Needing some Neem

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  I first started experimenting with the anti-inflammatory neem tree when I learned a decade ago that the 4 Most Important Words in cancer care are… “Cancer Spreads by Inflammation”. I posted about it in 2008 below:

“Memory Elvin-Lewis, a professor of botany at Washington University in St. Louis and co-author, with her husband, Walter H. Lewis, of “Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Human Health” (2003, John Wiley & Sons), said such a role for trees could be true. In India, she said, compounds from neem trees are said to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and are planted around hospitals and sanitariums. “It’s not implausible,” Dr. Elvin-Lewis said; it simply hasn’t been studied.”

Now the science is catching up with traditional healers. Get some neem!

Neem components as potential agents for cancer prevention and treatment

Fang HaoSandeep KumarNeelu Yadav, and Dhyan Chandra*


Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Aug; 1846(1): 247–257.

Published online 2014 Jul 10. doi:  10.1016/j.bbcan.2014.07.002



Azadirachta indica, also known as neem, is commonly found in many semi-tropical and tropical countries including India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The components extracted from neem plant have been used in traditional medicine for the cure of multiple diseases including cancer for centuries. The extracts of seeds, leaves, flowers, and fruits of neem have consistently shown chemopreventive and antitumor effects in different types of cancer. Azadirachtin and nimbolide are among the few bioactive components in neem that have been studied extensively, but research on a great number of additional bioactive components is warranted. The key anticancer effects of neem components on malignant cells include inhibition of cell proliferation, induction of cell death, suppression of cancer angiogenesis, restoration of cellular reduction/oxidation (redox) balance, and enhancement of the host immune responses against tumor cells. While the underlying mechanisms of these effects are mostly unclear, the suppression of NF-κB signaling pathway is, at least partially, involved in the anticancer functions of neem components. Importantly, the anti-proliferative and apoptosis-inducing effects of neem components are tumor selective as the effects on normal cells are significantly weaker. In addition, neem extracts sensitize cancer cells to immunotherapy and radiotherapy, and enhance the efficacy of certain cancer chemotherapeutic agents. This review summarizes the current updates on the anticancer effects of neem components and their possible impact on managing cancer incidence and treatment.


Scientists at Hyderabad-based NIPER have claimed to have found that Nimbolide, a chemical compound derived from Neem leaves and flowers, may efficiently work towards curing breast cancer.

They are approaching various agencies such as the departments of biotechnology, AYUSH and science and technology for funding to carry out further research and take up clinical trials, said scientist Chandraiah Godugu.

The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) scientists found that Nimbolide significantly inhibited the growth of breast cancer, he said. Currently, further studies were being carried out to facilitate clinical trials, Godugu said

It might also become the cheapest anti-cancer drug by implementing advanced technological processes of production as Neem tree was found ubiquitously in India, the scientist said.

In addition to its anti-cancer property, it may prove to be a promising chemo preventive agent, said Godugu, who is part of the research programme. He said though various parts of a Neem plant were used traditionally to cure multiple disorders, scientific evidence for their rationale was lacking.

“We recently proved anti-cancer efficacy of Nimbolide in breast cancer by novel molecular pathways. It induces cell death and inhibits proliferation of cancer cells. “We found that Nimbolide significantly inhibited the growth of breast cancer and triple negative breast cacner cells…” he told PTI in an email note.

He said Neem tree (Azadirachta Indica) has a great value in Indian system of medicine and holds a significant place in the Ayurveda. It possesses many properties, like it is anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory, the scientist said.

“Its anti-cancer activity has been widely explored which is largely due to its active constituent Nimbolide. It is a novel compound with promising pre-clinical efficacy against multiple types of cancer,” Godugu said.

However, the clinical translation has been hampered due to unexplored pharmacokinetics of this novel molecule with immense potential for clinical translation, he added.

In order to solve the riddle of oral bio-availability and pharmacokinetics of Nimbolide, the NIPER made a team of experts in the area of pharmacology and pharmaceutical analysis comprising Shandilya Baira, Amit Khurana, Jaganmohan Somagoni, R Sriniva, Godugu, MVN Kumar Talluri.

“Nimbolide may even reduce the severe side effects associated with chemotherapeutic drugs. As it shows anticancer activity by attacking multiple pathways, the chances of drug resistance are very low.

“It may prove beneficial against relapsed tumour which pose the challenge of drug resistance. It may even kill the dormant and resistant cancer stem cells,” the scientist said.

He said they may expect a formulation of clinical translational value in the next four to five years with entry of the most promising formulation to the Phase-I clinical trials.

NIPER, Hyderabad, is an “Institute of National Importance” with proclaimed objectives of becoming Centre of Excellence for advanced research in pharmaceutical sciences.

Read more at: