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Neem

Azadirachta indica
MEDICINAL: This plant, known as "the village pharmacy" in India, has been used for at least 4000 years for its medicinal qualities.All parts of the plant are used. Neem has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including wounds, burns, sprains, bruises, earache, headache, fever, sore throat, food poisoning, shingles, colds, flu, hepatitis, mononucleosis, fungal infections, yeast infections, sexually transmitted diseases, acne, skin diseases, heart diseases, blood disorders, kidney problems, digestive problems, ulcers, periodontal diseases, nerve disorders, malaria, fatigue, and a host of others. It is being closely studied for use in battling AIDS, cancer, diabetes, allergies, and as birth control for both men and women. Neem should not be used for more than two weeks at a time. For chronic ailments, it should be used on a schedule of two weeks on, one week off, or as directed under the guidance of a health practitioner. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic, and strengthens the body's overall immune reponses. It should not be used by internally by pregnant women.

RELIGIOUS: Neem leaves were traditionally strewn on the floor of temples at weddings, to purify and bless the area and the couple, and the air was fanned with neem branches during the ceremony. The bark was burned to make a red ash for religious decoration of the body in adulthood. Neem branches were used to cover the body at death, and the wood used to burn the funeral pyre. Neem is considered to be the Goddess Neemari Devi.

GROWING: Neem is a tropical evergreen, native to India and Burma, and growing in southeast Asia and western Africa. It can grow to reach 50 feet tall in a desirable climate, and tolerates drought and poor soils. It can live up to 200 years. Neem bears fruit at 3 to 5 years of age. It cannot take freezing temperatures, so those in northern climates can grow it as a houseplant. Summer it outdoors, and place near a bright or sunny window in the winter. It needs organic fertilizers, well drained soil, and as large a pot as possible. Ten gallon sized pots are recommended as the minimum. Be careful not to overwater.

Nettle

Urtica spp.
MEDICINAL: The plant is used for treating high blood pressure, gout, PMS, rheumatism, and ending diarrhea, scurvy, liver and prostate problems. Externally it is used as a compress to treat neuralgia and arthritis. It is a very high source of digestible iron. It also treats anemia, fatigue, edema, menstrual difficulties, eczema, enlarged prostate (especially when combined with Saw Palmetto), urinary tract problems, hay fever and allergies. It is very supportive during pregnancy. Use the infusion as a hair rinse to treat dandruff and to stimulate hair growth.

RELIGIOUS: Sprinkle nettle around the room to protect it. It is also burned during ceremonies for exorcism. Stuffed in a poppet and sent back to the sender of a curse or bad spell, it will end the negativity. Nettles gathered before sunrise and fed to cattle is said to drive evil spirits from them.

GROWING: As nettle is considered a bothersome weed, it is best to purchase this herb from a store. The spines on a nettle plant can cause painful stinging, so it is not a good idea to include it in your herbal garden.

Nutmeg

Myristica fragrans
MEDICINAL: A small amount of nutmeg, about the size of a pea, can be taken once daily over a long period (6 months to a year) to relieve chronic nervous problems, as well as heart problems stemming from poor circulation. Added to milk, and baked fruits and desserts, it aids in digestion, and relieves nausea. Large doses can be poisonous, and may cause miscarriage for pregnant women.

RELIGIOUS: Carried, nutmeg will help with clairvoyancy, and ward off rheumatism. It is included in prosperity mixtures. Nutmegs are carried as good luck charms.

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Copyright 1996-2001Rev. Dr. Lisa Waltz, ND, DD, CNC
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