Neem tree leaves are an African natural medicine (

Flickr: Tatters:)

Although technically neem leaves are a dark green leafy vegetable, we’re putting neem leaves firmly in the “Botanicals” section of African Epicure. This is because they are the easy-to-use bounty of the African tree commonly known in regional languages as the “pharmacy tree” and “tree of forty uses.”

Neem leaves can be wild harvested, picked gently from new branches where the leaves are soft and light green. We have heard that they can be eaten in salads, but we find them extremely bitter, raw or cooked. If you have ideas, please let us know (!

Neem leaves can be burned in a small pot and the smoke keeps mosquitoes away. It gets rather thick so please don’t burn it indoors. Near doors works well!

Please don’t take neem internally if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant, but if you’d like to use it as an anti-parasitic and a general tonic, you can make neem tonic to drink once a week. Many families of Indian decent in East Africa take this weekly to help build up the immune system in places where there are malaria.

For instructions on how to make a neem tonic, go to:

Neem Tonic

To learn more about neem trees, visit:

Neem Tree