Hi, my name is Birgit and I'm the owner and editor of the Discover Neem website.
I'm originally from Germany, where I studied biochemistry and immunology and worked in different research institutions and laboratories for over 10 years.
Then a holiday took me Australia, and I fell in love with its wild, tropical north west. I stayed here and settled in the Ord Valley in northern Western Australia (not far from Darwin), a major agricultural region and tropical fruit bowl.
Over the next 14 years I added to my existing knowledge, but now it was all about growing food: soils, nutrients, bugs, plant diseases, and everything else that comes with farming.
I first discovered neem because the Department of Agriculture introduced the neem trees into our area. They established a trial plantation here, to evaluate neem's potential as a commercial crop for our farmers.
The neem trees grew well. Incredibly well. And fast. And then they set seed. And then the birds discovered them. And loved them. And started spreading them...
I first discovered neem as one of the worst environmental weeds we've seen in this pristine wilderness area. I hated neem during the first few years that I knew about it. I spent whole weekends out in the bush killing feral neem trees. All I knew about neem trees then was that they are supposed to repel bugs.
Only during recent years did I learn more about what neem can do. And the more I read and dug around, the more fascinated I became. I soon ordered my first container of crude oil, which smelled worse than I had anticipated, and was more effective than I had imagined.
I have five acres of land, two of them are tropical permaculture gardens, growing just about every vegetable, fruit, herb and spice you can think of. Of course they are organic. Thanks to neem oil I never have to battle any bugs or diseases any more.
(With one exception: in the early days I did rescue one avocado tree from termites chemically... )
My chickens benefit from neem as well. They used to get all kinds of mites and scaly leg and other stuff. Chickens are a challenge to keep parasite free in this climate, I tell you... Or rather, they used to be. Now the cage and the roost get sprayed when the garden does, and the chickens themselves get a squirt as well.
Like the rest of my gardening efforts this is done irregularly, whenever I get around to it. Apparently I do so often enough, because everything is just fine here...
Living with me is Max, the dog. (Max is a girl. I liked the name but didn't want a male dog. And she doesn't care what I call her, as long as I feed her.)
Max is of course flea and tick free, thanks to regular washes and sprays with neem.
I was surprised how well it worked. Before I discovered neem I had to put Frontline on her every wet season. It was something I hated doing, but if the choice is Frontline or paralysis ticks, what's a girl supposed to do?
(I prefer to avoid synthetic chemicals, but not to the point where I risk my or an animal's health. I believe conventional medicine certainly has its place in our lives.)
As to myself, I was sold on neem for my own use after trying some neem bark to dip my toothbrush into. Finally something that really helps gingivitis!
For the rest of my body, well, after all the reading I'd done I had thought I would just mix my own lotions and potions by adding the raw oil to whatever I was using. After all it's the most effective and most economic way to use it.
I VERY quickly changed my mind when I received the neem oil. I have a really sensitive nose...
I love the scent of natural essential oils. Rose absolute, ylang ylang, mmmmm. I've always used totally natural products for personal care, and thank god there are beautiful smelling neem soaps and lotions out there... I think I'll stick to those, thank you!
I made this website because I realized how little the rest of the world still knows about neem. I saw first hand how difficult it is to find information about it. (I don't mind digging through scientific papers, but which normal person would want to do that? Or even understand what they are on about?)
I wanted to make this information available in a form that's easier to digest, a form that anyone can undestand and make sense of. I'd like to see knowledge about neem spread. I think neem can make a big difference in people's lives. People who'd like to avoid harsh chemicals, sprays, harmful cosmetics and similar health hazards should know about this!
I hope you find the site useful.
PS.: Any errors you find on the site, any improvements you can think of, any feedback on it: don't hesitate to contact me.