Neem Trees - Old Wisdom for New Global Solutions
The Neem tree is relatively faster growing than other indigenous trees in the subcontinent, such as Pipal or Bargad (Banyan) which are unfortunately rarely grown now in our country.
Like Ayurveda practiced in India from times immemorial, the 'Hikmat' medicinal system has also been in practice in the subcontinent. It is more popular in Pakistan. 'Hikmat' or the 'Unani' (Arabic for 'Greek') is a formal medicine that has been practiced for 6,000 years. It was developed by the Greek physician Hippocrates (40 – 370 B.C.) from the medicine and traditions of the ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. This system makes tremendous use of Neem as a pesticide, in medicines, oils, soaps, ointments and toothpastes. We also throw in a few Neem leaves here and there in our bookshelves and put them inside old books to prevent silverfish and other bugs from eating paper.
As a child, my mother made me wear the fine, thin Neem twigs in my earlobe holes as she always said this would prevent the holes from closing and act as antiseptic too. She of course didn't want to risk her daughter wearing gold or silver earrings to school as it wasn't permitted. In Pakistan it is also a common sight to see Neem trees planted in most villages. The rural people peel off the bark of the twig and then chew it so that it becomes like a soft brush , which they then use to rub around their gums and teeth.
Read other Neem facts on: http://www.flickr.com/groups/neem/discuss/72157605717931875/