Neem is also called ‘Arista’ in Sanskrit- a word that means ‘perfect, complete and imperishable’. The Sanskrit name ‘Nimbi’ comes from the term ‘Nimbati Syasthyamdadati’ which means ‘to give good health’. ‘Pinchumada’ another name of Neem in Sanskrit mean the destroyer of leprosy and healer of skin infections. Its medicinal qualities are outlined in the earliest Sanskrit writings and its uses in Hindu medicine that dates back to very remote times. The earliest authentic record of the curative properties of Neem and is uses in the indigenous system of medicine in India is found in Kautilya’s “Arthashastra" around 4th century BC.
Neem's medicinal properties are listed in the ancient documents ‘Carak- Samhita’ and ‘Susruta-Samhita ’, the books at the foundation of the Indian system of natural treatment, Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of medicine, which emphasizes a holistic approach to human health and wellbeing. It is described in the Ayurvedic texts as ‘sarva roga nivarini’ (a universal reliever of all illness). Neem has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years due to its medicinal properties. Records show that the non-edible Neem oil was perhaps the oldest known medicinal oil. Almost every part of the Neem tree has been documented for some medicinal use. They are: Tonic and anti-periodic (root bark, stem bark, and young fruit), antiseptic and local stimulant (seed, oil, and leaves), stimulant tonic and stomachic (flowers), demulcent tonic (gum), and refreshing, nutrient, and alternative tonic (toddy). Neem bark leaves, and fruits have been used in Ayurvedic medicines for a long time and are described in ancient writing of Sushruta.
The ‘Upavanavinod’, an ancient Sanskrit treatise dealing with forestry and agriculture, cites neem as a cure for ailing soils, plants and livestock. Neem cake, the residue from the seeds after oil extraction, is fed to livestock and poultry, while its leaves increase soil fertility. The ‘Brihat Samhita’ of ‘Varahamihira’, dated about 6th century AD, contains a chapter of verses on plant medicines. It recommends that the neem tree be planted near dwellings. Smallpox and chicken pox were cured or staved off with the use of neem leaves. Unani scholars knew Neem’s properties beneficial to human health and named it as ‘Shajar-e-Munarak’, or the blessed tree. Persian scholars called Neem “Azad dirakht-I-Hind,” meaning the noble or free tree of India
Neem in Hindu Mythology:- Neem is deeply imbued with spiritual meaning. Its curative properties were attributed to the fact that a few drops of heavenly nectar fell upon it. A lot of stories had been muttered in the past of Ancient Indian History consider Neem to be of divine origin. Few are here:
- Few drops of Amrita (Ambrosia, the elixir of immortality) was dropped on the Neem trees which was carried by The Garuda (part human and part bird: creature from Hindu Mythology) to the heaven.
- In other story, Amrita was sprinkled by ‘Indira’ (the celestial kind) on the earth, which gave rise to the neem tree and thereby bestowing upon it numerous of much properties of much use to humans better than those of ‘Kalpa-vriksha ‘, the wish-fulfilling tree.
- In another instance neem tree is related to ‘Dhanmantri’ (the Aryan god of medicine). The ancient Hindus believed that planting neem trees ensured a passage to heaven. It was believed that the goddess of smallpox, ‘Sithala ’, lived in the neem tree.
In Andhra Pradesh, south of central India, Neem in Telgu language is known as ‘Vepa’ or the purifier of air. Mere presence of the Neem tree near human dwellings is believed to materially improve human health and even act as a prophylactic against malarial fever and even cholera. In Uttar Pradesh in northern India, village surrounded with Neem trees, were frequently cited as proverbially free form fever, when the neighboring villages without Neem suffered severely (Mitra 1963). Belief in curative properties of Neem in some population in India is so strong that it defies explanation. In south India, people lay a patient suffering from smallpox, chickenpox, or even syphilis on a bed of Neem leaves and fanned with a Neem branch. The medicinal properties of neem help him to suffer less and regain his health sooner. The Khasi and jaintia tribes in northeastern India use Neem leaves for curing diarrhea and dysentery, while leaves and fruits are used in treating tuberculosis and heart diseases. Because of such diverse curative properties, Neem is appropriately known as “The Village Pharmacy” in rural India and has secured a place in the Indian Pharmacopoeia. The common preparations are the powdered bark, the fresh leaves, a decoction and tincture of powdered bark, and a poultice of Neem leaves. The bark is said to be astringent, tonic and anti-periodic, while the leaves are said to act as a stimulant application to indolent and ill-conditioned ulcers.
Local names of Neem in india & around the world
Local names of Neem in india & around the world
Margosa, Neem, Indian Lilac
Azarirae d’lnde, Margousier
Azade Darakhte Hindi
Azad Darkhtu Hind
Dawoon Nambu, Baypay
Azadirachta indica A.
Azad darkht 1 hindi
website for the promotion of sacred Neem :- http://neemfoundation.org/