Ken McCarthy interviews Klaus Ferlow, master herbalist and leading North American advocate of sturdy, fast-growing, versatile Neem tree.
Called “arista” in Sanskrit, it means “perfect, complete, imperishable.” It’s also known in India as the “village pharmacy.”
The neem tree grows rapidly, even under challenging desert conditions, anywhere where there is no frost.
The leaves, flower, twigs, bark, roots, oil, and oil cake are all useful.
Uses include: non-toxic pesticide, soil amendment, healthy supplement to animal feed, treatment for a wide variety of diseases including inflammation and skin diseases, mahogany-like wood, and a healthy base for cosmetics, soaps, shampoo.
The neem tree can grow up to 30 meters tall and 2.5 meters in girth. The tree’s spreading branches form rounded crowns as much as 20 meter across.
The tree can live as long as 200 years or more. One tree at the Mahakali Temple in Myanmar is 220 years old.
Klaus Ferlow is an Honorary Master Herbalist (HMH) from the Dominion Herbal College, Burnaby, B.C. and Herbal Advocate (HA) Canadian Herbalist’s Association of B.C.
– Ken McCarthy