The neem oil is extracted from the seeds of a tree of Asian origin, the azadirachtia indica, a plant closely related to the Melia azedarach and mahogany. It is an evergreen tree, now widespread in most of the globe, with large, imparipinnate leaves, dark green; it develops up to about 12-15 meters, with a broad and dense crown. It tolerates insolation very well and can survive even in conditions of prolonged drought, even if sometimes in these cases it loses its foliage, in part or completely.
It produces long panicles of small, fragrant white flowers, followed by drupes similar to olives, brown in color, with a large oily seed.
The oil of neem seeds has a very strong and not very pleasant smell, and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, in India in fact the neem tree is called the tree that cures 40 different diseases.
In fact leaves, seeds, fruits, bark, are always used in India, to cure many diseases, such as acne and other skin problems, digestive problems, nausea, vomiting, respiratory problems, dental problems.
Neem oil in herbal medicine
There are several studies on the neem plant, some of which confirm its validity as a medicinal plant; the active ingredients present in the entire plant have anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, anti-fungal, anti-dysentery and other digestive disorders, even as an antacid. In cosmetics the oil extracted from the seeds is used to take advantage of its emollient, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Many Neem plants were planted in central Africa decades ago, because they were said to fight malaria, in fact it seems that neem leaves have an unpleasant odor for mosquitoes, which therefore tend not to develop in areas with many of these trees .
Neem oil in agriculture
This oil has spread widely in recent years among gardening enthusiasts, as it was widely used as an organic product against plant pests, in particular against cochineal. In fact, neem oil acts as a repellent against many insects of all kinds, including lice and fleas; it is used in areas heavily affected by tiger mosquitoes, as a few drops of oil placed in areas with stagnant water seem to rapidly remove mosquitoes, including their larvae and eggs.
In Italy it is not difficult to find products based on neem oils, or azadirachtina, both for the garden, but also in cosmetics, such as anti-wrinkle and emollient creams, detergents, anti-inflammatory lotions.