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Scientific Name of Neem
The neem plant is evergreen and is an inhabitant of tropical regions. The neem plant is very beneficial to mankind as it has various uses and no other plant has such diverse uses as it does. According to some studies neem plants can be used for controlling pests, may help in the reduction of erosion, can prove helpful in birth control, can be an economical source of medicine, may reduce the rate of deforestation, and prove helpful in combating global warming.
Image 1: Fresh green neem leaves or azadirachta indica leaves, and neem twigs
Importance of Neem
Almost every part of neem is helpful in medicinal preparations. Most commonly barks, leaves, and seeds are used. Its roots, fruits, and flowers are used rarely in medicinal preparations.
Leaves of the neem are used in treating various disorders such as disorders of the eyes, nose bleeding, stomach infection, anorexia, cold and cough, heart diseases, fever, gingivitis, skin acne, ulcers, and liver disorders.
Neem leaves also cause abortion and they are used in birth control.
The bark of the neem is also used for treating various diseases such as stomach ulcers, malaria, ulcers of the intestine, fever, pain, and skin diseases.
The flower of neem causes reduction of bile secretion in case of liver disease, reduces phlegm production in chest infection, and is also effective in treating intestinal worms.
The flower proves helpful in treating various diseases such as disorders of the urinary tract, nose bleeding, diabetes, eye disorders, and leprosy. It also helps in the reduction of phlegm and the healing of wounds.
Twigs of neem are used for treating disorders of the urinary tract, cough, asthma, diabetes, oligospermia, intestinal worms, etc. Within a time, span of 2 weeks of harvesting, twigs get infected with fungi, so they should be used very early or should be avoided completely.
The neem oil is made from the neem seed. Both neem seeds and neem oil are used in treating intestinal worms and leprosy. They also have birth control properties and cause abortion.
Fruit, the bark of the root, and the stem possess the astringent property.
Neem is very beneficial for the skin and is safe to use on the skin. Neem can be applied directly on the face for skin softening. It can also be directly applied to the skin to treat head lice, wounds, and ulcers on the skin. Neem also acts as a mosquito repellent.
Neem can also act as an insecticide.
Scientific Name of Neem Plant
Scientists provide a unique name for each plant to make classification easier, it is called the scientific name of that plant. The scientific name of any living organism is assigned according to the Binomial nomenclature. This naming system helps to avoid confusion among the common names of species. Because every plant, in every region, is known by its common name which will be difficult for the non-native person to understand.
According to the Binomial nomenclature rule, a scientific name consists of a genus and a specie name. The first letter of the genus name is written in capitals and the species name starts with small letter. Scientific names are always written in Italics (if typing) and are underlined (if written by hand). There should space between the genus name and the specie name.
The scientific name of neem is Azadirachta indica. Neem is also known as Indian Lilac/Pride of China/Bead tree/Aristha/Holy tree etc.
Classification of Neem
Kingdom - Plantae
Division - Magnoliophyta
Class - Magnoliopsida
Order - Sapindales
Family - Meliaceae
Genus - Azadirachta
Species - indica
Magnoliopsida (Angiospermae) is a class of flowering plants that contains the dicot plants such as neem.
Uses of Neem
There are various therapeutic uses of neem due to its antioxidant properties and the presence of various secondary metabolites such as nimbin, nimbolinin, azadirachtin, nimbidin, nimidol, quercetin, and salnin.
Various uses of neem are discussed below:
The neem plant causes the breakdown of the cell of microbes thus acting as an antimicrobial agent. Some studies suggest that neem leaves (Ethanol extract) show antibacterial activity against some bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. Antimicrobial activity is also shown by neem seeds and fruits but provided the concentration is very high.
Neem plant also exhibits antiviral activity. Studies show that extracts of neem bark prevent the entry of HSV-1. Thus neem plant shows an anti-HSV-1 property. Leaf extract of neem also shows anti-viral activity against coxsackievirus.
Neem leaf act as a potent antifungal agent against various fungi such as Rhizopus, Aspergillus, Alternaria, Cladosporium, C. lunata, H. pennisetti, and C. gloeosporiodes. Neem oil extracted from neem seeds also possess antifungal activity.
Neem leaf and bark act as anti-malaria agents Plasmodium berghei and Plasmodium falciparum.
Neem also possesses anti-inflammatory activity. Leaf extract of neem act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. According to some recent studies, secondary metabolite nimbidin inhibits the action of macrophages and neutrophils which are responsible for inflammatory responses. Neem oil and fruit skin of neem also act as anti-inflammatory agents.
The secondary metabolite called nimbolide is present in the liver and possesses hepatoprotective function. According to some studies, nimbolide restores liver function. Aqueous leaf extract of neem prevents any alterations in the levels of liver enzymes such as aminotransferase, alkaline phosphate, and alanine aminotransferase, thus preventing any histological change in the liver.
The production of ROS or free radicals is responsible for various diseases. These free radicles are neutralized by antioxidants. These antioxidants also help in the activation of antioxidative enzymes that plays crucial in causing the oxidative burst and resulting in the utilization of ROS. Leaf, flower, and stem bark of neem shows a potent antioxidant activity.
Cancer is one of the major burning health issues in the world. The limonoids present in the neem plant possess anticancerous activity. Various secondary metabolites present in the neem activate the tumor suppressor genes and suppress the activation of proto-oncogenes.
The scientific name of Neem is Azadirachta indica. It is commonly known as Bead tree/Arishta/Indian Lilac, etc. It belongs to the family Meliaceae and is a dicot. Neem possesses various medicinal and other properties. Neem is used in the treatment of various diseases such as diabetes, eye disorders, skin disorders, liver diseases, etc.
Q1. Name the component in the neem which contributes to the cytotoxicity of neem extracts.
Ans: Nimbolide is a tetranortriterpenoid that contributes majorly to the cytotoxicity of the neem.
Q2. How does neem help in wound healing?
Ans: Neem helps in wound healing by increasing the inflammatory responses and by the formation of new blood vessels.
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