In Summary
  • Neem is such a hardy tree that will grow even in the poorest soils.
  • It is a shade giving tree and thrives in drought prone areas.
  • Neem tree is a popular medicinal herb that has been part of the traditional remedies is considered to have making it a one stop pharmacy tree.
  • Due to its antioxidant nature, it is used in traditional medicine to stimulate hair growth and prevent male pattern baldness.

Driving along Chuka Kanwa road to Kathwana, the headquarters of Tharaka-Nithi County, is torturous. The road is rough and dusty...and there is River Kagiri.

There is no bridge across River Kagiri and whether you are walking, riding or even driving, you have to “swim” across. Some say it is an act of cleansing as you enter one region from another.

We are headed to Muunguni Hill View Resort and after 30km drive, there is change of weather. A scorching sun and herds of goats welcome us.

The heat in the semi-arid region is intolerable but on arrival at Muunguni Hill View Resort, it miraculously melts away and a cool breeze greets us.

At the resort, neem trees stand everywhere and some have formed canopies where customers sit under enjoying the region’s delicacies and the comforting gentle wind. The hotel is simply a small forest in the ‘desert’.

“I started planting neem trees around the hotel early 2012 after realising that the scorching sun was a hindrance to the comfort of my customers,” Eric Murungi the resort owner.

“Neem is such a hardy tree that will grow even in the poorest soils. It grows rather slowly in the first year but gains momentum and reaches maturity within the first three to five years. The tree can reach a maximum height of 15-20 metres and it is evergreen. It is a shade giving tree and thrives in drought prone areas. The tree requires warmth and lots of sunlight and can do with very little water but later develops a huge root system with its taproot reaching far to mine the deep layers of soil for nutrients. One keeps on pruning the plant to attain a manageable desired size,” Murungi explains.

So what else makes neem the wonder tree everyone is talking about?

Neem tree is a popular medicinal herb that has been part of the traditional remedies is considered to have making it a one stop pharmacy tree.

Each part of the neem tree be it roots, bark, leaves twigs, seeds fruits or flowers is used in traditional treatment of numerous issues from inflammation, fever infection, skin conditions and dental disorder.

ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES

Abounding with antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti – inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-malarial and anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, it makes it a remedy for almost all health concerns.

When it comes to farming, Murungi uses neem water acquired after boiling the leaves and sprinkles it on the soil to keep away unwanted pests.

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