As in kushta, neem has been extensively utilised for the diseases of small pox, measles, cataract associated with small pox, German measles, eczema, sarcoptes (itch-mite) and scabies. It is employed in general dressing of the afflictions of these diseases in various stages as well as a sure, easily available and cheap remedy for all of them. There are many other bitter drugs employed similarly. However, since small pox is now totally eradicated in India, all this is mainly of historical interest now.
But it shows how neem was employed in several stages of this dreadful disease which was a regular and periodic epidemic till the other day in India. Moreover, this account has some relevance to other viral diseases like chicken pox and measles that are still quite prevalent still.
One valuable lesson is to use the measure of decreasing the extensive thirst that accompanies small pox. Such a thirst is very common in many fevers. The measure is to give neem water (i.e. water in which some leaves of neem are boiled and then cooled and filtered) to the patient in little quantities but at frequent intervals.
The disease of small pox is totally eradicated now no doubt. Still, the following account where neem proved to be the best among all medicines is of considerable interest since it is quite detailed. The epidemic of small pox used to spread widely during spring-summer. The feeding mothers and the teething infants were particularly susceptible for this infection then. It was advised that they should abstain from heavy and kapha causing foods and consume plenty of bitter rasa, particularly neem.
Using neem sticks for tooth brush, drinking of neem juice or eating neem leaves fried in ghee were advised as possible preventives. Bhavamisra opines that by taking neem seeds crushed with turmeric in water one can probably avoid the painful appearance of the eruptions of small pox. Taking a drink of neem seed ground with an equal quantity of bahedo. seeds in water and then filtered, was another preventive of this epidemic.
If the eruptions of small pox had already commenced, one had to be careful and clean. There is no need of any medications if there are no attendant complications; things will subside on their own if complications do not arise. These complications when they became manifest are best treated with neem. The violence of the disease will be pacified by the drinking of the decotion of neem bark.
To palliate intolerable pain and scratching of the eruptions of small pox, use an ointment of neem. Taking fresh tender neem leaves daily along with those of liquorice (muletM will be a great help. By a consumption of neem, the fever will not increase, the patient’s thirst will be lessened and the excess of pitta dosha that usually accompanies the fever will be removed. Its general weakness will also be less.
Even now, it is very common to see the patients of chicken pox are brought to the hospitals with an external application of neem oil all over the body as well as an oral drink of neem within. Tieing the twigs of neem at the windows and cots of a small pox patient and using the leaf bunches of neem to ward of the flies of such a patient were some of the other advices offered.
If the patient becomes excessively thirsty, spread tender neem leaves on his bed and keep changing these leaves once they become wilted. Grind neem leaves in water, stir them well in water with a stirrer and apply the foam thereof all over or apply a very thin layer of the neem ointment similarly. The application should never be thick and troublesome in itself. That is why, the application of just foam of neem water is advised.
To quench violent thirst common in a small pox patient, burn the bark of neem to an ash, mix this ash in water, filter it well and then let the patient drink this water at frequent intervals. If it is still not quenched cook a tola (The modem equivalents for these traditional units of weight measurement, referred in this Text henceforth are as follows: 1 ratti = 1 gunza (the seed of Abius precatoriusL), 8 gunza = 1 masha, 10 mashas = 1 tola, 24 tolas = 1 ser, 1 tola =10 grams)three times a day.) of neem leaves in a ser of water till the quantity of water becomes half. Filter and let the patient drink it in small quantities but at frequent intervals. By this procedure, there will be a pacification of thirst, the toxoids of small pox and the fever they cause consequently will decrease in their violence and the eruptions will also dry out quickly. A general, all round relief will ensue.
It happens sometimes that the eruptions of small pox will not come out adequately, the toxoids will remain within the body then and the patient becomes restless, the acuteness of his fever increases and he starts crying aloud. Let such a deeply distressed patient drink fresh neem juice.
The eruptions will become full and the course of the disease henceforth will become normal. When the patient becomes normal and the eruptions dry out fully, bathe him with water in which neem leaves have been boiled and then cooled. Massage him with neem oil all over the body. On the spots left out, apply neem oil for some days or keep rubbing them with the kernel of the neem seed ground in water.
The depressions will fill up and the spots will disappear. In case the patient’s hairs have started falling out following small pox, massage his head with neem oil for a few days and the hair fall will stop.