Editorial: Medicinal Properties of the Neem Tree

  • C K Maitai Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacognosy, University of Nairobi


An article appearing in this issue of the journal on neem oil by Nyamwange et al. forms the basis
of this editorial. Neem tree is to Indians what ginseng is to Chinese. It was widely used in India’s
Ayuverda and Unami systems of medicine as far back as 2000 BC. Ancient Indians referred to
neem as Sarva Roga Nivarini meaning ‘the cure of all ailments’. In the Sanskrit, neem is called
Arishtha, meaning ‘reliever of sickness’. To the ancient Indians, neem was an omnipotent
panacea, a type of village dispensary. All parts of the plant are used, a unique feature rarely
encountered in medicinal plants. In more recent literature, neem is described in superlative terms
such as ‘wonder tree’ and ‘a tree for solving global problems’. In his book, Living in the
Environment: Principles, Connections and Solutions, page 213; George T. Miller observes that
‘The neem tree would eventually benefit almost everyone in the planet’. The tree is versatile and
can be used for quick reforestation of degraded dry lands. Although the tree originated in India, it
is now being grown in more than 50 countries worldwide. In East Africa, it is known by the
Swahili name ‘Mwarubaini’ implying that it can be used to treat 40 diseases.

How to Cite
Maitai, C. (2020). Editorial: Medicinal Properties of the Neem Tree. The East and Central African Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 10(3), 55. Retrieved from http://uonjournals.uonbi.ac.ke/ojs/index.php/ecajps/article/view/444