Neem Tree

(Melia indica) The tree is pervaded throughout with a strongly antiseptic resin, used a lot in Indian domestic medicine and across Africa, where hedges of it are grown close to houses because of its reputation as a cure for malaria. The leaves, which are very bitter, are also used as an antiseptic (Lewis & Elvin-Lewis). Some Hindu castes put the bitter neem leaves in their mouth when returning from a funeral, as an emblem of grief (Pandey).

Touching the tongue with a smouldering Neem twig used to be part of the ritual of re-admittance into a caste in India, as well as the giving of a feast at which initiates served the company. Although it is in no way a sacred tree, it is acknowledged that a Bhut (elemental) may take up residence in one. Shitala, the goddess of smallpox, lives in the tree, and the leaves of the tree are used to relieve the condition. The leaves are used to drive away evil spirits. If a man is possessed by any spirit, he is made to experience the smell of smoke rising from the burnt leaves (Upadhyaya). But its therapeutic properties are well-known (Codrington).

Nelumbo nucifera > HINDU LOTUS

Nepeta cataria > CATMINT

Nerium oleander > OLEANDER

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