South Asians to present Hannemann with curing tree
In parts of Africa, the tree is called "mwarobaini," meaning "the tree of 40." But in India, where the hardy evergreen is prevalent, it is known as "neem." Purported to cure up to 40 ailments, the fragrant tree is considered a wonder drug, or "village pharmacy." Parts of the tree are eaten or applied topically to treat ailments from skin afflictions such as eczema to diabetes and gout. Neem is also used as a fever reducer in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
A potted neem tree will be presented to Mayor Mufi Hannemann at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall's Pikake Room on Jan. 19. A program at 10:30 a.m. will include cultural entertainment and South Asian refreshments, plus a slide lecture on the properties of the tree. Hannemann will plant the tree near the center. Saleem Ahmed, president of Milun, the Association for Promoting South Asian Culture, says the tree is already found in more than 1,000 Honolulu homes.
Neem leaves and fruit.
The neem tree is a symbolic representation of the small South Asian, one with limited resources, he said. "Neem is our modest way of expressing mahalo to the larger Hawaiian community. ... Because neem has many effective and safe pest-control, pharmacological and industrial properties, I believe it is an effective and valuable addition to Hawaii's flora."
Potted plants and samples of neem-based oil, creams and toothpaste will be sold at the event. For more information, call 371-9360 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.