An Herb That Heals
Also known as the Neem Tree or Indian Lilac, the Azadirachta Indica is native to the subcontinent of India, including India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Best in tropical and semi-tropical regions, it requires zones 10 – 12 in order to grow to its best.
You’ll find the Neem Tree on Islands in some other tropical areas where the fruits and seeds are used to produce neem oil. Though the neem oil has been used for many different purposes and is safe to be used around pets and humans. In general, neem oil is very versatile and is used to treat hair health, acne, the liver, blood and even balancing blood sugar levels for those with diabetes. The neem oil produced by the Neem Tree, has the dual purpose use as a pesticide or fungicide to treat plants. Neem oil kills insects at all stages of life and can safely be used on any outdoor or interior plant. On the flip side, neem oil makes a great fungicide and can be used to treat various common fungal diseases including: scab, rust, black spot, leaf spot, anthracnose, and tip blight. To prevent fungus, you will want to spray the plants infected for 7 to 14 days until there are no longer signs of fungus.
In some parts of India you’ll find that the shoots and the flowers of this plant are also eaten and made into soup. This is also common in areas of Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.
While some areas consider this plant to be a weed, because of how invasive it can be and also how quickly it can grow, this tree is actually highly resistant to many situations that could hurt less sturdy trees. It’s ideal in full sun to partial shade, but this huge tree, that can easily reach over 75 feet, can withstand even a drought without seeing negative effects.
The white flowers are large and droop down off the tree, as do the olive looking fruits that are then cracked open to reveal the seeds that are used for other purposes. Nearly every part of this plant can be used for something, with even the leaves being dried to keep out insects.