Chemistry of the Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.)

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Abstract

Neem (Indian liliac, Azadirachta indica A. Juss., synonyms Melia azadirachta L., family Meliaceae) a native of the Indian sub-continent, has received world-wide attention for various reasons (189). Teams of scientists from fields as diversified as agriculture, medicine, veterinary science, pest control, population control etc. have concentrated their attention on the therapeutic, preventive and bio-active constituents of neem (47, 52, 54, 63, 107, 109, 115, 125, 126, 167, 296, 299, 312). These compounds, either in pure form or in the form of extracts obtained from different plant parts, display a vast array of biological activities (120, 124) such as antimalarial (48, 69, 106, 108, 112, 191, 192, 298), antitubercular, antiviral (216), antiallergic, antieczemic, antiscabic, antidermatic, antidiabetic (67, 250), antigingivitic, antiinflammatory (31, 195), antiperiodontitic, antipyretic (195), antimiotitic (235, 307), cardioctonic (302), antipyrrhoeic, antiseborrhoeic, antifeedant (290, 313), antifungal (32, 213, 292), antifuruncular, bactericidal (215), insecticidal (104, 152), larvicidal (118, 119), nematicidal (62), piscicidal, amoebicidal, diuretic, spermicidal (60, 224, 303), vaginal contraceptive (282, 283), hypoglycaemic (180, 202), immunomodulatory (310), antimicrobial (281) anti-complement (309) activities and several others (207). Several toxicity studies have also been conducted on the extracts (83, 284, 285, 286).