AZADIRACHTA INDICA A. Juss.

Family: Meliaceae

Synonyms: Melia azadirachta L.

Bengali/Vernacular Name: Neem.

Tribal Name: Tamakha (Marma); Nim gaith (Tanchangya).

English Name: Neem Tree, Indian lilac, Margosa tree.

Description of the Plant:

A medium-sized to large evergreen to semi-deciduous tree with large spreading crown. Leaves alternate, imparipinnate, 20-45 cm long, crowded near the ends of the branches; leaflets 2.5-7.7 cm long, base very oblique, coarsely serrate. Flowers white, 4-5 mm long, in axillary panicles. Drupe oblong, 15-14 mm long.

Using Information:

The bark is bitter, tonic, refrigerant, anthelmintic, maturant, astringent; relieves fatigue, fever, thirst, cough and bad taste in the mouth; useful in some slight cases of intermittent fever and general debility, amenorrhoea; cures ulcers and inflammations. The root bark is more or less similar in action as stem bark. Leaves are alexiteric, anthelmintic and insecticidal; good in ophthalmia, biliousness, skin diseases and boils; decoction is good as a gargle in stomatitis and for bad gums. The strong decoction of the fresh leaves is a slight antiseptic and is used in ulcers and eczema. Fresh or recently dried leaves acts as an insect repellent, hence they are used to protect grains. The flowers are stimulant, stomachic and anthelmintic; useful in cases of atonic dyspepsia and general debility. The gum of the bark is a demulcent tonic; useful in catarrhal affections accompanied by great debility. Fruit is purgative and anthelmintic; cures urinary discharges, skin diseases, tumours, piles, and toothache.

Seed oil is anthelmintic and alterative; useful in some chronic forms of skin diseases and ulcers and a universal external application for rheumatism. The dry nuts possess, almost the same medicinal properties as the oil, but they require being bruished and mixing with water or some other liquid before use. About 250 gm of leaves are boiled in 1 litre of water until reduced to 250 ml and is used as a gargle which cures swollen gums, pain and pyorrhea. Ash of stems is also used to cure pyorrhea. Pills made from the leaf paste are given to cure scabies along with bath with the leaf boiled water. The leaf juice is given in jaundice. Kernel powder of seeds is repellent against various insects; hence used as protectant against stored grain pests. Karnel is one of the constituents in hair composition useful in preventing hair loss and treatment of dandruff. Seed cake used as insecticide and nematicide, possesses vermicidal properties. In Khagrachari leaves are used in malaria.

EtOH(50%) extract of the bark exhibits antiviral, anticancer and spasmogenic properties; it is also antibacterial against E. coli. Leaves possess antiviral and antifungal properties. Essential oil possesses anti-tubercular properties (Asolkar et al., 1992).

AZADIRACHTA INDICA A. Juss.
AZADIRACHTA INDICA A. Juss.

Chemical Constituents:

Various parts of the plant and the Neem oil contain triterpenoid bitter principles, saponins, flavonoids, tannins and alkaloids. The bitter principles include nimbidin, nimbin, nimbinine, 6-descetylnimbinine, nimbidol, nimbolide and bakayanin. In addition to these, the leaves contain azadirachtin, salanin, meliantriol, margosopicrin, paraisine, azadinine, nimbinene, nimbolide, quercetin and its glycosides, ?-sitosterol, n-hexacosanol, nonacosane, ascorbic acid and amino acids. Barks contain nimbolins A, B, organic acids, tannin, margosin, azadarin, kulinone, kulactone, kulolactone and methyl kulonate. Flowers contain essential oil, kaempferol, kaempferol glucoside, nimbosterin and N-nonacosane. Fruits contain resins, tannins, triterpenoids, salanin and azadirachtin, melianone, oil and organic acids.

Kernel contains triterpenoids, salanin, azadirachtin, oil and fatty acids. Seeds contain six tetranor-triterpenes and four new limonoids, 11-hydroxy-azadirachtin-B, 1-tigloyl-3-cetyl-azadirachtin, 1,2-diacetyl-7-tigloyl-12-hydroxylvilasinin and 23-desmethyl-limocin-B. 24-methylenecycloartanone, cycloeucalenone, 24-methylenecycloartanol, cycloeucalenol, 4-stigmasten-3-one, 4-campesten-3-one, triacontanol, vanillic aldehyde, trans-cinnamic acid and vanillic acid have been isolated from roots. Nim oil contains margosic acid and tiglic acid. The isolation and structure elucidation of the antimalarial agent of the plant gedunin, has been reported in 1989 (Gani, 2003; Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1993).

Distribution:

Planted all over Bangladesh.