Names:

  • General: Neem    
  • Hausa: Dogonyaro
  • Igbo: Ogwo-nnu-oria; Akun shorop
  • Yoruba: Dogoyaro  

Description:

Dogoyaro is a fast-growing, evergreen tree that belongs to the family Meliaceae. It can grow up to 35m in height and has dense, attractive rounded crowns and thick furrowed bark. The branches are wide and spreading and may reach a diameter of 25m. The opposite, pinnate leaves are medium to dark green in colour, and have toothed leaflets and is usually evergreen except during severe drought. The white flowers are arranged in more-or-less drooping axillary panicles which can be up to 25 cm long and borne in clusters in the axils of the leaves. The fruit is a smooth, olive-like drupe which varies in shape from elongate oval to nearly roundish. The fruit skin is thin and the bitter-sweet pulp is yellowish-white and very fibrous. The white, hard inner shell of the fruit encloses one, rarely two, or three, elongated seeds having a brown seed coat.

Cultivation/Propagation

  • Dogoyaro is usually grown from seed but it can be propagated from cuttings or root suckers. It is hardy and resilient and grows well in almost all forms of soil and tolerates a wide variety of environmental challenges.

Medicinal Benefits

  • It possesses Anticancer; Immunomodulatory; Antidiabetic; Neuro-protective; Anti-inflammatory; Antiviral; Antibacterial; Antifungal; Antioxidant; Antimalarial; Hepatoprotective; Anti-nephrotoxicity; Wound healing; Antifertility; Hepato-renal protective properties.
  • Promotes skin and hair health and used for making shampoos for treating dandruff; and soaps or creams for skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and athlete’s foot.
  • Used for the treatment of
    • Gastrointestinal ulcers, Intestinal worms, stomach upset, and loss of appetite.
    • Diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease).
    • Respiratory disorders and breathing conditions.
    • Gum disease (gingivitis), and bad breath.
    • Skin ulcers, wounds, and acne.
    • Skin conditions and diseases.
    • Malaria and other fevers.
    • Leprosy, syphilis.
    • Upset stomach.
    • Liver problems.
    • Eye disorders.
    • Bloody nose.
    • Skin ulcers.
    • Head lice.
    • Diabetes.
  • The fruit is used for treating hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, urinary tract disorders, bloody nose, phlegm, eye disorders, diabetes, wounds, and leprosy.
  • The Oil from the seeds is a great ingredient in cosmetics and other beauty products: soaps, hair oil, hand wash, soap etc.
  • The flower is used for reducing bile, controlling phlegm, treating intestinal worms, anorexia, nausea, and belching.
  • The twigs are used for cough, asthma, hemorrhoids, intestinal worms, low sperm levels, urinary disorders, and diabetes.
  • The leaves are good for the eyes and useful in treating skin diseases and headaches.
  • The alcoholic extract of the neem flowers is used as an effective contraceptive.
  • The seed and seed oil are used for birth control and to cause abortions. The stem, root bark, and fruit are used as a tonic and astringent.

Other Benefits:

  • Oil extracted from the seeds are used directly for controlling bed bugs; insects; mites; and other pests as well as fungal infestations, black spot, mildew, scab, antHow it is Used:hracnose, and blight.
  • The leaves and flower buds are boiled with tamarind fruit to soften its bitterness and eaten as a vegetable.
  • The pickled leaves are eaten with tomato and fish paste sauce in some cultures.
  • The leaves are dried and placed in places where insects are not desired.
  • It is used for improving soil fertility and prevention of desertification.
  • The leaves are used as forage for ruminants and rabbits.
  • The twig is used for cleaning the teeth.

How it is Used:

  • To prepare the oil:
    • A cold press of the oil is made by having the leaves harvested (it can be blended) and placed in a jar; coconut oil (or oil of choice) is then added and the jar is closed and kept in a dark place for two weeks before extracting the oil that results.
    • The blended leaves can be added to a pot with water and boiled until it turns green and then sieved for the oil. 
  • The oil can be used for the following as described:
    • Removal of blackheads:  use 2 to 3 drops of the oil diluted with water to apply on blackheads.
    • Anti-ageing: add to face packs and natural body creams to reverse ageing skin, and treat any kind of skin irritation and itching.
    • Improvement of hair health: Rub the oil into the scalp, leave it in for a while and wash to strengthen the hair, prevent hair fall and treat dandruff.
  • The infusion of the leaves as tea is used to:
    • Increase immunity of the body
    • Manage high glucose level due to diabetes.
  • The leaves and Turmeric are blended together and then mixed with honey to produce Neem-Turmeric balls that are used for the management of many health conditions including boosting the immune system; treatment of chronic health condions like diabetes and arthritis.
  • To treat pimples and zit; grind a few neem leaves, make a paste and apply it daily till the acne dries out. The paste also helps any kind of eruptions, dark spots and chronic ulcers.
  • The twig is chewed for the cleaning of the teeth, relieve tooth ache; while the gel made from the leaves are applied to the teeth to treat plaque and dental infections. 
  • To heal the skin of rashes, irritation, burns and infections, add water to the powdered leaf and apply on the affected body part or use as face pack.
  • To treat dandruff, boil a handful of the leaves till the water turns green, allow it to cool. Wash the hair with shampoo and rinse with the water.
  • Apply leaves directly to the skin to treat head lice, skin diseases, wounds and skin ulcers, repel mosquitos and soften the skin.
  • The water from the boiled leaves when cool is used to wash the eyes to treat allergies, irritation, tiredness or redness.
  • To boost immunity; crush some neem leaves and take them with a glass of water to increase your immunity.
  • Take 30-60 mg of neem bark extract twice daily by mouth for 10 weeks to heal stomach and intestinal ulcers.
  • Apply a paste of the leaf powder on wounds or insect bites a few times daily for healing.
  • Apply extract of neem root or leaf to the skin to repel black flies and other insects.
  • Apply the oil cream to the skin to protect against mosquito bites.

    Reported Side Effects/Caution:

    • It should be avoided by persons with autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), as well as those who have received organ transplant as the immune system may become more active.
    • When consumed, it should be commenced with small doses because it could have side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, blood disorders, seizures, loss of consciousness, coma, and brain disorders.
    • It should be taken with caution by diabetics (especially those on other medications that reduce blood sugar) with close monitoring of blood sugar to avoid hypoglycemia.
    • It is unsafe for consumption by pregnant women as it may cause miscarriage. It should also be avoided by breastfeeding mothers also. 
    • It should be avoided for at least two weeks before surgery because of the glucose lowering capacity.
    • Consumption should be avoided in children.

    References: