In India its considered as as a 'scared tree'.It is said to have lots and lots of medicinal uses for example: antiviral, anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti diabetic,even as contraceptive and recommended for some skin disease.They are also used as mosquito repellents.. and used to kill some insects in crops .
I have seen elderly people in villages use its twigs (vepam kutchi) as brushes,Which dentist have also endorsed that this is effective in preventing periodontal disease.
Not only its bark, leaf, fruit are used as medicines but the flowers are also used in cooking - pachadi for new year in tamilnadu and andra.and Soup(Rasam)
'Neem flower rasam/soup' is speciality of South India to be precise Tamilnadu .Many Healthy traditional dishes such as this has become a thing of past...over shadowed my modern dishes like burger, pizza etc.I was happy to see neem flowers when i visited India and grabbed some to bring it here :)
Tamarind-small lime size or thick pulp -2 tbs
Water-1 cups(depend of sourness of tamarind)
Tur Dhal water-1 cup(optional)
Neem flower(dry or fresh)
Rasam powder - 1 tsp
Dhaniya- dry fry and powder 1tsp]
Red chilli- 3 -4 according to taste
Asefotida- a pinch
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp
Mustard- 1/4 tsp(seasoning)
1)Soak tamarind in water and extract pulp. If using pulp add about 1 cups water dependidng on tamaraind. and 1 cup dhal water(this is optional.I personally like using dhal water but my mom does not use )
2)Add salt, turmeric powder,rasam powder and jaggery to the tamarind water.
3)Heat pan and boil the tamarind water till raw smell goes.
4)Now heat oil in another pan for seasoning.Add mustard .
5)When it splutters add Dry or fresh neem flower and fry till light brown. Add red chilli ,curry leaf and asefotida.
6)Add this to boiling Tamarind water and cook for couple of seconds .cover and keep immediately.
Serve with rice.