TRACE ELEMENTS CONTENT OF NEEM LEAVES (AZADIRACHTA INDICA).
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) is one of the very few trees known in the Indian subcontinent (Puri, 1999). This tree belonged to Meliaceae family and grows rapidly in the tropic and semi-tropic climates. It is also observed that this tree could survive in very dry and arid conditions. (Puri, 1999). The Neem Tree is an incredible plant that has been declared the Tree of the 21st century by the United Nations (Puri, 1999). In India, it is variously known as ‘Divine Tree’, ‘Life-giving tree’, ‘Nature’s Drugstore’, ‘Village Pharmacy’, and ‘Panacea for all diseases’. It is one of the major components in Ayurvedic medicine, which has been practiced in India for many centuries. Extracts from the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica A Juss) also called ‘Dogonyaro’ in Nigeria are most consistently recommended in ancient medical texts for gastrointestinal upsets, diarrhea and intestinal infections, skin ulcers, and malaria (Schmutterer, 1995). All parts of the Neem plant such as leaves, bark, flower, fruit, seed, and root have advantages in medical treatment and industrial products. Its leaves can be used as a drug for diabetes, eczema and reduce fever. Barks of Neem can be used to make the toothbrush and the roots have the ability to heal diseases and against insects. (Puri, 1999). The seed of the Neem tree has a high concentration of oil. Neem oil is widely used as insecticides, lubricants, drugs for a variety of diseases such as diabetes and tuberculosis (Puri, 1999; Ragasa et al., 1996). India encouraged scientific investigations on neem tree as part of his program to revitalize Indian tradition and also increase commercial interest in neem (Stix, 1992) and presently some authors believe that no other plant or tree in the world has been so extensively researched or used in all possible capacities so far. In Africa, extracts from neem leaves have provided various medicinal preparations (Ekanem, 1971; Udeinya, 1993). Neem plant (Azadirachta indica) has been of great benefit to human health due to its biochemical, pharmacological, and medicinal properties. 1.1 AIM OF PROJECT Many types of research have been carried out on the neem plant (Azadirachta indica) and results have shown that it has both medicinal and pharmacological properties. However, there is no documented information relating to the mineral properties inherent in the leaf of the plant. Consequently, this work was aimed at determining some minerals present in the water extract of neem leaf using the modern atomic absorption spectrophotometric analysis.