Neem, Azadirachta indica Beautiful trees of Pakistan

Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta and is native to the Indian subcontinent.

Neem, Azadirachta indica Beautiful trees of Pakistan

Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta and is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is typically grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil.

Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15–20 metres. It is evergreen, but in severe droughts, it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide and spreading. The fairly dense crown is roundish and may reach a diameter of 20–25 metres.

The neem tree is noted for its drought resistance. Normally, it thrives in areas with sub-arid to sub-humid conditions and an annual rainfall of 400–1,200 millimetres. It can grow in regions with an annual rainfall below 400 mm, but in such cases, it depends largely on groundwater levels.

Neem can grow in many different types of soil, but it thrives best on well-drained, deep, and sandy soils. It is a typical tropical to subtropical tree and exists at annual mean temperatures of 21–32 °C.

It can tolerate high to very high temperatures and does not tolerate temperatures below 4 °C. Neem is one of a very few shade-giving trees that thrive in drought-prone areas, e.g., the dry coastal and southern districts of India and Pakistan.

The trees are not at all delicate about water quality and thrive on the merest trickle of water, whatever the quality. In India and tropical countries where the Indian Diaspora has reached, it is very common to see neem trees used for shade lining streets, around temples, schools, and other such public buildings, or in most people’s back yards.

In very dry areas, the trees are planted on large tracts of land. Neem leaves are dried in India and placed in cupboards to prevent insects from eating the clothes.

Azadirachta indica (Neem tree) leafs absorb heavy metals like lead from vehicular emitted smoke. So we should plant more Azadirachta indica (Neem) trees on both sides of the road to control the concentration of lead present in the vehicular smoke. By vehicular smoke and should be controlled by plantations of Azadirachta indica (Neem tree) on both sides of the road.

The uptake of trace elements by trees depends on the reserves of nutrients in the soil and their bioavailability. The exposure of roadside plants to traffic emissions can change In foliar anatomy and caused injury. The stem bark and leaves contain compounds with proven antiseptic, antiviral, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-malaria, anti-infertility, anti-ulcer, and antifungal uses.

Azadirachta indica (Neem) is a natural plant that has antimicrobial activity against a significant number of the microorganisms usually found in water sources, making individuals sick.

Neem has activity against biofilm-forming strains of some of these pathogens. For example, a neem leaf ethanolic extract was found to inhibit S. aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) biofilm adherence.

Neem has been used as an effective postharvest protectant for many crops. Most of the bioactive compounds in neem are concentrated in the seed kernels. Seeds are continually available in some areas, although seed production is restricted to once or twice a year in other areas. 

The dried neem flower is recommended orally for diabetes. In diabetic rats, neem extract (250 mg/kg) demonstrated reduced glucose (18%), triglycerides (32%), cholesterol (15%), lipids (15%), urea (13%), and creatinine (23%). In normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic animals, aqueous leaf extracts displayed an antihyperglycemic effect, but little effect occurred on peripheral utilisation of glucose and hepatic glycogen metabolism. The blood sugar-lowering effect takes place through the removal of the inhibitory effect of serotonin on insulin release (mediated by glucose) . 

The prophylactic treatment with leaf or seed oil partially prevented the alloxan-induced increase in blood sugar. In addition, nimbidiol, present in root and bark, can inhibit intestinal glucosidases and thus be beneficial in controlling diabetes.

While the trees are not dying, the attack by the fungus Phomopsis azadirachta is enough to affect the tree’s ability to produce its prized fruit, in many cases reducing its ability to flower. The extract from neem seeds is used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, while neem oil is used as an insect repellent.

Storage in the cold indicates that neem seed is sensitive to temperatures of 10 °C. At MCs of 4–8%, seeds were considerably more tolerant of low temperature storage and had an overall viability of 50% on average after 2 years of storage at temperatures between -20 and 20°C.

Stored grains are prone to attack by rodents, insects, and pathogens like fungi. Neem leaves have a bitter fragrance and some alkaloids that repel insects. It protects the stored grains from insects and pathogens like fungi. Thus, neem leaves act as insecticides during storage.

The shelf life of neem seeds is one year. It’s easy to prepare neem seeds for planting, as there’s not much to do. When the fruit falls from the tree, the pulp can be removed by rubbing it against a coarse surface when it is wet. The seeds are then washed with water to bring out clean, white seeds.

Neem can be used as manure, a urea coating agent, a soil conditioner, and a fumigant.

Its products include neem oil, soap, lubricant, cosmetics, fertiliser, timber, and fuel. Its bark, resin, honey, and food pulp are numerous. So, accepting the beautiful gift in the form of the neem tree, we must focus on its planting for a multipurpose and clean environment.

By Zahra Noor

I am student of Plant Breeding and Genetics in university of Agriculture, Faisalabad having aim to serve world in managing food issues.