How Important are Trees?

How Important are Trees?
by Klaus Ferlow

What do you know about the benefits, their function, and value of trees to mankind?

Without going into many details, I just would like to highlight the more important things what a tree has to offer to us. On our own 10-acre property in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Canada, we have a huge variety of balsam fir, Douglas fir, hemlock, alder, red cedar, maple trees and all of them have medicinal value!

Years ago, a Native Indian women did ask me: “Did you ever hug a tree especially if the wind is whistling in their crown?” I had to deny it but a few days later used the opportunity hugging a huge Douglas fir tree when a strong wind was blowing and the experience was really amazing and I had goose bumps on my back and realized how small and unimportant I was compared to the tree! If you have never experienced it, please give it a try!

We human on our planet would be unable to life without trees. What are their major benefits?

Trees have been around since the Earth started, some of them can be as old as 10.000 years, for example the Ginkgo Biloba tree in China; the Neem tree is 4,500 years and you have probably seen pictures of old growth forest, real giants up to 364 feet!! In my book “Neem – Nature's Healing Gift to Humanity” I published a picture of a Neem tree in Myanmar (Burma) that is 220 years old, 50 meters high, and has a crown of 40 meters! Incredible as it may be, the temperature at the top of that Neem tree might be close to fifty degrees Celsius and due to the shade the tree creates the temperature can be up to 10-12 degrees less at the bottom. Because of that, it is known that bees prefer to build their hives always at the bottom of a Neem tree in countries with tropical and sub-tropical climate!

Trees combat climate change, clean polluted air and water, provide oxygen, cool streets in the cities, conserve energy, save water, prevent soil erosion and floods, and create shade (very important in tropical and subtropical countries.) The branches and trunks provide shelter, food, and habitat for mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, and other plants. The Sun's energy is filtered through the leaves to benefit all terrestrial creatures and transpire torrents of water vapor into the atmosphere. Their lives span periods of time that extend far beyond our existence, experience, and memory. They are remarkable beings, even communicate with each other through their roots and give signals in case of hurricanes, earth quakes, fire, drought, heavy rain, and temperature change, and the older trees take care of the younger and smaller ones!

Most people barely notice them and they create a special feeling and comfort you especially in the Summer with hot weather conditions. Do we really treat them with respect that they deserve? I don't think so. Whenever a new subdivision is created by developers, the first thing is to cut most or sometimes all the trees. In our own neighborhood, we had huge giant Douglas fir and maple trees growing and they are now all gone! A real sad story.

Trees offer these additional values:
  • Community and social
  • Ecological and environmental
  • Personal and spiritual
  • Practical and commercial, property values

Every tree that take root does carry with it a myriad of benefits for health, quality of life, and well-being – locally and globally!

Unfortunately, what we are doing in the Amazon areas cutting especially old growth forest is dangerous and life threatening since it is the lung creating oxygen and this has to stop before it is too late!

The Miraculous Versatile Medicinal Neem Tree (Azadirachta indica)

For those who are not familiar with the fascinating Neem tree – it is the most extensively studied and researched tree in modern science in the world – but outside Indian scientific community, Neem tree has been virtually unknown in the western world until very recently. Here are in a nut shell the benefits, more details you will be able to find in my book “Neem – Nature's Healing Gift to Humanity”:

All parts of the tree are medicinal, bark, leaves (as extract, tea and tincture), fruit (honey) twigs (used as natural tooth brush), seeds, kernels (oil), seed cake, and roots.

Health benefits of the Neem tree:
  • Boost immune system
  • Beneficial in treating acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, ringworm, hives, dandruff, and constipation
  • Blood purifying and detoxifying
  • Malaria, Chagas, and diabetes
  • Hair, protects teeth and gums
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Insect repellent
  • Digestive problems…just to name a few
Neem based organic, non-toxic pesticides are effective against 600 insect species. As cattle feed, all parts can be used as treatment for inflammation and fever. Neem improves the nutritional value of soil, protecting plant roots from pests and diseases. Derived from the mahogany family, Neem therefore is very durable wood ideal for construction material.

Check also the poster “The Life of Neem” which you find on the website of my book “Neem – Nature's Healing Gift to Humanity”, for more information! The United Nations declared the Neem tree as “The tree of the 21st century!” Long live the Neem Tree!
Words of Wisdom

For the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.
- Martin Luther

Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shade of a tree, the trembling of the leaf.
- Albert Schweitzer


Van Pelt Robert, Pelt Robert, Forest: Giants of the Pacific Coast, University of Washington, PY 2002
Tudge Colin, The Secret Life of Trees: How they life and why they matter, Allen Lane (PENG)
Hugo Nancy Ross, Seeing Trees Discover the extra ordinary secrets of every day trees, Timber Press, 2011
Pankenham, Thomas, Meeting with remarkable trees, Angus Books, 2006
Suzuki David, Grady Wayne, Tree – A Life Story, Greystone Books, 2004
Juniper Tony, Saving Planet Earth, Harper, 2007
Kingsbury Noel, The Glory of a tree: an illustrated history, Firefly Books, 2014
Wohlleben Peter, The Hidden Life of Trees, Ludwig Verlag, 2016

Klaus Ferlow, Honorary Master Herbalist, (HMH), Herbal Advocate (HA), innovator, lecturer, writer, researcher, founder of Ferlow Botanicals and NEEM RESEARCH, member of the Health Action Network Society, Neem Foundation & World Neem Organization, Mumbai, India and other organizations, writer of over 70 educational articles about health, healing, herbs, nutrition that have been published in health and woman's magazines worldwide and on the internet. Co-author of the book “7stepstodentalhealth” and author of the book “Neem – Nature's Healing Gift to Humanity.”,
copyright@2017 all rights reserved.

This information is offered for its educational value only and should not be used as diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease; contact your local health care provider.

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