Shakti Sadhana

Azadirachta Indica
The Fever Bark from India. Other names : Margosa / Nimba

 by N.Madasamy
Family : meliaceae
Sanskrit Name : Nimba
Hindi Name : Neem
Tamil : "vembu" or "veppam"
Kannada : "bevu
Telugu : "Vepa"
Malayalam : `Veppu" or "aryaveppu"

Neem or Nimba as it is called in Sanskrit is a plant of varied uses especially in Ayurveda since ancient times and is highly extolled by expert physicians as well as practitioners of folk lore medicine. It is also a much prized household remedy

The plant has thirty two names in Sanskrit, among others
1. nimba : the basic term of the basonym
2. Sutikta : Auspicious bitter, refreshing to the taste
3. Pichmarda : Controlling a type of leprosy called pichu
4. Neta : Leader among the controllers of disease
5. Ravisannibha : health giving like sun
6. Arishta : Not infected with insects, insect resistant
7. Sheeta : cooling
8. Cchardana : vomit inducing emetic
9. Krimighna : destroying worms
10. Sumana : pleasing or soothing to the mind,referring to the graceful appearance of the whole tree
11. Shirsha parna : bearing bunches of leaves atthe ends of the branches
12. Shukapriya and Kakaphala : fruits well liked by parrots and crows in search of these fruits.
13. Linguniryasa : producing an exudation like asafetida or hing
14. Pitasaraka : having its inner wood, yellow.

Neem is a large sized everygreen tree found growing all over India, wild as well as cultivated. This occurs usually near human habitations and sometimes as an avenue tree along the highways. Figures of Neem trees are found in the talisman unearthed from the Mohanjodaro remains. Neem is undoubtedly one of the typically native trees of India, attractive, densely shady and with shinning yellowish green leaves generally crowded toward the end of the branch

Pathi ( Grand ma ) showing the art of making the Neem Garland

It is believed to be a health giving tree purifying the air all around. It also possessed of many and great virtues. India's earliest societies used Neem leaves or Margosa to exorcise the spirits of the dead. Today Neem is valued more highly for its capacity to exorcise the demons of disease than the spirits of the dead, and an image of the goddess Sitala or Mariamman ( see our Goddess of the Week ) often can be seen suspended from or holding a margosa branch where she is guards against small pox, once the great killer of the Indian countryside. With the eradiction of small pox, now bathing in a neem leaf infusion, excellent for soothing scabs and clearing away scars, marks the ritual termination of an attack of chicken pox or measles.

It is also renowned for its antiseptics and disinfectant properties, the tree is thought to be particularly protective of woman and children. Delivery chambers are fumigated with burning bark. Dried Neem leaves are burned as a mosquito repellent. Fresh leaves notorious for their bitterness, are cooked and eaten to gain immunity from Malaria.

This tree is the beloved of India. With its find starlike flowers, its long lime-coloured berries, and its feathery crests tossing fifty feet into the sky, it is an invaluable natural pesticides and its oil is used to protect the bark of other trees from termites. For centuries its leave have been used to store grain, or to preserve papers and cloths.

"an offering of Neem Garland to Nageswari Ambal is very auspicious"