The Neem tree (Veepa maram) has an important place in the south indian life style. Neem tree is generally grown in the front yard of the house. In the evenings when all the members of the family generally gather for a chat on the Thinnai(Permanent seats constructed in the front yard), a gentle breeze carrying a sweet aroma of the neem touches our face. This is such a pleasant experience.
Before the advent of tooth brushes Indians used the neem twigs for brushing the teeth. Even to this day we can see people in country side massaging their gums with the neem twigs.
The neem leaf has medicinal properties to cure skin diseases. Now a days soap and tooth paste manufacturers use these in their products.
The neem flower is used in cooking and is a good medicine for stomach aches and indigesion. Clean white cloth is tied to the branches to collect the flowers. The flowers known as “veepampoo” are sun dried and used for cooking.
More about neem tomorrow.