Sunday, June 12, 2011
“Neem the Panacea for all Diseases!”
In Thailand they call it “Saddow”; the trees can be found growing in dry locations. It is itself a member of the mahogany family and is native to India and S.E. Asia. You can ask your garden centre to source a sapling for you; it just might be a valuable addition to your garden!
“Azardirachta Indica” to give the plant its proper name has played an important role in ayurvedic medicine for more than 3000 years. Ayurveda is a term than comes from the combination of two Sanskrit words which translate as “life science”. Similar to the ancient tradition of Chinese medicine this Indian system believes an imbalance of body, mind or spirit is the root cause of all disease. Bring harmony to the system and wellness returns.
Neem has so many medicinal uses that it has been described as “the village pharmacy “in Ayurvedic literature, where it is depicted like this: ‘Neem bark is cool, bitter, astringent, acrid and refrigerant. It is useful in tiredness, cough, fever, loss of appetite, worm infestation. It heals wounds and vitiated conditions of kapha, vomiting, skin diseases, excessive thirst, and diabetes. Neem leaves are reported to be beneficial for eye disorders and insect poisons. It treats Vatik disorder. It is anti-leprotic. Its fruits are bitter, purgative, anti-hemorrhoids and anthelmintic’. (The Neem Foundation.)
This wonder tree has recently come to the attention of western medicine. Curiously the American pharmaceutical company W.R. Grace tried and was successful in obtaining an European patent on it. Sensibly the Indian Government objected, correctly claiming that the medicines derived from the tree had been a part of the ayurevedic pharmacopeia for several thousand years. Grace lost their patent but still had the arrogance to contest the ruling. They lost again and so the case closed! What they were trying to do was patent a fungicide derived from the tree.
Neem’s anti-mold, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties are well known in oriental medicine. In Thailand they place “saddow” leaves in rice stores to protect the crop from spoilage. In the humid tropical climate of southern Thailand mold is an ongoing problem as many will attest after the recent rains. Ceilings and walls developed black blotches and the sickly sweet smell of mildew seeped from cupboards, book shelves and even bed sheets. Mildew is a minute fungus which needs moisture to survive. Bathrooms with damp air trapped between four walls are a prime location for these molds. The spores settle in the mucous membrane of the human body and some strains contain mycotoxins which are hazardous to health. Washing down moldy walls with a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution usually kills the fungus. If you don’t do this you stand a chance of developing allergic reactions and sometimes illnesses like asthma, coughs, a build up of mucous, sinus conditions whilst irritations can break out in the eyes and throat. Mold also forms on spoiled food. Once you detect mold on food, don’t eat it, throw it out, it can be quite poisonous.
If we do develop symptoms like the common cough, taking Neem capsules is an excellent way of addressing the problem. Mycotoxins include an advanced form of yeast which mutates and becomes a fungus. This often happens in Candida albicans. We all have yeast in our system and it plays an important role in quelling disease, but when it changes to a fungus it can grow rhizomes or roots that penetrate cell walls and cause toxins to spread. Neem capsules are an efficient antidote to Candida problems. The plant is native to Thailand and the capsules are readily available. Supplies can be purchased from Ms. Ta’s shop, located opposite Spa Samui in Lamai. Whilst there, stock up with some of the probiotic coconut drink and coconut cheese. These products are rich in natural bacteria which help the immune system work more efficiently by providing the ammunition it needs to fight off disease. Take a look at their website at www.thaiorganiclife.com."
This article by Alister Bredee appeared in the Samu Gazette of 10th June 2011