This post is part of the "Trees of the Tropics" Series and is composed of material from Trees, plants and more.
What did people do before toothpastes and toothbrushes came into being? Go around with bad breath?
South asians had a simple solution - they used twigs of the neem tree as brushes or crushed a bunch of leaves to form a "tooth-paste". No wonder then that the neem is so widespread in India. It has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a host of ailments and is thought to have astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-imflammatory properties. What more do you need for healthy teeth and strong gums?!
The aroma of the leaves that spreads with the wind is said to have a therapeutic effect, which is another reason why this tree was widely planted all over the region.
The leaves are now used as a natural pesticide.
Here are some more pictures of the neem: