Neem: The tropical miracle tree

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The neem tree is native to summer hardy deciduous forests in India and Pakistan, but has now been naturalized in the subtropical and tropical climates of almost all continents. It grows very fast and is very drought-tolerant, as it throws its leaves in the absence of rain to protect against drought damage.

Olive-like drupes

The neem tree grows up to 20 meters high and after only a few years bears the first fruits. Adult trees provide up to 50 kilograms of the olive-like, up to 2.5 centimeters long stone fruits, which usually contain only one, more rarely two hard-shelled seeds. The neem oil, the starting material for the production of NeemprÀparate, is pressed from the dried and crushed seeds. They contain up to 40 percent oil. However, the active ingredients are contained in different composition in leaves and other parts of plants.

Neem tree fruits

The fruits of the neem tree

Neem oil is a millennia-old natural medicine

In India and Southeast Asia, neem oil has been valued for millennia. The term Neem or Niem, originating from Sanskrit, means "disease facilitator", because with his help one becomes master of pests in the house and garden. Also in East Africa and the Middle East, the tree is valued as a supplier of natural insecticides. But not only that: In the Indian naturopathy NeemprÀparate have been prescribed for 2000 years against all kinds of human ailments, including anemia, hypertension, hepatitis, ulcers, leprosy, hives, thyroid disease, cancer, diabetes and indigestion. It also acts as a remedy for head lice and is used in oral hygiene.

The neem tree delivers around 100 different active ingredients

Azadirachtin is the name of the most important active ingredient that has been manufactured synthetically since 2007. The comprehensive effect of NeemprÀparate but based on a whole drug cocktail. 20 ingredients are known today, while another 80 are largely unexplored. Many of them help to protect the plants.
The main active ingredient azadirachtin has a similar effect to the hormone ecdysone. It prevents the multiplication and moulting of various pests from the aphid to the spider mite. Azadirachtin is approved under the name Neem-Azal in Germany as a plant protection product. It has a systemic effect, that is, it is absorbed by the plants and accumulates in the leaf tissue, through which it then enters the body of the predators. Neem-Azal shows good effectiveness against, among other things, the floury apple aphid and the Colorado beetle.
The ingredient Salannin effectively protects garden plants against insect feeding. Meliantriol has a similar effect and even stops migratory locusts. The active ingredients Nimbin and Nimbidin act against various viruses.

neem seeds

The neem seeds released from the pulp are first dried, then ground and squeezed out

Neem press cake against nematodes

In its entirety, Neem not only works against numerous pests and diseases, but also improves the soil. The press residues from oil production - called press cake - can be used, for example, as a mulching material. They enrich the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients and at the same time act against harmful nematodes (nematodes) in the soil.

Decisive for the efficiency of neem is early treatment, because during the first stages of development lice, spider mites and miner flies are particularly sensitive. The plants should be thoroughly wetted so that as many pests as possible are hit. Who uses Neem-based funds, must know that not all animals die immediately after spraying, but they stop immediately to suck or to eat. On days with strong sunlight you should not use Neem preparations, because the Azadirachtin is decomposed by the UV radiation very quickly. To slow this process, many neem products contain UV-blocking substances.
As various studies have shown, beneficials are hardly damaged by neem. Even with bee colonies that collected the nectar of treated plants, no significant impairment was found.

Video Board: 12 Amazing Health Wonders of The Neem Tree.

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