The Naturally Wonderful Neem Tree

The Naturally Wonderful Neem Tree
The Naturally Wonderful Neem Tree

There is a well known phrase in Hindi, “Sachai Neem ki taraha karwee hoti hai” which translated means “The truth is as bitter as the Neem.” The Neem Tree has many ingredients-used in medicine, agriculture and with an acquired taste, known as ‘Sadow‘ in cooking.

Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem, nimtree or Indian lilac, is a tree in the mahogany family It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to the Indian subcontinent. The neem is fast growing and achieves average heights of 15 to 20 metres. After four years, the tree bears for the first time, fruits. After ten years, it provides 40 to 50 kilograms of fruits.

Under favorable conditions it can grow up to 40 metres and a live span of up to 200 years of age. Although the tree has been studied for decades, many of his agents are not fully understood. Neem contains more than 100 different chemical ingredients in the roots, the bark, leaves and fruits. The neem, or sadow in Thai, grows throughout Thailand and is one of a few trees that lose its leaves in January and then immediately flowers.

The new flowers and leaves are picked with its branch attached. As probably the most bitter thing you can taste, you can either blanch it or grill it, blanching it in boiling water a couple of times to reduce the bitterness. You take the base of the stem in one hand and then pull the individual stems through the pinched finger and thumb of your other hand. Sadow is only for those who dare to try the most bitter flavours Sadow is served with grilled shrimp or grilled fish and sweet and sour tamarind sauce. These flavours collide with the bitterness of sadow. Sadow is only for those who dare to enjoy strong flavours and not ecommended for kids. Plant parts of the neem tree and products are antibacterial and antiviral and can be used as an insecticide, fungicide, spermicide, fertilizer and feed. Indian doctors have been applying neem products for over 2,000 years against anemia, hypertension, hepatitis, ulcers, leprosy, hives, thyroid and digestive disorders and in the medicines of Ayurveda.

Neem is used as a remedy for head lice and in the dental and oral hygiene, and to help in diabetes mellitus and cancer as well as reducing cholesterol levels. Indian researchers have confirmed these effects and today worldwide science is recognising and proving the effects of this wonder tree. Neem may be the cure more than forty diseases major and minor. The greatest use of Neem in the future is likely to be in the pharmaceutical industry. In agriculture and gardening, seeds and oil are used as fertiliser and in the control and prevention of insect-, nematode-, mites and fungi infestation. Solutions are spraying against insect pests. While resistance has been observed with chemical pesticides for insects, , with Neem solutions no resistances are expected, because of their complexity.

About the Author; Introducing Dr George

George F. Grossniklaus or Dr George, as we like to call him, lists his special interests as Ornithology, Botany and Morphology, but that’s just scratching the surface of his diverse repertoire of talents.

Add to that his educational record with a PHD in Business Economics from Harvard, his professional career, including a primary role in developing Dubai and Oman’s tourism industry and as Chairman of a Swiss Educational Institution and you’re getting closer; but there’s much more. Dr George is also the author of a book about tropical botany and compendiums of his interests in a very wide range of subjects, many with a philosophical edge. But then we shouldn’t forget he retired from the Swiss Air Force as Lieutenant Colonel after a seven year stint as a jet fighter pilot; he’s a more than handy golfer and has claims as an artist; PHEW! Our interest in Dr George was his approach to provide future articles for us to publish, focusing on botany and our diverse wildlife. This prompted a visit to his home in Hua Hin and a fascinating insight into the many-facetted talents of Dr George. Once again Hua Hin has attracted an amazing character to our community with all the bono fides we expect from contributors to our publication.

We welcome Dr George’s contribution to our publication and to his insights and knowledge.