The Wonder Herb - Neem
Neem is one of the most versatile drugs. It is used in the preparation of a variety of medicines. Neem is called ‘Nimba’ in Sanskrit which means that it helps in maintaining normal health. Neem in Ayurveda is used to treat a variety of diseases, particularly skin diseases.
The scientific name of the drug ‘Nimba’ is Azadirachta indica. It belongs to the family Meliaceae. The Neem tree is a perennial tree that flowers during March-May and the fruits ripen during July-August. Hindus consider the Neem tree to be sacred and almost every part of the tree is beneficial. Neem is given along with jaggery during the Ugadi (Hindu new year) festival to signify the joys and sorrows of life.
The properties of Nimba are it is bitter and astringent in taste and light to digest. It undergoes conversion to pungent taste after digestion. It is cold in nature and helps in balancing Kapha and Pitta dosha.
Nimba is called by various names based on the characteristics of the tree. It is called ‘Neta’ as it is one of the bittersweet drugs and ‘Kakaphala’ which means the fruits are eaten by the crows. It is also called Varatwacha which means the bark of the tree is the best medicine for skin diseases. Nimba is included under Kandugna and Tiktaskanda gana according to Acharya Charaka.
Bhavaprakasha has described the qualities of Nimba as that which imparts cooling nature to the body, is light and easy for digestion, absorbs moisture from intestines, and is not good for the heart. It is helpful in relieving strain, excessive thirst, cough, fever, and tastelessness. It is also useful in healing wounds, diabetes, and treating numerous skin diseases.
There are various formulations in Ayurveda that make use of Nimba. Kasisadi ghrita, Jatyadi ghrita, Arogyavardhini gutika, Nimba patradiupanaha and Panchaguna taila make use of Nimba leaves. Using barks of Nimba, Nimbadi kwatha churna, Nimbadi churna, Panchanimba churna, Panchtiktha guggulu ghrita, and Pathyadi kwatha churna are prepared. Other preparations using Nimba are Nimbarishta, Nimbataila, Rakthashodhaka vati, Mahamanjistadyarishta and Jwarasamhara rasa.
Neem as mentioned before is useful in treating diabetes and skin diseases. Along with reducing blood glucose levels, neem is very beneficial in healing wounds. Neem powder is used for bathing in repeated skin infections. Leaves and barks of Nimba have anti-microbial properties, removes foul smell, reduces burning sensation and itching. Oil extracted from the neem fruit is pungent, hot in potency, and useful in treating skin diseases.
In the case of Urticaria, leaves of Neem and Amalaki are dried and mixed with ghee and given regularly. In skin conditions like Kushta, Nimba and Patola are given in various forms.
Panchanimba churna is also useful in treating Kushta. In the case of pruritis and itching, Nimbadi guggulu is useful. Nimbadi churna along with other medications is useful in treating Psoriasis. Nimba patra lepa is used for application on wounds. Nimba taila under medical supervision is given as internal medication in cases of worm infestation, wounds, piles, and eye disorders. Nimba taila is applied externally in hair lice and dandruff.
Thus, we gained a lot of information about Neem and its benefits, particularly in skin diseases. It is also one of the healthiest herbs that have found its place in Indian kitchens. I hope you had a great time reading about the wonder drug Nimba. We shall learn something new in the next blog.
I recommend Bhama Veda’s Neem capsules as they are one of the easiest ways to consume Neem.
About The Author
Dr. Soumya S
Hailing from Bengaluru, Dr. Soumya S is one of the well known doctors from the city. She has finished her B.A.M.S from the prestigious college of Rajiv Gandhi University of health sciences. She has also taken training to be a yoga instructor.