From very ancient times in India, the use of neem In leprosy has been prevalent. In the times of Charaka a decotion of the five organs (bark, leaf, root, flower and seed) of neem was given in the early stages of leprosy. Among the six decoctions that Charaka mentions for kushta there is one with neem and the bitter patola or the snake gourd; this was recommended for external application during the bathing of the patient.
In the leprosy of the upper parts of the body, a vomiting is induced first with the aid of neem along with madana fruit [Gardenia) and patola leaf and then only the real medication commences—again, mainly with neem. In such cases of leprosy where the sense of touch has completely disappeared, an external application of neem leaves, a bathing with neem preparations and drinks of neem are generally advised. There is an extensive description of treatment of leprosy with neem in Charaka.
Shodala, a later ayurvedist asserts that if a hundred leaves of neem are ground and taken daily for six days, even very old leprosy accompanied with all aberrations will disappear. Besides, if neem is taken along with harad or turmeric for a month daily, all kinds of leprosy will be overcome, but the patient is advised to sustain himself only on cow’s milk during’ this entire period. A patient of leprosy is advised to stay below a neem tree, use the twigs of neem as a tooth brush, take food cooked on a fire of neem sticks, drink the juice of neem leaf daily in the morning,bathe, massage and anoint the body with neem medications and also sleep on a spread of neem leaves!
If a ghee made of the five bitter drugs one of which is neem is taken for two years nearly, even maha kushta will disappear. In white leprosy or leucoderma when white spots arise on skin or there is an eruption of red spots and in skin diseases where pustules appear along with itching and in all those afflictions of skin which Ayurvedists bring under the general term kushta, a remedy of neem powders for about two months is advised.
In white leprosy or leucoderma, leaves, flowers and fruits of neem-all ground together very fine in equal quantities are taken in two masha after mixing it with water and filtering. Slowly increase the dosage to six masha and continue this for forty days. During this period the patient is advised to avoid raw milk, acutely sour food, meat, alcohol and any constitutionally contrary and constipative food.
The cure is certain. In shunya kustha or leprosy where the affected parts are totally desensitised, an application of neem poultice over the regions concerned or rubbing the regions with the ash of neem continuously will restore the sensation.