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The Village Pharmacy: The Neem or Tea Tree

Neem (Azadirachta indica) or “tea tree” is a medicinal tree found in several regions of Mexico and locally in Huatulco. The Neem tree is originally from India and Burma and was introduced in Mexico in tropical and subtropical areas. It is an evergreen member of the Mahogany tree family Meliaceae. According to ancient texts, the tree has been used for at least 4500 years to support healing. 

The Village Pharmacy

Surprisingly, Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach 15 to 20 meters high. It can live up to 200 years and requires little water, thriving in drought areas. The healing and medicinal properties of the Neem have been known for many years in traditional medicine. In fact, people who live in rural areas still call the Neem tree “the village pharmacy”.  You can use all of the parts of the tree for different healing purposes. 

Internal and External Uses

Modern scientists have found many uses for this tree. The seeds, bark and leaves are compounds with antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and anti-fungal uses. From compresses to poultices to teas to tinctures, Neem can be taken in a variety of ways both internally and externally.

The seeds and fruits can be used to make mosquito repellent and antiseptic oil. Neem oil or soap can soothe and lubricate the skin. Neem deodorant helps with malodorous sweat. External uses also include application to the skin for eczema, acne and psoriasis, to the nails to treat fungus, and to the hair and scalp. Additionally, you can apply Neem oil to wounds to promote healing. Because of Neem’s antibacterial properties, you can  treat other skin conditions such as warts, chicken pox, and athlete’s foot.

In addition, you can use Neem oil as a natural skin moisturizer. Containing Vitamin E, Neem oil repairs damaged skin.

Internally, Neem is reputed to have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the blood, boosts the immune system, supports healthy blood sugar levels, balances the metabolism and GI tract, and supports clear lungs.

Neem Tea

Especially important, you can make your own Neem tea.  First, boil water and pour over a cup which includes a few Neem leaves. Let it steep for about 5 minutes. And remove the leaves. Lastly, you can add  honey and/or lemon if necessary. This tea is good for oral hygiene, indigestiĆ³n and constipation. It can also be used for treatment of psoriasis, diabetes, cancer, herpes, allergies, ulcers, hepatitis, fungi, and malaria

Local Neem Products

You can find a variety of products derived from the Neem Tree locally in Huatulco. You can find Neem leaf tinctures at the market. The tinctures provide liver support and can aid in digestion, healthy blood glucose levels and promote hair and skin health from the inside out. Finally, you can also find a variety of Neem essential oils and creams. Pick some up on your next trip to the market and try it for yourself!

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