neem tree or margosa tree, a fast-growing broad-leaved evergreen, Azadirachta indica, native to India and Myanmar. Its extracts have been used for centuries in Asia as pesticides, toothpaste, medicines, and health tonics. The tree itself is used in reforestation projects in hot, dry regions. In this century, knowledge of the neem tree has spread to the West, where it has been hailed as a "wonder plant." Neem-based pesticides have been developed, and the potential health uses of chemicals extracted from the tree are being studied.
See the National Research Council report Neem: A Tree for Solving Global Problems (1992).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.