What is Neem?
What is neem?
Neem is a tree, native to India, that is used as a natural pesticide and fertilizer, as a natural ingredient in cosmetics, as an additive to livestock feed and in pet care products, and even in healthcare treatments!
Every part of the tree can be used – the bark, the leaves, the flowers, the gum, the fruit, and the seeds.
The seeds are pressed to make neem oil
The flowers are used for aromatherapy and in food
The bark can be used as a toothbrush.
The leaves have many uses.
Why is neem important?
Our planet is coming to a pivotal turning point. In the past 250 years, the global population has increased 10-fold. By 2050, we will have reached 10 billion people. Why should we be concerned?
In the early 1800s, we hit the 1 billion mark. The first Industrial Revolution gave us the opportunity to grow, and the Green Revolution of the 1960s allowed the exponential growth of the population to continue unhindered, With the creation of synthetic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, we survived and thrived, but without realizing the profound impact these chemical inputs had on the planet we depend on to live. Many of these consequences have been ignored, but with the research and obvious impacts of climate change, we must now pay attention before it is too late to save our planet for future generations to enjoy.
In order to accomplish this, we must change, and fast. We must implement new agricultural strategies and techniques. They must be sustainable, viable, and thus, natural. Neem is the perfect opportunity to alter and reverse the damage we, as humans, have caused on our planet in every sector while catalyzing a New Green Revolution that focuses on sustainable growth.
As a biopesticide, neem acts as an herbicide, eliminating the risks that many synthetic pesticides pose to animals, pollinators, our health, and the environment. Many of these synthetic pesticides are carcinogenic, seep into our water, and kill vital pollinators, like bees.
In India, neem-coated urea, a nitrogen-based fertilizer, is revolutionizing farming methods by providing a safe, cheaper, and more efficient way to introduce nitrogen to plants.
In the cosmetics sector, neem is a natural, organic ingredient. One amazing compound it contains is quercetin, which is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant. When used on the face, it can reduce red spots and acne. Neem even acts as a natural moisturizer.
In the animal sector, neem cake is given to livestock as a dietary supplement. However, it doesn’t just provide many of the nutrients that livestock need, but it also acts as an antibacterial. Therefore, it eradicates many of the pests that are currently eliminated with antibiotics, which leads to antibiotic resistance.
In the healthcare sector, neem is only just starting to be researched. There are studies showing that neem is a viable option in curing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, AIDS, influenza, and cystic fibrosis.
Additionally, neem can help treat ulcers, quickly heal wounds, treat digestive issues, eczema, psoriasis, help prevent malaria, and many others.
Environmentally, the neem tree is a safe, non-toxic tool. Instead of polluting our waters, soils, and air, it has amazing carbon sequestration capabilities, effectively helping to reduce the impact our technology has imposed on the environment while combatting deforestation.
Neem has many secrets left to be discovered, but by realizing the benefits and opportunities that this miracle of nature has given us, we can change the world.