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Neem Tree 0708

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The Neem Tree




Description and Rationale



The Neem tree or Azadirachta indica is a tropical evergreen that grows in many parts of the world. Those who have discovered its many describe it as a tree ‘to give good health’. It has many benefits both agriculturally and for health. The poorer parts of the Philippines are deficient in these two things particularly. Health problems are almost inevitable and poor families have a difficulty in gaining medicine, for example in dental care. Also, malnutrition is a large factor as their diets are so poor, which can lead to stunted growth and a weak immune system. Furthermore, many families have crops that do not grow well because of pests. Yet these families do not have the money or means to obtain all the materials they need for these problems that plague their ways of life. However the neem tree may be just the answer to these problems.


    Perhaps spreading both the tree and knowledge of its many helpful uses will help Filipinos in many ways. The neem tree is known for its insecticide and cure for many ailments. Could the neem tree help to assist in healing many of the diseases that poorer people get and cannot buy medicine for? The neem tree is very good for cleaning the teeth and other dental factors. Could it improve the dental care of families? The neem tree repels mosquitoes, and in the Philippines mosquitoes are the major causes for dengue and malaria as well as other diseases. Might growing neem trees assist in repelling mosquitoes without needing other insecticides? Also, other garden pests are repelled by the neem tree and would help a garden grow better without pests. The fruit is also edible and parts of the tree can be ingested to cure various other sicknesses. If the neem tree’s uses are shared with others, the lifestyles of Filipinos might greatly improve.


    The initial project will be to research more on the benefits of the neem tree and the ways that people everyday can take advantage of its uses, and also to share with some Filipinos the ways that they can profit from this unique tree.


    It is hoped that the many uses of this tree can be shown to some Filipinos who may not be able to afford the manufactured alternate of what the neem tree can do and therefore impact and improve their daily lives.

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Common Names and Synonyms


Azadirachta indica is also known as the Neem Tree. This is of course not the only name for this tree. In Hindi it is called Nim Nimb, East Africa it is known as Mwarobaini in Sanskrit it is Nimba, Vepa in Telugu, in Nigerian it is Dogon Yaro and there are many more. In the Philippines it is simply known as the Neem Tree.





Kingdom:    Plantae (plants)

Phylum:    Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)

Class:        Magnoliopsida (dicots)

Order:        Sapindales (rue, mahogany, soapberry family)

Family:    Meliaceae (mahogany family)

Genus:        Azadirachta (flowering trees)

Species:    Indica (Neem)


Morphology and Physical Description


The Neem tree on average reaches a height of about fifteen to twenty meters, sometimes more. It has wide spread branches and the crown of a neem tree may get to be about fifteen to twenty meters in diameter in mature trees. The trunk may reach a diameter of about a meter and bears hard, scaly, whitish grey to reddish-brown bark. The root system of a neem tree has a strong taproot, which is the main root of the tree, and well developed lateral roots, which are the roots that branch off from the taproot.


    The leaves are referred to as being pinnate-arranged like a feather with alternate leaves on the sides of a branch. The leaves are asymmetrical an about twenty to forty centimeters long. When mature they are a bright green color and when they are young they are a reddish to purplish color.



    The flower of the neem tree is a small white fragrant flower. The green fruit has a smooth shiny skin and is nearly round and olive-like. This kind of fruit is referred to as a drupe because it has skin on the outside and a meaty part underneath this skin and then seeds in the center of the fruit similar to a peach or a cherry. The pulp is bitter-sweet and yellowish white, and also is very fibrous and there is usually one and sometimes more seeds in the center.


Getting Food


The neem tree like any other tree uses photosynthesis to obtain energy. It takes in water from the ground through underground roots and gets light from the sun for photosynthesis.




The neem tree has both bisexual and male flowers on the same tree. The tree can self-pollinate by way of the wind but bees also help in pollination. The bees are drawn to the fragrance of the flowers. Some bees that have been observed in pollinating the neem tree are Apis florea, A. cerana, Trigona spp. and Ceratina spp. Other insects sometimes help to pollinate this tree such as moths.


Environmental Factors


The neem tree can grow in areas that do not receive much rainfall though it grows best in sub-arid to sub-humid environments. It can grow in many soils however it thrives best in sandy types of soil. It generally grows at temperatures between 21-32 °C, but is known for its resilience and flexibility with temperatures. It can also continue to grow in very high temperatures but does not do well in temperatures below about four degrees Celsius. It can also continue living off of very small amounts of water in the soil even if the water is of a very bad quality. 

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Origin and Distribution


The neem tree grows in tropical, semi-tropical regions and also deciduous forests. It is native particularly to India and grows all around Asia and Africa and in many other countries all around the world, in regions that support the habitat it needs.


Importance to People


The neem tree has many uses. Because of its ability to withstand hot temperatures and little water it provides shade for people who live in desert-like areas. It’s fruit is edible and all parts of the tree have been known to cure many different kinds of ailments by boiling into teas or other methods. The neem tree is used as a pesticide and is very helpful in keeping away pests on plants and gardens and also keeps away these pests in food storage. It not only keeps pests away from plants but helps treat plant diseases and enriches soil.

 It contains chemicals that act like a repellant or insecticide to unwanted insects such as mosquitoes which can carry harmful diseases. Some diseases that the neem tree helps to treat are skin diseases, malarial fevers, intestinal worms, syphilis boils, ulcers and more. The neem tree has been referred to as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic plant. Twigs have been used as tooth brushes and help prevent gum disease.

    Parts of the neem tree are also used in cosmetics, teas, skin care, pet care and fertilizers.


Survivability and Endangered Status


The neem tree in general is a very resilient kind of tree. As mentioned above, it can withstand high temperatures and little rainfall, and can even function on tiny amounts of underground water though the quality be very poor.  




Potential Solutions



The Neem tree has so many benefits. It is an excellent provider of shade, and the fruit can also be used for food. It promotes good health by being cure to many ailments in a free and organic way! It helps with high blood pressure, worms, rheumatism, burns, infections, head lice, malaria and many other things. It also is an simple fertilizer and pesticide, and can be used to keep pests away in storage and in gardens. It is also a natural mosquito repellant. There are so many benefits of the Neem tree that are good for the environment and simple to do at home and good for people. It is an excellent resource for the Philippines. Below are two possibilities for using the Neem tree to help Filipinos. 


Possibility 1



 One of the problems that the Filipinos have that decrease their abilities to take advantage of the Neem tree’s amazing qualities is not having the tree in the first place. So one possibility for an action step would be to start a nursery where Neem trees are more easily accessible. This would help Filipinos have a better chance of getting their hands on the Neem tree and therefore have the tree to be able to use it in the many ways that Neem trees can be used.






1.    A nursery would allow anyone to come and buy a tree and then be able to take it home and plant it and use it for pesticides or insecticides or curing diseases and such.

2.    A nursery would provide a way to introduce the tree more in parts where the Neem tree might not be very common.

3.    A nursery would allow people to come and buy trees and also ask and inquire about them.




1.    People might not immediately find out about it. This method does not make sure that people around will actually come.

2.    It doesn’t really allow people to find out about the very many uses for the Neem tree, which is the whole goal of the project.

3.    It requires a lot of time and effort.

4.    Neem trees would need to first be obtained or grown before a nursery can be established.

5.    It would require a large amount of money because the plot of land (or some sort of place to have the nursery) would need to be bought or rented to keep the Neem trees.

6.    It would require lots of time beyond this project to ensure upkeep of the place and of the nursery, such as keeping the Neem trees while people are not buying them and also continuing to water them.

7.    This method would pose a problem in the long run, because the trees would need to be gotten rid of or somehow taken care of if they were not bought and got very large.

8.    If the trees were for sale, I as a student here in the Philippines, can not legally earn money so it would not work legally.


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Possibility 2



        A second possibility would be to share findings from research with some local Filipinos. This method would be carried out by creating a small booklet with information on how the Neem tree is useful, and describe simple hands-on ways to take advantage of the Neem tree’s many benefits. These hands-on ways would be simple and easy to do at home.






1.    This method directly allows Filipinos to hear about the Neem tree’s benefits.

2.    It allows them to ask any questions that they might have on the subject.

3.    It spreads knowledge (that can be passed on from person to person) about the Neem tree and can help improve the lifestyles of Filipinos both agriculturally and medically in a cheap and clean way.

4.    It provides simple yet insightful information that has directions that are easy to follow and easy to do at home with little materials.

5.    It could be translated if necessary.

6.    It is a simple method to carry out and does not require a large budget, a lot of time and a lot of work.

7.    It does not require lots of extra effort beyond the sharing of the information, as with the nursery method, such as upkeep complications or needing an area to plant in.




1.    This method does not ensure that people will have Neem tree to be able to have and to use in the ways that are described to them.

2.    It does not directly spread the information to a large amount of people at a time.




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“Azadirachta (Azadirachta) – Genus.” Gardenguides.com. 1997-2008. May 4, 2008.

    < http://www.gardenguides.com/plants/taxonomy.asp?tax=4298156>

“Azadirachta Indica.” Ayushveda.com. India’s Health Portal. 2007-2008. May 4, 2008.

    < http://www.ayushveda.com/herbs/azadirachta-indica.htm>

Erickson, E. H. “Neem.” Gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov. 2001. May 4, 2008.

    < http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/book/chap5/neem.html>

Giger, Matthias. “The Neem Tree.” Gigers.com. January 31, 2002. May 4, 2008.

    < http://www.gigers.com/matthias/engmala/neemtree.htm>

“How To Grow Neem Trees.” Howtopedia.com. August 5, 2007. May 4, 2008.

    < http://www.howtopedia.org/en/How_to_Grow_Neem_Trees >

Kisnadwala, Nayan Mitra. “Neem: The Village Pharmacy.” Vedicheritage.org.  2007. May

4, 2008.

< http://www.vedicheritage.org/vhsite2007/archivehealth/vhahjul2006.html>

Knudtsen, Alberta. Interview.

Rao, Usha. “The Neem Tree.” .Neemresource.com. May 4, 2008.

    < http://www.neemresource.com/AboutNeem.html >

Reichardt, Dirk. Interview.

The Organic Organization. “The Neem Tree.” Gardenorganic.org. 1998. May 4, 2008.

    < http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/pdfs/international_programme/NeemTree.pdf>




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