I first heard of the neem tree and its beneficial effects from the carpenter who worked on our ceiling and roof.
Nate has skin asthma, and dust from the carpentry work aggravated his condition. Kuya Carpenter saw my son’s allergies all over his body, and suggested to give Nate a bath using water boiled with neem tree leaves.
iMom: Name tree?
Kuya Carpenter: Opo, name tree. Sa India ang tawag dyan ay pharmacy tree. Kasi ho magaling talaga yan, madaming nagagamot na sakit… (and he goes on to enumerate the illnesses)
iMom: Saan naman ako makakahanap nyan?
Kuya Carpenter: Meron dyan sa kabilang kanto. Ikukunan ko kayo ha. (Vroooms away in his motorbike)
He returned with several leafy branches of the tree. So I was supposed to boil a bunch of the leaves, and use the cooled water for rinsing Nate after soaping. The raw leaves can also be ground and applied on wounds.
Okay got it, kuya.
But of course, I had to google it. Search words “name tree” did not make any sense. So I entered “pharmacy tree India“. That’s when neem tree showed up. Aaaaaah, neem tree pala! Si kuya naman, oh!
But, in fairness, tama si kuya!
The neem tree bath turned out to be effective in drying up Nate’s skin lesions. My new helper, who has a small wound on her foot that hasn’t healed despite antibiotics, pounded some leaves and put the paste on the wound. The swelling subsided, and in a few days, the wound began to dry up.
According to the articles I read, neem tree has many medicinal functions – antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, anthelminthic (contra-bulate), antidiabetic, to name a few. Oh, the neem tree is also a natural insect repellant. I’ve placed several twigs in the cabinets under the kitchen sink.
Right now, as I type this, I’m not feeling well. I have a slight fever and a sore throat. During these times of A(H1N1) flu paranoia, feeling these symptoms trigger panic. (Yes! I’m worried!)
I think I’m going to ask ateJo to get some leaves and boil me neem tea. Be warned, though – it’s bitter. Very bitter!