Botanical Name : Azadirachta indica
Acknowledging the importance of the Neem tree, a book was published in the United States of America through its National Research Council, titled "NEEM" - A Tree for Solving Global Problems".
Native to India and Burma, Neem is a botanical cousin of mahogany. The Neem tree is tall and spreading like an oak and bears masses of honey-scented white flowers which are locust-shaped. Its complex foliage resembles that of walnut or ash, and its swollen fruits look much like olives. Neem is seldom leafless and the shade it imparts throughout the year is a major reason why it is prized in India . The subcontinent contains an estimated 18 million Neem trees, most of them lined along roadsides or clustered around markets and backyards to provide relief from the sun.
Neem is a mature and organized industry in India with a well-laid out system of collection, processing and marketing. In the last couple of years, products made out of Neem are gaining greater acceptance in certified organic farming.
Probably no other tree is as useful or beneficial or yields as many products and bye-products. Scientists foresee that the Neem tree will usher in a new era of pest control, provide millions with inexpensive medicines, cut down the rate of population growth and solve other ecological problems affecting the globe.
According to the World Health Organization, misuse or overuse of chemical pesticides result in over 20,000 deaths and a million illnesses in the Third World alone. The natural insecticides, fungicides and biopesticides made out of neem have many advantages : research studies indicate that they are not harmful to humans or animals, harmful insects don't become resistant to them even over future generations, beneficial insects like butterflies, ladybugs, etc are spared, the soil is enriched, and neem extracts leave no residue in the environment.