Neem has been declared the tree of the 21st century by the United Nations, and not without reason. The unprecedented challenges of this century have required new and innovative strategies that focus on evolving a sustainable future.
The neem tree (Azadirachta Indica) is an evergreen and part of the Meliaceae (mahogany) family. Living up to 150 years old, the tree is establishing itself as one of the main answers to the demands of our time. Neem is already a proven solution in three critical spheres of our own survival.
- Agriculture: More than 3 billion kg of synthetic pesticides are applied worldwide each year. In the United States alone, such pervasive use of synthetic pesticides led to $9.6 billion losses in 2014 through groundwater contamination, pesticide resistance and impacts to public health. Neem Tree oil is a pesticide effective against more than 500 harmful species of insects, sparing beneficial species without causing any harmful side effects.
- Healthcare: A tree with multiple beneficial properties, neem based medications are playing an increasingly important role in fighting infection across agriculture and healthcare. Neem sourced products are being investigated across a broad spectrum of areas, including cardiovascular disease and tuberculosis, while the oil has antiseptic properties, making it efficacious against a variety of skin diseases, septic sores and infected burns. With over 200 compounds found to be effective against inflammation, infection, fever, skin disease and dental illness, neem is a clinically proven solution to a variety of ailments. Rich in nutrients and minerals ranging from potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium, neem is also a confirmed antioxidant and moisturizer.
- Environment: Over the last 40 years, more than one billion acres of tropical forests have vanished. The pace of deforestation is so great it accounts for 15% of global carbon dioxide emissions annually. A hardy, drought resistant tree, with a thick foliage, single trunk, very high leaf surface area and wide canopy, neem provides a good platform for maximum CO2 fixation, able to provide a shield against other pollution components.
Increasing food pressure, aggressive climate change and dangerous levels of pollution are all compounding reasons to evolve strategies for a sustainable living, and the neem tree is a legitimate response to the challenges that have so far characterized the 21st Century.