Neem is currently one of the world’s most researched trees. It is a tree that can help solve global environmental and health concerns.
Environmentally, Neem has a reputation as a natural air purifier, exhaling out oxygen and keeping the oxygen level in the atmosphere balanced. Neem's ability to withstand extreme heat and water pollution is well known. It also helps to improve fertility of the soil and to rehabilitate degraded wastelands.
The Neem tree can also play a vital role in controlling soil erosion, salination and preventing floods. But Neem is far more than a tough tree that grows vigorously in difficult sites. Among its many benefits, the one that is most unusual and immediately practical is the control of farm and household pests. Some entomologists now believe that Neem has such remarkable powers for controlling insects that it will usher in a new era in safe, natural pesticides.
The ecosystem is a major issue on the global agenda and preserving the ecosystem is a priority. A UN study predicts that by the year 2050, most of Asia and Africa will be reduced to a dust bowl if we continue the way we are going. Another study by FAO points out that some pests may soon be beyond control! Neem seed contains bio-active fractions that can help in pest management strategies and help us save our environment. This bio-activity of Neem based products has been extensively evaluated and proven. Because of the fear of toxic residues in food products associated with the use of chemical pesticides, there is a growing need for pest control agents of plant origin which do not leave any toxic residues. Though many plant chemicals have been reported to be suitable for this, Neem is the only plant from which the bio-pesticides are commercially manufactured, found effective, eco-friendly and acceptable to the farmers. Neem pesticides are now increasingly used in India on crops like cotton, vegetables, fruit trees, coffee, tea, rice and spices.
If you are discovering Neem for the first time, here are some quick amazing Neem facts :
- the tree is known to cure more than ONE HUNDRED diseases.
- neem is both a pest control material and as well as a fertilizer, making it an invaluable farm companion.
- neem is an intelligent pest repeller - it affects only harmful pests and does not affect useful species in the farm!
- neem has a four-pronged repellant action and complex molecular structure which ensures that pests don’t become immune to it.
- it gives more oxygen than other trees, making it a champion pollution fighter.
- just sleeping under the shade of a neem tree is therapeutic.
- the tree is known to halt spreading deserts.
- It’s leaf and it’s extract are a natural substance that don’t simply mask symptoms but encourage your body to heal itself.
- Its completely safe and causes no harm or side-effects. It has been used as a health and beauty aid in India for more than 5000 years!
- It was considered a divine tree by ancient Indians.
- A world conference is held every three years to discuss the research and discoveries modern science is making, on this single tree. And there is lots to show and tell!
As if all this wasn’t amazing enough, the Neem is a hardy tree that requires almost no water and grows happily on wastelands.
Native to Indo-Burma region, neem is distributed throughout South and Southeast Asia, i.e. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. In addition neem is found in several other countries spread over continents. Neem now has become a global tree.
Neem was introduced to Africa earlier this century. It was brought from India. Now it is planted extensively in the tropical regions of Africa, particularly in the regions along the Sahara’s southern fringe.
Indentured labourers from India carried neem with them as a part of the India heritage to many countries to which they migrate such as Fiji, Mauritius and the Caribbean. The tree is now also well established in the Middle East and South America.
In recent times Neem has been introduced into Saudi Arabia, Yemen, China (Hainan Island), and Philippines. Small plantings of neem are also found in USA (South Florida and Hawaii), Brazil and Australia. This presence is, however, scattered and exploratory.