The neem tree is a tropical evergreen related to mahogany. A native of East India and Myanmar, it grows in much of Southeast Asia and West Africa. It is often referred to as “the village pharmacy” due to its numerous medicinal properties.
In 1959 a plague of locusts attacked every type of tree in the Sudan except for the neem tree. It was observed that insects would land on the Neem tree but they would not feed. It was at this time that researchers began to study the neem tree to find what made it unique. They discovered that the neem tree has a complex chemical makeup, making it resistant to hundreds of different insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and viruses. Such findings give rise to the possibility of developing non-toxic pest control products derived from neem.
Although neem products are fatal to insects, they don’t have any adverse effects on humans, animals or birds. In fact, numerous medicines are derived from this plant and have been used for hundreds of years to cure all sorts of ailments in India.
Neem has been used for centuries in India for agricultural applications. It is the best natural bio-pesticide and organic fertilizer with pest repellent properties. Neem is comprised of 40 different active compounds called Tetranortriperpernoids (or more specifically liminoids). These liminoids create hormonal disruptions that prevent insects from feeding, breeding and metamorphosing.
The primary ingredient in neem is Azadirachtin. It exhibits anti-feedant, insect repellent and insect sterilization properties. Azadurachtin acts on the hormonal system of the insect, not the digestive or nervous systems, which prevents the development of pest resistance.