Tree of the week
“Deforestation is one of the gravest threats to ecological stability and food production in Africa”.
Paul Harrison in ‘The Greening of Africa’
Life depends on trees – particularly in Africa. 80% of Africa’s total energy use is fulfilled by trees – with electricity only contributing 6%. My aim is to promote as many trees in the up and coming months to chart their benefits and encourage you to volunteer on a truly incredible project.
Name – Neem Tree
Medicines – Aromatic neem oil features in the treatment of skin diseases such as leprosy and eczema. Twigs contain antiseptic ingredients that help maintain healthy teeth and gums. Leaves are also used in the treatment of malaria.
General uses – A valuable species with multiple uses. The wood is used for general timber, furniture, poles and as fuel. The oil can serve as a paraffin substitute and is used to make soap; the residue (neem cake) makes both a good cattle feed and a fertilizer. The leaves contain azadirachtin, which is a powerful insecticide. Dried leaves placed among clothes protects against moths, and in stored grain they repel insects without leaving any smell or aftertaste. Smoke from burning leaves drives off mosquitoes and sand-flies. A solution from the leaves serves as an anti-locust crop spray. Powdered leaves are widely used to make facial creams. Purified neem oil is used in nail polish and other cosmetics. Neem sticks serve as disposable toothbrushes.