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Family Meliaceae
Azadirachta indica A. Juss.

Ku lian

Scientific names Common names
Melia indica Brand Nim (Tag., Engl.)
Melia azadirachta A. Juss. Neem tree (Engl.)
Azadirachta indica A. Juss. Margosa tree (Engl.)
  Indian Lilac (Engl.)
  Bead tree (Engl.)
  Pride of China (Engl.)
  Divine tree (Engl.)
  Holy tree (Engl.)
  Nimbay (Engl.)
  Ku lian (Chin.)

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Bim, Nim, Nimgach.
BURMESE: Tamaka.
CHINESE: Lian shu, Lian zao zi, Yin du lian shu.
FRENCH: Huile de neem, Lilas de perse, Lilas des Indes, Lilas du Japon, Margosier, Nim des Indes
GERMAN: Niembaum, Nimbaum.
HINDI: Balnimb, Neem, Nim, Nind.
KANNADA: Benvinmar.
LATIN: Cortex margosae.
MALAY: Mambu, Sadu
PERSIAN: Azad Dirakht.
SANSKRIT: Nimba, Nimbac, Nimbak.
SWAHILI: Mkilifi, Mwarubaini kamili
TAMIL: Vepa.
THAILAND: Cha-Tang, Khwinin, Sadao, Sadao India.
YORUBA: Afoforo Oyimbo.

General info
A tree belonging to the mahogany family known as the "free tree" because of its ability to "free the soil." Popular in the Philippines, more for its insecticidal properties (pang-lamok) than for its medicinal applications. In India, it is considered the most useful traditional medicinal plant, and commercially beneficial as each part of the tree has some medicinal property.

Neem is a medium-sized tree growing to 15 meters high, with wide spreading branches forming an oval crown. Leaves are pinnately compound. The drooping leaflets are 1 centimeter long, paired, lanceolate, acuminate with serrated margins. The blade is shiny dark green on the upper surface and pale green on the underside. Flowers are numerous, small, white and fragrant.

- Not widespread in the Philippines.
- A good shade tree.
- Propagated by seeds
- Spread by bats.
- Probably a native of Burma.
- Cultivated from India to Indonesia.

• From the seed is produced a bitter fixed oil, nimbidin, known as "Oil of Margosa" or neem oil.
• Neem seeds yield a fix oil of glycerides and bitter compounds including nimbin, nimbinin and nimbidol.
• Neem bark and leaves contain tannin and oil.
• Azadirachtin, the insecticide constituent of the seeds, is biodegradable, non-mutagenic, and nontoxic to birds, fish, and warm-blooded animals. The EPA has approved a neem formulation (Margosan-O) as a pesticide for limited use on nonfood crops
• Antiinflammatory (nimbidin, sodium nimbidate, gallic acid, catechin, polysaccharides).
• Antiarthritic, hypoglycemic, antipyretic, hypoglycemic, diuretic, anti-gastric ulcer (nimbidin)
• Antifungal (nimbidin, gedunin, cyclic trisulfide)
• Antibacterial (nimbidin, nimbolide, mahmoodin, margolone, margolonone, isomargolonone)
• Spermicidal (nimbin, nimbidin)
• Antimalarial (nimbolidfe, gedunin, azadirachtin)
• Antitumor (polysaccharides)
• Immunomodulatory (NB-II peptoglycan, gallic acid, epicatechin, catechin)
• Hepatoprotective (aqueous extract of neem leaf)
• Antioxidant (neem seed extract)

• Considered antibacterial, hypoglycemic, antiulcer, antifertility, spermicidal, anti-malarial, antitumor, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory.

Parts used
Whole plant.
- Leaves and flowers are edible.
- Poultice of leaves for swollen glands, bruises and sprains.
- Fresh leaf-tea used for malaria.
- Tree and root barks have been used for malaria, jaundice, and for intestinal parasitism.
- Edible pulp of the fruit used for hemorrhoids.
- Used for scabies and many other skin diseases.
- When soaked in water, used for bathing and as postcoital contraceptive.
- Spermicide made from plant sold in India.
Ayurvedic medicine
• Leaf- leprosy, intestinal parasites, eye problems, skin ulcers
• Bark - pain and fever.
• Flower - bile suppression, intestinal worms and phlegm.
• Fruit - piles, intestinal worms, urinary disorder, nose bleeding , phlegm, eye problem, diabetes, wounds and leprosy.
• Twig - cough, asthma, piles, intestinal worms, spermatorrhoea, urinary disorders, diabetes.
• Gum - ringworm, scabies, wounds and ulcers.
• Seed pulp and oil- leprosy and intestinal worms.
• Neem oil may be useful for gingivitis.
• Oil used intravaginally for spermicidal and contraceptive properties.
- Toothbrush: Young tender branches are chewed for toothbrushing use.
- Toothpaste: Extracts used in the manufacture of toothpaste for its antibacterial property.
- Insecticide: Leaves and seeds are sources of powerful insecticide Azadirachtin. Leaf's oil is used as a local antiseptic and insecticide.
- Repellent: In the rural areas, burning of leaves and seeds used as mosquito repellant. Fresh seed oil has a strong garlic odor and used as ingredient for insect sprays.
- Timber: Wood used as mahogany substitute.

Lipid Effects / Antiviral: Effect of Supplemental Garlic and Neem Leaves in Broiler Feeds on Blood Cholesterol, Triglycerides and Antibody Titer: Study showed neem had greater potential than garlic in reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and increasing the antibody titers against viruses.
Antibacterial / Anticariogenic: Study showed Neem bark constituents have the ability to suppress growth of cariogenic bacteria (Streptococcus sobrinus).
Anti-ulcer: (1) Mechanism of antiulcer effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf extract: effect on H+-K+-ATPase, oxidative damage and apoptosis: Study suggests antiulcer activity is achieved by blocking acid secretion through inhibition of H+K+ATPase and preventing oxidative damage and apoptosis. (2) Study of A indica in albino rats showed significant inhibition of basal and histamine-induced gastric acid secretion. Cimetidine seemed to augment AI inhibition of gastric acid secretion. (3) Study of neem bark extract showed therapeutic potential in controlling gastric hypersecretion and gastroesophageal and gastroduodenal ulcers. (4) Study showed neem extract to have a regenerative potential in ethanol-induced mucosal damage in the stomach and ileum and may be adopted in the management of gastrointestinal ulcer disorders.
Anti-candidal: Anticandidal activity of Azadirachta indica: Study suggested hexane and alcoholic extracts to have anticandidal potential.
Antiplaque Activity: A study was done on the effectiveness of neem leaf extract against plaque formation. Results showed the dental gel containing neem extract significantly reduced the plaque index and bacterial count of S mutans and Lactobacillus species compared with commercial chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash as control.
Antidermatophytic Activity: A study showed the neem seed extract has high antidermatophytic properties and supports the alternative use of neem oil in the treatment of various skin infections.
Biosorbent Activity: A study showed the effectiveness of the Neem leaf powder as a biosorbent for removing dyes like Congo Red from water.
Hypoglycemic / Antidiabetic Activity: (1) In a study of 30 known or less known hypoglycemic medicinal plants in folk medicine, Azadirachta indica was one of 24 samples (18th or 24) that was observed to have significant blood glucose lowering activities. (2) Study on the aqueous extracts of C roseus, Azadirachta indica and A sativum indicated significant antidiabetic activity, supporting its traditional use in Ayurveda for therapy of diabetes.
Hepatoprotective Activity: (1) A study showed A indica leaf extract showed hepatoprotective effects against paracetamol-induced hepatic damage probably through its antioxidant activity. (2) Leaf extract inhibited paracetamol induced damage. Results show A. indica offer protection to hepatocytes against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity in wistar rats.
Anti-Fertility Activity / Rodent Control: A study showed Neem seed extract can be used as an anti-fertility agent on baits to control harmful agricultural rodents.
Hypoglycemic: Study of leaf extract and seed oil showed a hypoglycemic effect in alloxan-induced diabetic rabbits. Pretreatment with A. indica leaf extract or seed oil partially prevented the blood glucose rise.
Chemopreventive: In a study evaluating the anticarcinogenic potential of A. indica against N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA)-induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Results showed A. indica may have anticancer potential against NDEA-induced hepatic cancer. There was significant reduction in tumor incidence, tumor multiplicity, and increase in survival.
Apoptosis Induction: Induction of apoptosis if one of the active strategies to arrest cancer cell proliferation. Study of an ethanolic leaf extract showed chemopreventive effects probably mediated by induction of apoptosis.
Larvicidal / Antimalarial: Study showed neem oil has good larvicidal properties for Anopheles gambiae and suppresses adult emergence. It presents as a readily available and inexpensive alternative to conventional larvicides.
Antifungal / Postharvest Fruit Disease: Study showed neem seed kernel extract on post harvest diseases showed significant reduction of four pathogens.
Natural Insecticide / Leaves / Azadirachtin: Azadirachtin, a liminoid from the Neem tree, has long been known for its strong antifeedant, insect growth regulatory and reproductive effects. Antifeedancy varies and mosquitoes are particularly sensitive. Study provides a detailed overview on azadirachtin. A prepared neem insecticide recorded mosquito bites after an hour, an efficiency of 100%. The efficiency decreased to 84.5% to 85% after one and a half to two hours.
Hypolipidemic Effects: Study in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats showed A. indica leaf extract significant reduced the total cholesterol, LDL, and VLDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. HDL-cholesterol remained unchanged.
Quinone Reductase Inhibitor / Nimbolide: Nimbolide, a limonoid, and chlorophylls isolated from a chloroform extract showed the strongest QR inducing capacity among 4 extracts of neem flowers. Results suggest nimbolide and chlorophylls may be chemopreventive potential.
Chemoprevention / Favorable Hematologic Parameters: Study in benzo(a)pyrene-induced murine forestomach tumorigenesis bioassay protocol showed favorable effects on hematological parameters with significant effect on overall well being, tumorigenesis and chemoprevention.

Toxicity Studies
Acute Toxicity Study of Neem Oil: Study of neem oil by oral route in rats and rabbits showed dose-related pharmacotoxic symptoms along with biochemical and histopathological indices of toxicity, with the changes in the lungs and CNS as target organs of toxicity.

Available in cybermarkets as supplements, oil, cakes, extracts, and organic manure.

Last Updated October 2012

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Flowers / File:Azadirachta indica flowers.jpg / Tau'olunga / ʻEpeleli 2007 / GNU Free Documentation License / Wikipedia / Or click on photo to go to source image

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Biological activities and medicinal properties of neem (Azadirachta indica) / Kausik Biswas, Ishita Chattopadhyay, Ranajit K. Banerjee* and Uday Bandyopadhyay / Department of Physiology, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4, Raja S.C. Mullick Road, Kolkata 700 032, India
Medicinal properties of Neem: New Findings / D.P. Agrawal
Effect of essential oils from two Nigerian medicinal plants (Azadirachta indica and Morinda lucida) on growth and aflatoxin B1 production in maize grain by a toxigenic Aspergillus flavus / Wiley.InterScience
Effect of Supplemental Garlic and Neem Leaves in Broiler Feeds on Blood Cholesterol, Triglycerids and Antibody Titer

Mechanism of antiulcer effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf extract: effect on H+-K+-ATPase, oxidative damage and apoptosis
Anticandidal activity of Azadirachta indica

Evaluation of antiplaque activity of Azadirachta indica leaf extract gel—a 6-week clinical study / M Raveendra Pai et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 90, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 99-103
/ doi:10.1016/j.jep.2003.09.035
EFFECT OF AZADIRACHTA INDICA (NEEM) ON THE GROWTH PATTERN OF DERMATOPHYTES / V Natarajan et al / Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology, (2003) 21 (2):98-101/

Azadirachta indica leaf powder as an effective biosorbent for dyes: a case study with aqueous Congo Red solutions / Krishna G Bhattacharyya and Arunima Sharma / Journal of Environmental Management
Volume 71, Issue 3, July 2004, Pages 217-22 / doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2004.03.002
Comparative evaluation of hypoglycaemic activity of some Indian medicinal plants in alloxan diabetic rats / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 84, Issue 1, January 2003, Pages 105-108 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00144-7 /
Effects of Azadirachta indica extract on gastric ulceration and acid secretion in rats / Yinusa Raji et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 90, Issue 1, January 2004, Pages 167-170/ doi:10.1016/j.jep.2003.09.020
/ M Mostofa et al / Bangl. J. Vet. Med. (2007). 5 (1 & 2): 99–102
Possible mechanism of hepatoprotective activity of Azadirachta indica leaf extract against paracetamol induced hepatic damage in rats: Part III / R R Chattopadhyay and M Bandyopadhyay /Indian J Pharmacol | June 2005 | Vol 37 | Issue 3 | 184-185/
Acute toxicity study of the oil from Azadirachta indica seed (neem oil) / Gandhi M et al / J Ethnopharmacol. 1988 May-Jun;23(1):39-51
Clinical studies on the effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) bark extract on gastric secretion and gastroduodenal ulcer / Uday Bandyopadhyay et al / Life Sciences • Volume 75, Issue 24, 29 October 2004, Pages 2867-2878/ doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2004.04.050
Antibacterial Effects of Crude A indicaq Neem Bark Extract on Streptococcus sobrinus / Mohashine Bhuiyan MD et al / Dept of Pedia Dentistry, Okayama, Japan
Sterility effects of Neem (Azadirachta indica) extract on male rat
/Masoumeh Mahmoudi Meymand et al / Journal of Reproduction and Infertility • Volume 3, Issue 2, Year 2002, Number 10/
Regenerative potential of aqueous extract of neem Azadirachta indica on the stomach and ileum following ethanol-induced mucosa lesion in adult Wistar rats / D.A. Ofusori B.Sc, M.Sc et al / The Internet Journal of Nutrition and Wellness. 2008 Volume 5 Number 2 /
Azadirachta indica / Common names / ZipcodeZoo
A study of hypoglycaemic effects of Azadirachta indica (Neem) in normal and alloxan diabetic rabbits. / Khosla P, Bhanwra S, Singh J, Seth S, Srivastava RK./ Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2000 Jan;44(1):69-74.
Azadirachta indica exhibits chemopreventive action against hepatic cancer: Studies on associated histopathological and ultrastructural changes. / Bharati S, Rishi P, Koul A. / Microsc Res Tech. 2012 May;75(5):586-95. doi: 10.1002/jemt.21095. Epub 2011 Oct 14.
Ethanolic Neem (Azadirachta indica) Leaf Extract Induces Apoptosis in the Hamster Buccal Pouch Carcinogenesis Model by Modulation of Bcl-2, Bim, Caspase 8 and Caspase 3
/ R Subapriya, V Bhuvaneswari, S Nagini / Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 6, 2005
Larvicidal effects of a neem (Azadirachta indica) oil formulation on the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae
Fredros O Okumu, Bart GJ Knols and Ulrike Fillinger / Malaria Journal 2007, 6:63 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-6-63
Antifungal activities of neem (Azadirachta indica) seed kernel extracts on postharvest diseases in fruits
/ Jingfa Wang, Jian Li, Jiankang Cao and Weibo Jiang / African Journal of Microbiology Research Vol. 4 (11) pp. 1100-1104, 4 June, 2010
Some Protective Effects of Aqueous Leaf Extract of Azadirachta indica on Paracetamol-induced Hepatotoxicity in Adult Wistar Rats / Ajibade Adeshina John, Fakunle Ponle Bamidele and Oloyede Adegoke OluwaSeun / American Journal of TROPICAL MEDICINE & Public Health 1(3): 97-106, 2011
Effect of Azadirachta indica leaf extract on serum lipid profile changes in normal and streptozotocin induced diabetic rats / R.R. Chattopadhyay* and M. Bandyopadhyay / African Journal of Biomedical Research, Vol 8 (2005); 101-104
Quinone Reductase Inducers in Azadirachta indica A. Juss Flowers, and their Mechanisms of Action / Hathaitip Sritanaudomchai, Thanit Kusamran, Worapun Kuakulkiat, Nuntavan Bunyapraphatsara, Ankana Hiransalee, Anong Tepsuwan,Wannee R Kusamran / Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 6, 2005

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