Neem (Azadirachta indica): An indian traditional panacea with modern molecular basis

Phytomedicine. 2017 Oct 15:34:14-20. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.07.001. Epub 2017 Jul 3.


Background: For centuries, agents derived from natural sources (mother nature), especially plants have been the primary source of medicine. Neem, also referred to as Azadirachta indica is one such plant that has been so named because it provides freedom from all diseases, and used for thousands of years in Indian and African continents. Different parts of the plant including flowers, leaves, seeds and bark have been used to treat both acute and chronic human diseases; and used as insecticide; antimicrobial, larvicidal, antimalarial, antibacterial, antiviral, and spermicidal.

Purpose: What is there in neem and how it manifests its wide variety of effects is the focus of this review. How neem and its constituents modulate various cellular pathways is discussed. The animal and human studies carried out with neem and its constituents is also discussed.

Conclusion: Over 1000 research articles published on neem has uncovered over 300 structurally diverse constituents, one third of which are limonoids including nimbolide, azadarachtin, and gedunin. These agents manifest their effects by modulating multiple cell signaling pathways.

Keywords: Cancer; Clinical trial; Human diseases; Molecular targets; Neem; Phytochemicals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azadirachta / chemistry*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Flowers / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Limonins / chemistry*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phytochemicals / chemistry
  • Phytochemicals / pharmacology*
  • Plant Bark / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Seeds / chemistry


  • Limonins
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts
  • nimbolide
  • gedunin