Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Neem is the common name of an extremely important tree native to the Indian subcontinent, although it now grows in certain parts of the Middle East as well. With the scientific name of Azadirachta indica, neem trees are actually in the mahogany family of trees, Meliaceae. Neem trees grow very rapidly and have broad spreading leaves, which they can drop quickly in a drought so as to protect the rest of the trees. This quality makes neem trees extremely resilient to challenging environments; it is primarily found in tropical and subtropical zones and thrives there. The flowers are very fragrant and white in color, while the fruit of the neem tree is a small drupe with a bittersweet pulp.
Neem leaves are widely sought after and are a major industry in the subcontinents, as these valuable leaves can be used for many different things. The oil from neem leaves can be extracted and used in a wide variety of uses, while the leaves can be dried and used as an herb or even as a pest repellent. In many areas of India, the shoots and flowers of the tree are also used in culinary applications. Neem contains a very unique composition of organic compounds and beneficial components, making products derived from neem very popular in alternative and herbal remedies. From tea and garnishes to skin salves and herbal supplements, neem is considered one of the most important and versatile plants in Indian culture. Let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of neem.