaggery is also prepared during the New Year ’s Day. In some castes of Hindus the neem leaves are chewed when one returns from funeral, as an emblem of grief . Neem leaves are hung over the cradles as well as strung on thresholds of the home to ward off evil spirits.
Neem is associated with the constellation Uttara Bhadrapada (Uthirattathi, Gamma Pegasi/Algenib ) whose presiding deity is Abibudhanya .
The Brihat Samhita of Varahamira, dated about 6th century AD, contains a chapter of verses on plant medicines. It recommends that neem be planted near dwelling . Neem is supposed to keep ill luck away and give happiness.. The ancient Hindus believed that planting of neem trees ensured passage to heaven.
In praise of neem’s medicinal virtues, an old Indian proverb says:
“The land where the neem tree abound,
Can death, disease there be found?”
The medicinal properties of neem tree have been well known in the Indian subcontinent for thousands of years.The neem tree is intimately connected with the everyday life of Indians; its antiseptic properties make it part of ‘cradle to death’care.
In the Sanskrit treatises Charaka Samhita ,Susrutha Samhita and Brihat Samhita compiled between 6 th century BC and 6 th century AD ,the properties of neem are mentioned a number of times . The neem tree has many utilitarian qualities and is held with great esteem in many parts of India. Its leaves, fruits, flowers, roots, wood are all used by the Hindus.
In Tamil Nadu dried flowers are used in a preparation with tamarind called Rasam which is particularly fed with rice to persons who have recovered from fever.
The wood of the neem tree is used to for making Patgoswami of Nilpuja during Charak festival.
In eastern India wooden images of lord Jagannatha, Balabhadra and their sister Subhadra are carved out of Neem wood.
Leaves are used as pesticide, insect and snake repellent and in medicine. Neem insecticides are active against more than 200 different types of insects including lice, fleas, locusts and mosquitoes. The principal insecticidal compound is azadirachtin .
Seed oil (margosa oil) is acrid, yellow, and bitter and is used in skin diseases such as scrofula, indolent ulcers, and sores and ringworm.It is applied in rheumatism as a liniment .It also possesses antihelmintic and insecticidal properties . It is antimicrobial, and so is used in soaps, shampoos and tooth pastes.
Forest and agricultural treatises recommend it for soil protection and revival and for pest repelling. It is an excellent avenue tree and well suited for afforestation .
Wood is used in carving, cigar boxes and cup boards as it is insect repellent . Watery exudation from the trunk called ‘neem toddy’ is also useful medically.
The oil cake is useful fertilizer . The timber is used for house building, for making boards, panels, toys and ploughs .
The tree is much sought now internationally for alternate therapies in Aids and Leprosy medication .
The twigs are used as chew sticks or indigenous tooth brushes ..
The foliage is consumed by animals like camels, nilgai, and sambar etc .