permed at permed at
Thu Sep 14 01:55:30 EDT 2000

John Schinnerer wrote:
>I know an 'elder' woman from India who tells me that neem is somewhat of 
>an all-purpose antibiotic/disinfectant/etc. there (among other things) - 
>simplest recipe she mentioned was to simmer leaves in water for 10+ 
>minutes.  Don't know if this solution would repel bugs from plants or not 
>or is simply for a topical antibiotic.

A simple dedcoction of neem leaves (as described above) is an effective 
repellent, anitfeedant and insecticide - bugs find it most distastful. If 
bugs with indiscriminate taste buds actually eat plants sprayed with neem 
solution their hormons are seriously disturbed - imparing their ability 
to defend themselves & breed, preventing ecdysis or 'skin'-shedding, 
changing from one instar to the next (e.g. from catapillar to chrysalis). 
Neem seed extract is stronger and of course has a shelf-life unlike the 
simple village leaf brew.
Dried leaves have numerous uses including insecticidal - maybe that's the 
way to get round the market monopoly on processed neem products.

A hardy warm temperate relative of the tropical neem tree is the White 
Cedar (Melia azedarach) also called Persian or Indian Lilac, Chinaberry 
and Pride of India, has similar properties and can handle frost. Native 
to Himalayas through SE Asia, Australia down to Tasmania.

There are a thousand and one uses for both these plants - worth checking 

Scott Pitman wrote:
<I have often wondered if Chinaberry (Melia azedarach)
would work, it also contains the triterpinoids (antifeedants), and I
assume, like Neem,&nbsp; the chemical that stops ecdysis in
insects.&nbsp; Chinaberry is also known as White Cedar and grows very
well in the South, it grows to zone 5 in New Mexico.>

Yes, the leaf, bark and fruit are insect repelling and antifeedant: seed 
oil (250 ppm) kills mosquito larvae. other susceptible pests include 
grain moth, painted bug, nematodes. An effective repellent and control 
for cabbage worm, 28-spotted ladybird, tobacco cutworm, rice weevils and 
fungal diseases. Haven't read anything about it inhibiting ecdysis - i 
think research of this tree has been forgotten with the neem hype, maybe 
it deserves a closer look...

Robyn Francis

Permaculture Education
Djanbung Gardens
PO Box 379
Nimbin NSW 2480 

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