Neem has many uses but its most commercially important product is oil from its seeds. This is known as neem oil or margosa oil.
The NEEM tree (Azadirachta indica) is a tropical evergreen tree native to India and is also found in other southeast countries. In India, neem is known as “the village pharmacy” because of its healing versatility, and it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4,000 years due to its medicinal properties.
Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree and has insecticidal and medicinal properties due to which it has been used for thousands of years in pest control, cosmetics, medicines, etc.
Neem seed cake (residue of neem seeds after oil extraction) when used for soil amendment or added to soil, not only enriches the soil with organic matter but also lowers nitrogen losses by inhibiting nitrification. It also works as a nematicide.
Neem leaves are used to treat chickenpox and warts by directly applying to the skin in a paste form or by bathing in water with neem leaves. In order to increase immunity of the body, neem leaves are also taken internally in the form of neem capsules or made into a tea. The tea is traditionally taken internally to reduce fever caused by malaria. This tea is extremely bitter. It is also used to soak feet for treating various foot fungi. It has also been reported to work against termites. In Ayurveda, neem leaves are used in curing neuromuscular pains. Neem leaves are also used in storage of grains.
Neem oil, leaves and neem extracts are used to manufacture health and beauty care products. Some of such products are soaps, bath powders, shampoos, lotions and creams, toothpastes, neem leaf tablets to increase immunity, insect repellents, pet care products, etc.
Neem extracts have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on food crops. It has been proven in various research studies that Neem is non-toxic to birds, beneficial insects or humans and protects crops from over 200 of the most costly pests.