Native to Southeast Asia and India, the neem tree is an ornamental shade tree with pesticidal properties. It has a low mammalian toxicity level and is believed to affect more than 60 insects, according to the University of Connecticut's Integrated Pest Management.
Indian farmers have been using the neem tree as an insecticide for thousands of years. They used to hang neem branches in granaries to protect harvests from insect pests. Scientists in Europe and the United States started analyzing neem in the 1970s.
The neem tree contains insecticidal substances in all its parts, but the seeds contain the greatest concentration. Azadirachin in the neem tree deters mosquitoes against feeding on it and disrupts their normal growth.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center, neem essential oil can repel insects when applied to the skin. Dilute the oil before application with olive oil, as pure essential oil may cause irritation.
- Photo Credit melga image by the_stalkerpt from Fotolia.com
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