NEEM TREE - UN's Tree of the 21st Century

Discussion in 'Trees, Shrubs and Roses' started by S-H, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    It seems that the United Nations has declared Neem (Azadirachta indica) as "The Tree of the 21st Century".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neem

    This tree is a native of Southern Pakistan, and recently has also been declared as the official tree of our Sindh province.

    It has been known for centuries as "nature's pharmacy". Extract of this tree is mainly used as insecticide, as well as a fungicide. It also repels termites wherever it is planted. Some people in India (who live below the poverty line) use this tree's extract as an effective contraceptive too (spermicide). And people with asthma also find this tree extremely beneficial. taste wise it's fruit and lives are about 3 to 5 time as bitter than eating a raw bitter gourd...

    It's wood is not good for construction, which is why this tree is never eyed by lumberjacks. But it shade is very cool and dense. Birds also love this tree a lot (often building their nests in it). And is said to attract rainfall in the desert too!

    This Neem tree is very fast growing, and extremely drought resistant (thrives in arid areas too). In the wild it will grow to about 30 feet in 15 years - But if planted in your garden (where it will get plenty of water), than it will reach the same size in just 5 years (if not less).

    I have always planted a Neem tree wherever I have lived, as I enjoy the breeze that flows through it - Which feels about 100 times fresher, and just as cool as from an air-conditioner set on high!

    ---------

    The late Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui (1897 to 1994), was the Pakistani scientist of Natural Product Chemistry. He was the world leader when it came to exploring the medicinal benefits of this tree.

    In 1942 Dr. Siddiqui's research gave the world 3 bitter compounds from neem oil, which he named as Nimbin, Nimbinin, and Nimbidin (serving as natural insecticides and fungicides).

    In acknowledgement of these revolutionary discoveries, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1946. In his later career, Dr. Siddiqui continued to discover and isolate numerous unique anti-bacterial compounds from various parts (totaling to over 50 chemical compounds patented in his name)!

    Most of these discoveries still remain vital natural ingredients of various medicines as well as biopesticides.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salimuzzaman_Siddiqui




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    Neem Tree 1 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Neem Tree 2 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Neem Tree 3 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Neem Tree 4 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Neem Tree 5 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )



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    Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )
     
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  3. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    That is a useful tree S-H. I have heard of Neem oil before, but the rest of the information is new to my ears.
     
  4. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    Yes Frank, that indeed is an extremely useful tree. Just have a look at this short documentary about Pakistan Army's Mona Depot - Where all the horses for the military are bred.

    In this film, at 5 minutes and 30 seconds, you will see them make pesticide out of Neem leaves (as no chemicals are allowed at Camp Mona).

    http://youtu.be/Y-ocqlWnS48

    Neem tree is extremely easy to grow from seeds, requires almost no maintenance, loves to be in full sunlight, thrives in hot weather, and also serves as an excellent windbreaker. Plus, it does not attract any natural pests - In fact it repels them away from your garden!

    You can also buy seedlings for just 15 Rupees (1 US Dollar equals to about 87 Pakistani Rupees).

    :stew1:
     
  5. eileen

    eileen Resident Taxonomist Staff Member Moderator Plants Contributor

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    I would love to be able to grow a Neem tree here. Apart from all its other uses it would be a real boon as an insect repellent. Many thanks for your topic about this tree S-H as I didn't know much more about it other than that you could extract Neem oil from it.
     



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  6. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    Well Eileen, I am sure the tree will do fine during Spring and Summer times. But I doubt if it would be able to survive any snow. Neem tree is actually a heat lover - However, I think it will do very well in a huge greenhouse.

    Only problem is that in about 15 to 20 years, this tree will be almost 50 feet tall, And about 80 feet wide!!! So the greenhouse would really need to be a giant one...

    But there is another type of Neem tree also, one that does not grow any taller then 12 to 15 feel. It can be considered a dwarf variety, however it is not really all that potent when it comes to it's medicinal benefits (probably because it's leaves are about half the size of the actual Neem tree).

    This small type of Neem is actually planted along roadsides. Because thanks to it's small size, it will never reach the overhead power lines and create a short-circuit.

    Neem tree is of great significance in the areas of Southern Pakistan. Has been for over a millennium - So much so that it has become a cultural icon, with lot's of folk tales as well as a very old nomadic folk song about it (sung my the people of Tharparkar desert, describing love to be as cool and refreshing as the shade of a Neem tree).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TTjQvzvx8E

    Today thanks to modernization, almost nothing of their original culture remains, except for a few songs. But fortunately, the significance of the Neem tree still has not been lost.

    By the way, Neem tree is ideal for building a tree house! :) Dried Neem tree lives can also be used in place of mothballs (as they also repel Silverfish) - They have no smell, last longer then mothballs, and cause zero allergic reactions. I often place them (the dried leaves) in the bookshelves to keep the Silverfish away.

    :stew1:
     
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  7. Philip Nulty

    Philip Nulty Strong Ash

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    Hi S-H,
    very interesting information,..i wish it could be grown here,..alas the winter would kill it,..we do get Neem Oil to use as an Insecticide,..so its a natural spray,..thanks for the posts,..well worth remembering,..what a tree!.
     
  8. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Thanks for posting this. I learned a lot from your post. I think I just fell in love with the neem tree, but like Eileen I can't grow one here.
     
  9. Tooty2shoes

    Tooty2shoes Hardy Maple

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    S-H: that is really interesting. We us neem in our lotions and shampoos. Thanks for sharing. :stew1:
     
  10. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    Thanks for liking this threat guys! :)
    Anyway I forgot to mention one thing - Neem tree repels all unwanted insects and bugs (like aphids, spider-mites, mealybugs, and termites) - But it also somehow attracts all the good type of insects too (along with earthworms in the soil).

    Just have a look at these 2 pictures. I've discovered that my Neem tree is now home to some wild honeybees too! So these will no doubt help a lot when it comes to pollination in my garden. And not only that, I think these will be of benefit to my neighbor's garden too!!!
    :stew1:

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    Bees on Neem 1 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Bees on Neem 2 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )
     
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  11. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    Just posting here once again, mainly to give at least one example of the wide range of consumer products derived from the Neem tree. There are of course some medicines too. But I currently don't have them to photograph. However this soap (and others like it) can be thought of as a medicinal soap - As it is available from the pharmacy (and mainly used to cure prickly-heat).

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    Neem soap 1 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Neem soap 2 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Neem soap 3 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )

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    Neem soap 4 ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )
     
  12. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Hardy Maple Plants Contributor

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    Thanks S-H for your post. It was interesting.
     
  13. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    I just found this amazing (non-profit) Australian website - Unbelievably useful information about Neem. How to extract oil, how to make leaf extract, and God knows what else!

    A thing to remember about Neem - Always use cold pressed oil and/or leaf extract. As heat destroys the active ingredients of Neem.

    http://www.discoverneem.com/

    Unbelievably useful tree! Used in organic pesticides, fungicides, skin & hair care products like shampoo, soap, as well as toothpaste. Also used as an anti-septic sometimes, and also in other medicines like blood thinners and internal cleansers (like anti-parasiticals). Even used for curing respiratory disorders like asthma. The tree by itself is also said to repel Malaria causing mosquitoes!

    I indeed feel very lucky to have 2 adult Neem trees growing in my home, one sapling, as well as 3 seedlings (totaling to 6).
    :stew1:

    Now please have a look at this video too, which is a clipping from Dr. David Suzuki's BBC program named "The nature of Thing" (from the mid 1990s)!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8MsIpkqZuI
     
  14. S-H

    S-H Young Pine

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    And now after the heavy rains that we here in Karachi have been experiencing for the last few weeks - I have almost a 100 Neem tree seedlings growing spontaneously!

    In the older times, A Neem tree seedling often made for an extremely noble and well thought out gift (symbolizing the well wishes of one friend to another). Today however, people thing of it as just another tree...

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    Neem Tree Seedling. ( photo / image / picture from S-H's Garden )
     
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  15. Donna S

    Donna S Hardy Maple

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    I really enjoyed all the info. I use neem oil and was happy to here how all around good it is. Thanks S-H
     
  16. luvdirtyhands1

    luvdirtyhands1 Seedling

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    I married a man from Pakistan & lived there for 8 years.I came to know of the neem tree through learning, from my 7 sisters-in-laws, how to cook Pakistani food. I fell in love with the fabulous aromatic smell & flavor of the neem leaves ( also called "curry leaves"). I planted a neem tree when we bought this house many years ago, now I have all the wonderful, fresh neem leaves for cooking + on a breezy day you can sit under it & smell that heady aroma!
     

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