Azadirachta indica (commonly known as neem, nimtree and Indian lilac is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to the Indian subcontinent, i.e. India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives. It typically is grown in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Neem trees now also grow in islands located in the southern part of Iran. Its fruits and seeds are the source of neem oil.
Neem leaves are dried in India and placed in cupboards to prevent insects eating the clothes, and also in tins where rice is stored Neem leaves are dried and burnt in the tropical regions to keep away mosquitoes. These flowers are also used in many Indian festivals like Ugadi. See below: #Association with Hindu festivals in India. As an ayurvedic herb, neem is also used in baths.
As a vegetable
The tender shoots and flowers of the neem tree are eaten as a vegetable in India. A souplike dish called Veppampoo charu (Tamil) (translated as "neem flower rasam") made of the flower of neem is prepared in Tamil Nadu. In Bengal, young neem leaves are fried in oil with tiny pieces of eggplant (brinjal). The dish is called nim begun and is the first item during a Bengali meal that acts as an appetizer. It is eaten with rice.
Neem is used in parts of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly in Cambodia aka sdov—ស្ដៅវ, Laos (where it is called kadao), Thailand (where it is known as sadao or sdao), Myanmar (where it is known as tamar) and Vietnam .Even lightly cooked, the flavour is quite bitter and the food is not enjoyed by all inhabitants of these nations, though it is believed to be good for one's health. Neem gum is a rich source of protein. In Myanmar, young neem leaves and flower buds are boiled with tamarind fruit to soften its bitterness and eaten as a vegetable. Pickled neem leaves are also eaten with tomato and fish paste sauce in Myanmar.
Traditional medicinal use
Products made from neem trees have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties. Neem products are believed by Siddha and Ayurvedic practitioners to be Anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive, and sedative. It is considered a major component in siddha medicine and Ayurvedic and Unani medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin diseases. Neem oil is also used for healthy hair, to improve liver function, detoxify the blood, and balance blood sugar levels. Neem leaves have also been used to treat skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, etc.
Insufficient research has been done to assess the purported benefits of neem, however. In adults, short-term use of neem is safe, while long-term use may harm the kidneys or liver; in small children, neem oil is toxic and can lead to death.Neem may also cause miscarriages, infertility, and low blood sugar.
Neem oil can cause some forms of toxic encephalopathy and ophthalmopathy if consumed in large quantities.