Azadirachta indica

 

Azadirachta indica

Synonyms

No documentation

Vernacular Name

Indian lilac, persian lilac, bead tree, nimba, holy tree

Description

Azadirachta indica is a large, deciduous tree found flourishing throughout India[1] where it is considered to be a holy plant. With its dark gray bark, and its thin green leaves,[2] A. indica is known for its wide variety of uses as it has been since the early stages of Ayurvedic medicine.[3] Due to its various uses, virtually every part of the A. indica plant is considered to have medicinal value and its traditional uses are expansive. Various uses range from contraception to insecticidal applications on plants.  It is found in products for oral health, body care products and for internal use.

The tree of A. indica will grow to heights of up to 30m with branching limbs extending 10-18m. It has dark green compound leaves with serrated leaflets that are long and thin. These compound leaves can grow up to 6 or 7cm in length. It is often planted as a windbreaker.

Origin / Habitat

A. indica tree is native to parts of India and Burma. It is an evergreen tree that must grow in tropical regions.  It can grow with minimal rainfall and extreme heat. It was introduced to Africa and Asia and then in the late 19th century, it was introduced to some areas of Central America.

Chemical Constituents

About 140 different chemical constituents have been identified in A. indica. Included are diterpenoids, liminoids, and triterpenoids, as well as coumarins, fatty acids and their derivatives, flavonoids, steroids, sulfur compounds and hydrocarbons.[1]

Plant Part Used

Barks, root barks, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, berries, oils and resins.

Medicinal Uses

General

General tonic

Astringent

Anti-microbial

Insecticide

Oral health

Parasites

Skin conditions

Cardiotonic

 

Most Frequently Reported Uses

General tonic

Astringent

Anti-microbial

Insecticide

Oral health

Other Reported Uses

Parasites

Skin conditions

Cardiotonic

Dosage

Dosage Range 

Infusion

1-2 teaspoonfuls (5-10gm) of dried leaf, add to 1 cup (150mL) hot water. Steep for 10minutes and drink 1-2 times daily.

 

Most Common Dosage 

250mg of a 10:1 leaf extract, 1-2 capsules, 2 times daily after food.

Standardized: 300mg, 2 times a day standardized extract.

 

 

Standardization Dosage 

A. indica leaf is standardized to 20% bitter principles.

Pharmacology

Pre-clinical

Numerous studies have investigated the antimalarial activities of A. indica.[4] The leaf extract appears to have antiretroviral activity[5] and there are efforts underway to use the water extract of the leaf to develop new drug therapies.[6] The plant leaves contain the lemonoid gedunum which has demonstrated activity against two clones of Plasmodium falciparum and in laboratory analysis appeared to be as effective as chloroquine.[7] In addition to viewing the properties of A. indica as candidates for treating malaria, the oil from this plant has been shown to have insecticidal and insect repellant properties.[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] The oil is sometimes applied topically and sometimes is burned with kerosene as a repellant.[13] A. indica extract appears to have demonstrated similar properties to the oil as a topical repellant.[14] Some laboratory analysis has also been conducted on the insect repellant effects of the fruit.[15]

The investigation of A. indica as a potential drug development candidate in cancer therapy[16],[17] has included research into its immunotherapeutic[18] and cytotoxic properties.[19] In addition, laboratory studies have indicated that the leaf extract may induce tumor cellular apoptosis.[20] Animal studies (designed to research new drug candidates) have found that the leaf extract initiates an immune response (Th 1 type) against breast tumor associated antigens.[21] One of the triterpenoids extracted from the flower of the plant (nimbolide) has been examined for its ability to improve the effectiveness of cell cycle disruption.[22],[23]

Clinical

The animal models of A. indica have studied the antisecretory and anti-ulcer properties of the bark extract.[24] A small human study of 10 patients found that the extract of the seeds exhibits hypoglycemic effects in Type 2 diabetes.[25] Additionally, A. indica has been studied as an anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antioxidant[26] antifungal, antiparasitic[27] and antibacterial.[28],[29] The antibacterial properties have been studied in regard to the role of this herb in dentistry.[30],[31] It has also been studied and developed into a cream to be used as a contraceptive with positive results.[32]

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

Due to the various plant parts used and the pharmacologic activities of each plant part, this herb should be used with caution in combination with conventional drug therapies.

 

Based on pharmacology, this herb should be used with caution in individuals taking medication for diabetes due to its hypoglycemic activities.[25]

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

A case of contact dermatitis was reported from use of the oil on the scalp of a patient with alopecia.[33]

Pregnancy

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

Not to be used in children.

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Read More

  1) South Africa Herbs

  2) Ayuverda

References

  1. Premila MS. Ayurvedic herbs: a clinical guide to the healing plants of traditional Indian medicine. Binghamton, NY: The Hayworth Press; 2006.
  2. Reference needed
  3. Brahmachari G. Neem—an omnipotent plant: a retrospection. Chembiochem. 2 Apr 2004;5(4):408-421.
  4. Soh PN, Benoit-Vical F. Are West African plants a source of future antimalarial drugs? J Ethnopharmacol. 1 Nov 2007;114(2):130-140.
  5. Udeinya IJ, Mbah AU, Chijioke CP, Shu, EM. An antimalarial extract from neem leaves is antiretroviral. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. Jul 2004;98(7):435-437.
  6. Kirira PG, Rukunga GM, Wanyonyi AW, Muregi FM, Gathirwa JW, Muthaura CN, Omar SA, Tolo F, Mungai GM, Ndiege IO. Anti-plasmodial activity and toxicity of extracts of plants used in traditional malaria therapy in Meru and Kilifi Districts of Kenya. J Ethnopharmacol. 19 Jul 2006;106(3):403-407.
  7. MacKinnon S, Durst T, Arnason JT, Angerhofer C, Pezzuto J, Sanchez-Vindas PE, Poveda LJ, Gbeassor M. Antimalarial activity of tropical Meliaceae extracts and gedunin derivatives. J Nat Prod. Apr 1997;60(4):336-341.
  8. Vatandoost H, Vaziri VM. Larvicidal activity of a neem tree extract (Neemarin) against mosquito larvae in the Islamic Republic of Iran. East Mediterr Health J. Jul-Sep 2004;10(4-5):573-581.
  9. Dhar R, Zhang K, Talwar GP, Garg S, Kumar N. Inhibition of the growth and development of asexual and sexual stages of drug-sensitive and resistant strains of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum by Neem (Azadirachta indica) fractions. J Ethnopharmacol. May 1998;61(1):31-39.
  10. Mishra AK, Singh N, Sharma VP. Use of neem oil as a mosquito repellent in tribal villages of mandla district, madhya pradesh. Indian J Malariol. Sep 1995;32(3):99-103.
  11. Sharma VP, Ansari MA, Razdan RK. Mosquito repellent action of neem (Azadirachta indica) oil. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. Sep 1993;9(3):359-360.
  12. Okumu FO, Knols BG, Fillinger U. Larvicidal effects of a neem (Azadirachta indica) oil formulation on the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Malar J. 22 May 2007;6:63.
  13. Sharma VP, Ansari MA. Personal protection from mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) by burning neem oil in kerosene. J Med Entomol. May 1994;31(3):505-507.
  14. Jones IW, Denholm AA, Ley SV, Lovell H, Wood A, Sinden RE. Sexual development of malaria parasites is inhibited in vitro by the neem extract azadirachtin, and its semi-synthetic analogues. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 15 Jul 1994;120(3):267-273.
  15. Coria C, Almiron W, Valladares G, Carpinella C, Ludueña F, Defago M, Palacios S. Larvicide and oviposition deterrent effects of fruit and leaf extracts from Melia azedarach L. on Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae). Bioresour Technol. May 2008;99(8):3066-3070.
  16. Kumar S, Suresh PK, Vijayababu MR, Arunkumar A, Arunakaran J. Anticancer effects of ethanolic neem leaf extract on prostate cancer cell line (PC-3). J Ethnopharmacol. 21 Apr 2006;105(1-2):246-250.
  17. Subapriya R, Bhuvaneswari V, Nagini S. Ethanolic neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf extract induces apoptosis in the hamster buccal pouch carcinogenesis model by modulation of Bcl-2, Bim, caspase 8 and caspase 3. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. Oct-Dec 2005;6(4):515-520.
  18. Chakraborty K, Bose A, Pal S, Sarkar K, Goswami S, Ghosh D, Laskar S, Chattopadhyay U, Baral R. Neem leaf glycoprotein restores the impaired chemotactic activity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients by maintaining CXCR3/CXCL10 balance. Int Immunopharmacol. Feb 2008;8(2):330-340.
  19. Bose A, Baral R. Natural killer cell mediated cytotoxicity of tumor cells initiated by neem leaf preparation is associated with CD40-CD40L-mediated endogenous production of interleukin-12. Hum Immunol. Oct 2007;68(10):823-831.
  20. Bose A, Haque E, Baral R. Neem leaf preparation induces apoptosis of tumor cells by releasing cytotoxic cytokines from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Phytother Res. Oct 2007;21(10):914-920.
  21. Mandal-Ghosh I, Chattopadhyay U, Baral R. Neem leaf preparation enhances Th1 type immune response and anti-tumor immunity against breast tumor associated antigen. Cancer Immun. 30 Mar 2007;7:8.
  22. Roy MK, Kobori M, Takenaka M, Nakahara K, Shinmoto H, Isobe S, Tsushida T. Antiproliferative effect on human cancer cell lines after treatment with nimbolide extracted from an edible part of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). Phytother Res. Mar 2007;21(3):245-250.
  23. Roy MK, Kobori M, Takenaka M, Nakahara K, Shinmoto H, Tsushida T. Inhibition of colon cancer (HT-29) cell proliferation by a triterpenoid isolated from Azadirachta indica is accompanied by cell cycle arrest and up-regulation of p21. Planta Med. Aug 2006;72(10):917-923.
  24. Bandyopadhyay U, Biswas K, Sengupta A, Moitra P, Dutta P, Sarkar D, Debnath P, Ganguly CK, Banerjee RK. Clinical studies on the effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) bark extract on gastric secretion and gastroduodenal ulcer. Life Sci. 29 Oct 2004;75(24):2867-2878.
  25. Waheed A, Miana GA, Ahmad SI. Clinical investigation of hypoglycemic effect of seeds of Azadirachta-inidca in type-2 (NIDDM) diabetes mellitus. Pak J Pharm Sci. Oct 2006;19(4):322-325.
  26. Sithisarn P, Supabphol R, Gritsanapan W. Antioxidant activity of Siamese neem tree (VP1209). J Ethnopharmacol. 13 May 2005;99(1):109-112.
  27. Abdel-Ghaffar F, Semmler M. Efficacy of neem seed extract shampoo on head lice of naturally infected humans in Egypt. Parasitol Res. Jan 2007;100(2):329-332.
  28. Nair R, Kalariya T, Chanda S. Antibacterial activity of some plant extracts used in folk medicine. J Herb Pharmacother. 2007;7(3-4):191-201.
  29. Subapriya R, Nagini S. Medicinal properties of neem leaves: a review. Curr Med Chem. Anticancer Agents. Mar 2005;5(2):149-146.
  30. Vanka A, Tandon S, Rao SR, Udupa N, Ramkumar P. The effect of indigenous Neem Azadirachta indica [correction of (Adirachta indica)] mouth wash on Streptococcus mutans and lactobacilli growth. Indian J Dent Res. Jul-Sep 2001;12(3):133-144.
  31. Wolinsky LE, Mania S, Nachnani S, Ling S. The inhibiting effect of aqueous Azadirachta indica (Neem) extract upon bacterial properties influencing in vitro plaque formation. J Dent Res. Feb 1996;75(2):816-822.
  32. Garg S, Taluja V, Upadhyay SN, Talwar GP. Studies on the contraceptive efficacy of Praneem polyherbal cream. Contraception. Dec 1993;48(6):591-596.
  33. Reutemann P, Ehrlich A. Neem oil: an herbal therapy for alopecia causes dermatitis. Dermatitis. May-Jun 2008;19(3):E12-E15.