Research - Neem
Cytoprotective and Anti-secretory Effects of Azadiradione Isolated from the Seeds of Azadirachta indica (neem) on Gastric Ulcers in Rat Models
Azadirachta indica is well known medicinal plant mentioned in ancient herbal texts. It has been extensively used in Ayurvedic, Unani and Homoeopathic medicine and has become a luminary of modern medicine. As part of our drug discovery program we isolated azadiradione from the ethanolic extract of seeds of A. indica and evaluated for in-vivo antiulcer activity in cold restraint induced gastric ulcer model, aspirin induced gastric ulcer model, alcohol induced gastric ulcers model and pyloric ligation induced ulcer model. Azadiradione exhibited potent antiulcer activity through the inhibition of H+ K+-ATPase (proton pump) activity via its cytoprotective effect and also via its antisecretory effect. This combined effect has valuable potential in the future treatment of peptic ulceration.
Source : Phytotherapy Research
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Review of Medicinal Uses of Neem (Azadirachta indica)
Kumar VS, Navaratnam V. Neem (Azadirachta indica): Prehistory to contemporary medicinal uses to humankind. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013;3(7):505-514.
This ambitious and wide-ranging article attempts to compile in one place everything that is known or speculated about neem (Azadirachta indica) in a multidisciplinary tour-de-force. Although marred by poor editing, poor translation, and an uncritical confounding of fact with supposition, it is still a fascinating contribution to the ethnobotany of a little-known region of India, Tamil Nadu, and its ancient medical traditions. The article also details the adoption of neem worldwide.
Neem was used medicinally before any written records surviving to modern times. The Indus Valley civilization used neem over 4500 years ago, as seen in excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
The authors describe an even more ancient civilization based in now-submerged lands south of the present tip of India and today centered in Madurai. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature describes these lost lands, where academies of poets and siddhars (spiritual adepts) practiced medicine and alchemy. Siddha medicine, still used in India today, is one of the oldest medical systems known to man. Palm leaf manuscripts from 4000 B.C.E. are among the oldest surviving written media in Southern India; the earliest account documenting uses of neem flower, leaf, fruit, seeds, oil, roots, and bark was written in about 1650 C.E. Perishable writing materials did not last long in India's climate. Ancient Tamil manuscripts preserved at the Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, are included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Memory of the World Register.
Siddha sees humans and nature as part of a closed system, with earth, air, fire, water, and "ether" corresponding to the five senses and fundamental to all things, animal, vegetable, or mineral. A leading practitioner of Siddha, Bhogar, traveled to China to spread Siddha science. While there, he was called Bo-Yang, or "bliss," and later Lao-Tzu ("old master"). Lao-Tzu is said to have remained in China for hundreds of years and taught hundreds of disciples; in the 5th century B.C.E., he is said to have met Confucius; and 100 years later, while returning to India, to have authored the Taoist classics Tao Ching and Te Ching. At some point he is said to have visited South America; his visit was described by Chile's Muyca people. Other siddhars visited and taught in other parts of the world, including Arabia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, and even Rome.
Cultivated for centuries in India, neem spread with Indian immigrants. Australia, East and sub-Sahelian Africa, South East Asia, and Central and South America boast at least 30 nations where neem is well established. Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in China are home to the largest populations of cultivated neem. Over 400,000 trees in Yunnan make it the raw materials center for China's neem-related industries and the largest area of neem cultivation. In India, neem plays a major role in rural industry. In Africa, besides providing shade and anti-malarial medicine, fast-growing neem (20 feet in three years from seed), thriving with scant rainfall and high temperature, has become the major firewood in Ghana's densely populated Accra Plains. Continent-wide, it is helping stop southward expansion of the Sahara Desert. Among its local names, it is "independence tree" in Senegal. The world's largest individual neem plantations, 10 sq. km. each near Arafat, Saudi Arabia, were planted to provide shade for the two million pilgrims who visit annually. In the Caribbean, most notably in Haiti, neem is helping re-forest several nations.
Neem is commonly used in traditional Indian medicine as a household remedy. Twigs clean teeth, leaf juice treats skin conditions, leaf tea is a general tonic, and leaves are a household insect repellent used in books, beds, grain bins, closets, etc. Neem has germicidal, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. In 2012, researchers found that a Siddha neem preparation reduced symptoms and sped up recovery of patients with dengue fever. Sexually transmitted diseases, specifically gonorrhea, are reported to have been successfully treated with neem, but more research is needed. One of neem's compounds, azadirachtin, has been reported to interact with tumor necrosis factor (TNF), inhibiting TNF-induced responses.
Researchers report anticarcinogenic activity for various neem fractions and compounds in several cancer cell lines. Neem oil and leaves are reported to clear acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin problems including fungal ringworm; the plant is a well-known antiparasitic that eliminates internal and external parasites. In Ayurvedic tradition, neem is used for ulcers and other digestive disorders. Neem bark extract has been studied for gastroprotective effects. Finally, neem's traditional use as an antivenom has been validated by in vitro studies of a snake venom phospholipase A2 (PLA2) inhibitor isolated from its leaves.
Source : American Botanical Council
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Neem – A Green Treasure
Girish K.1,2,*, Shankara Bhat S.1
1. Department of Studies in Microbiology, Manasagangotri, University of Mysore, Mysore - 570 006, Karnataka, India.
2. Department of Microbiology, Maharanis Science College for Women, JLB Road, Mysore - 570 005, Karnataka, India.
Neem (Azadirachta indica) commonly called ‘Indian Lilac’ or ‘Margosa’, belongs to the family Meliaceae, subfamily Meloideae and tribe Melieae. Neem is the most versatile, multifarious trees of tropics, with immense potential. It possesses maximum useful non-wood products (leaves, bark, flowers, fruits, seed, gum, oil and neem cake) than any other tree species. These non-wood products are known to have antiallergenic, antidermatic, antifeedent,
antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antipyorrhoeic, antiscabic, cardiac, diuretic, insecticidal, larvicidal, nematicidal, spermicidal and other biological activities. Because of these activities neem has found enormous applications making it a green treasure.
Since time immemorial, Indians are aware of medicinal properties of neem. Neem has been extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathic medicine. Traditionally, many disorders like inflammation, infections, fever, skin
diseases, dental disorders and others have been treated with different parts of neem tree such as leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, roots and bark. Neem leaf exhibits a wide range of pharmacological activities viz., anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycaemic, antiulcer, antimalarial, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antimutagenic anticarcinogenic and immunomodulatory . Ayurvedic literature lists various medicinal uses of neem. It describes neem bark to be cool, bitter, astringent, acrid and refrigerant and useful in tiredness, cough, fever, loss of appetite, worm infestation. The bark is reported to heal wounds and vitiate conditions of kapha, vomiting, skin diseases,
excessive thirst and diabetes. Neem leaves are reported to be beneficial for eye disorders and insect poisons and to treat vatic disorder. It is reported to be antileprotic. Neem fruits are bitter, purgative, antihemorrhoid and antihelminthic .
Neem is called ‘Sarvaroga nivarini’ meaning the curer of all ailments’. In rural India, delivery chambers are fumigated with burning bark of neem. Dried margosa leaves are burnt to repel mosquitoes. In India several viral diseases are treated with neem. Neem leaf paste has been used to treat small pox, chicken pox and warts. Neem twigs are used as
tooth brushes in rural India and Africa . Dental gel containing neem leaf extract reduces the oral plaque index and bacterial count . Methanolic extract fraction of neem leaves when tried against Coxsackie ‘B’ group viruses, produced in vitro antiviral and virucidal effect .
Neem is used to treat malarial fever in ayurvedic medicine system. Neem oil treated mosquito nets and mosquito-repellent tablets are now available in the North-east India. Gedunin (a liminoid) obtained from neem has activity similar to quinine against malarial pathogen . The neem liminoids (Azadirachtin, salannin, deacetylgedunin)
exhibited high larvicidal, pupicidal and antiovipositional bioactivity against malaria vector – Anopheles stephensi . Tablet suspension of the bark and leaf of neem showed moderate effect against malarial pathogen, Plasmodium sp. .
Currently, studies on effect of administration of neem solutions on cancer, diabetes, heart disease and AIDS are being carried out. Anticarcinogenic activity of neem leaf extract was observed in murine system . Injection of neem leaf preparation to tumor in mice reduced tumour growth, exhibiting anticarcinogenic activity . Induction of apoptosis
in rat oocytes was seen when treated with neem leaf extract . Buccal pouch carcinogenesis in hamsters was inhibited by ethanolic leaf extract of neem . The ethanolic leaf extract of neem also caused cell death of prostate cancer cells (PC-3) by inducing apoptosis .
Good antioxidant activity was observed with neem leaf aqueous extract, flower and stem bark ethanolic extracts . Administration of aqueous extract of neem along with DOCA salt prevented the development of hypertension in rats . Neem leaf extracts are antimutagenic. The ethanolic extract of neem leaves exhibited strong antimutagenic activity in Channa punctatus, a fresh water fish model .
Aqueous extract of neem root and leaves reduced blood sugar level in rats exhibiting antidiabetic activity . The bark extract completely healed the duodenal ulcers when administered at the dose of 30-60 mg twice daily for 10 weeks. Neem bark extract had potential of controlling gastric hypersecretion, and gastroesophageal and gastroduodenal ulcers .
Acetone-water neem leaf extract showed antiretroviral activity through inhibition of cytoadhesion. The extract increased haemoglobin concentration, mean CD4+ cell count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate in HIV/AIDS patients
. Enhancement of antibody production and cellular mediated response by neem components helps in the treatment of AIDS .
Neem leaf and seed extracts exhibited antidermatophytic activity against dermatophytes viz., Trichophyton ruberum, Mentagrophytes, Trichophyton violaceum, Microsporum nanum and Epidermophyton flocosum under in vitro conditions . Neem seed oil showed bactericidal activity against 14 strains of pathogenic bacteria . Crude
aqueous and solvent extracts of neem were tried against 20 strains of pathogenic bacteria wherein crude extract produced better results .
The contraceptive property of neem oil has been reported [33,75]. Neem leaf extract has spermatotoxic effect. The leaf extracts of neem showed 100% immobilization and mortality of human spermatozoa at a 3 mg dose within 20
seconds [76,77]. A new vaginal contraceptive, NIM-76 was developed from neem oil having antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Candida albicans [78
Owing to its versatile characteristics neem is rightly called the ‘Village pharmacy’ or ‘Doctor tree’ or ‘Wonder tree of India’ or ‘The bitter gem’. National Research Council (NRC), Washington, USA considers the neem, “One of the most
promising of all plants and the fact is that it may eventually benefit every person on this planet. Probably no other plant yields as many strange and varied products or has as many exploitable byproducts.”
Source : Electronic Journal of Biology, 2008, Vol. 4(3):102-111
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