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Neem

Neem
Neem tree has a strong place in the world of medicine and wellness. Every part of the Neem plant can be used against various infectious diseases.
Neem can be taken orally and also be applied on the affected skin area to manage various skin problems like acne, pimples, skin rashes and skin allergies. It is also used to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, eczema and ringworm infection.
Taking a Neem tablet after meals daily can be beneficial for diabetic patients as it may help lower blood sugar levels.
Neem oil can be applied to get rid of head lice and can also help manage wounds (like diabetic ulcers) in diabetic patients. Neem twigs, if used regularly, can help prevent dental problems like gingivitis, cavities and tooth decay.
It is advisable to avoid the consumption of Neem during pregnancy as it may cause a miscarriage.
In some cases, Neem might cause vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness and skin allergies if taken more than the recommended dosage[2-5][14][18][20][23].

What are the synonyms of Neem?

Azadirachta indica, Margosa Tree, Neem Tree, Indian Lilac, Picumardah, Aristah, Picumandah, Prabhadrah, Nim, Nimgaachh, Leemado, Turakbevu, Huchchabevu, Chikkabevu, Veppu, Aryaveppu, Aaruveppu, Kadunimba, Nimb, Neemo, Vempu, Veppu, Vemu, Vepa

What is the source of Neem?

Plant Based

Benefits of Neem

What are the benefits of Neem for Skin disorders?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem leaves have good blood purifying property. They help in reducing toxin levels and lower the risk of skin problems like acne, eczema and skin rash[18].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem has the property of Tikta (Bitter) and Kashaya (Astringent), due to which it works as a blood purifier and controls various skin problems.
Tip:
1. Take 3-4 teaspoons of Neem Syrup twice a day after meals.
2. You can add 1 teaspoon of honey to enhance the taste.
3. Continue this for 1-2 months for better results.

What are the benefits of Neem for Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem leaves might help manage diabetes due to its blood sugar lowering effect. A study states that Nimbinin present in Neem leaves helps in lowering blood sugar level[2][14].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem helps control high blood sugar level due to its Tikta (bitter) and Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) removing nature that helps to improve the metabolism.
Tip:
Take 1 Neem tablet twice a day before lunch and dinner.

What are the benefits of Neem for Malaria?

scientific
Modern Science View
Certain constituents present in Neem have antimalarial property. These might help in case of malaria by suppressing the growth of the malarial parasite[14].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem has the property of Tikta (bitter) and Krimihar and works as an antimicrobial agent to prevent the growth of any infection in the body.

What are the benefits of Neem for Worm infections?

scientific
Modern Science View
A substance known as Azadirachtin present in Neem leaves might lower the risk of parasitic worms due to its antihelmintic property. It suppresses the activity of parasites and helps in its removal from the body[21].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem has the property of Tikta (bitter) and Krimihar and works as anti-worm to prevent the growth of worms in the body.
Tip:
1. Take 1/2 teaspoon of Neem powder.
2. Mix it with 1-2 teaspoons of honey.
3. Take it twice a day before meals.

What are the benefits of Neem for Stomach ulcers?

scientific
Modern Science View
Studies state that Neem has anti-inflammatory property. It might lower the risk of gastric ulcers by reducing the level of gastric acid secretion and increasing the level of gastric mucus[14][18].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem helps to lower the risk of ulcer due to its Ropan (healing), Sita (cold) and Kashaya (astringent ) effect.
Tip:
1. Take 1/2 teaspoon of Neem powder.
2. Mix it with 1-2 teaspoons of honey.
3. Take it twice a day before meals.
4. Continue this for 1-2 months for better results.

How effective is Neem?

Insufficient evidence
Diabetes mellitus (Type 1 & Type 2), Diarrhea, Fever, Heart disease, Malaria, Skin disorders, Stomach ulcers, Worm infections

Precautions when using Neem

Advice from Experts
scientific
Modern Science View
1. In autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) and rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system is more active. Consuming Neem could increase the symptoms in such cases. Therefore, avoid Neem in the case of auto-immune diseases[4].
2. According to some studies, Neem can damage sperm and reduce the chance of conception. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid Neem in case you are undergoing infertility treatment or planning to have children[4].
3. Neem might interfere with the blood sugar levels during and after surgery. So it is advisable to stop taking Neem at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem oil should always be used under medical supervision
Tip:
You can use sendha namak, ghee and cow milk for reducing any side-effects of Neem oil.
Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
People who are allergic to Neem or its constituents should use Neem under a doctor’s supervision[20].
Breastfeeding
scientific
Modern Science View
Due to the lack of scientific evidence, medicinal use of Neem should be avoided during breastfeeding[4].
Patients with diabetes
scientific
Modern Science View
Neem may lower blood glucose level. So it is generally advisable to monitor the blood glucose level if you have diabetes or taking any anti-diabetes drugs[4].
Patients with heart disease
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Neem leaf poisoning can lead to ventricular fibrillation.
2. Neem leaf extract may also cause bradycardia (slowed heart rate), heart rate abnormalities or low blood pressure[20]
Pregnancy
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Neem oil and leaves are likely unsafe and can cause a miscarriage. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid its use during pregnancy[4].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Vomiting
2. Diarrhea
3. Drowsiness[4][20]

Recommended Dosage of Neem

  • Neem Leaves - 4-5 leaves once a day.
  • Neem Juice - 2-4 teaspoons twice a day.
  • Neem Churna - ¼-½ teaspoon twice a day.
  • Neem Capsule - 1-2 capsules twice a day.
  • Neem Tablet - 1-2 tablets twice a day.
  • Neem Syrup - 3-4 teaspoons twice a day after meals.

How to use Neem

1. Neem Leaves
a. Chew 4-5 fresh Neem leaves.
b. Take them preferably on an empty stomach once a day for controlling intestinal worms[17].

2. Neem Juice
a. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Neem juice and dilute it with an equal quantity of water.
b. Drink it before meals, once or twice a day for effective control of diabetes and for weight loss[16].

3. Neem Churna
a. Take ¼-½ teaspoon of Neem churna.
b. Drink with warm water or honey after meals twice a day.

4. Neem Capsule
a. Take 1 Neem capsule.
b. Swallow it with warm water after meals twice a day.

5. Neem Tablet
a. Take 1 Neem tablet.
b. Swallow it with warm water after meals twice a day.

6. Neem Kwath
a. Take 5-6 teaspoons of Neem kwatha (decoction).
b. Drink it with water or honey once or twice after taking meals for its antibacterial and antidiarrheal activities[19].

Benefits of Neem

What are the benefits of Neem for Head lice?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem might help in controlling head lice due to its insecticidal property. It acts by disrupting the life cycle of lice and prevents them from hatching eggs[23].
Tip:
1. Mix Neem oil with your shampoo in 1:3 ratio.
2. Wash your hair using this mixture.
3. Massage onto the scalp for at least 5 minutes.
4. Keep it for another 5-6 minutes.
5. Rinse off the shampoo using plain water.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem has Tikta (bitter) and Ruksa (dry) quality which helps in controlling dandruff and head lice.

What are the benefits of Neem for Dental plaque?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem might be useful in lowering the risk of dental plaque due to its antimicrobial property. Neem twig if used regularly can help prevent dental issues like gingivitis, cavities and tooth decay[2][14].
Tip:
1. Use Neem twig in place of your regular toothbrush to clean your teeth.
2. Rinse your mouth with plain water afterward.
3. Repeat daily.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
The Kashaya (astringent) property of Neem lowers the risk of bleeding gums and tooth decay when used on a daily basis.

What are the benefits of Neem for Contraception?

scientific
Modern Science View
Studies state that Neem might be effective in preventing pregnancy when used in the form of oil as a vaginal lubricant prior to sexual intercourse. This is due to its strong spermicidal activity. It is advisable to consult a doctor before using Neem as a contraceptive[23].

What are the benefits of Neem for Diabetic ulcers?

scientific
Modern Science View
A combination of Topical use of Neem oil and oral use of Turmeric powder capsule is effective for managing chronic non-healing wounds in case of diabetes. This is due to their angiogenic property (formation of new blood vessels) which helps in faster wound healing[5].

What are the benefits of Neem for Herpes labialis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Aqueous extract of Neem bark acts as a potent inhibitor of the virus entry as well as its attachment to the target cells. Thus, Neem bark extract is known to have potent antiviral activity against Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)[7].

What are the benefits of Neem for Preventing mosquito bites?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem might be used as an insect repellent due to its insecticidal properties making it effective against various insects, mites and nematodes[23].
Tip:
1. Take 2-3 drops of Neem oil and mix with 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil in equal amounts and mix well.
2. Apply on your skin whenever you are stepping outside.

How effective is Neem?

Insufficient evidence
Contraception, Dental plaque, Diabetic ulcers, Head lice, Herpes labialis, Preventing mosquito bites, Psoriasis

Precautions when using Neem

Allergy
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Apply Neem to a small area first to test for possible allergic reactions. People who are allergic to Neem or its constituents should use it under doctor’s supervision.
Tip:
1. Neem leaves or bark paste should be used with rose water or honey if your skin is hypersensitive.
2. The juice of Neem leaves or Neem oil should be used with coconut or olive oil on scalp or skin due to its strong nature.

Recommended Dosage of Neem

  • Neem Juice - 1-2 teaspoons or as per your requirement.
  • Neem Oil - ½-1 teaspoon or as per your requirement.
  • Neem Leaves - ½-1 teaspoon or as per your requirement.
  • Neem Paste - ½-1 teaspoon or as per your requirement.
  • Neem Powder - ½-1 teaspoon or as per your requirement.

How to use Neem

1. Neem-Rose water Pack
a. Take 1 teaspoon of Neem leaves or bark powder.
b. Add 1-2 teaspoons of rose water to form a paste.
c. Apply it all over your face and neck and wait for 10-15 minutes.
d. Wash thoroughly with tap water.
e. Use this pack 3 times a week to get relief from acne and blackheads[13].

2. Neem-Coconut oil
a. Take ½-1 teaspoon of Neem oil.
b. Add 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil to it.
c. Apply to the scalp and massage well for 10-15 minutes.
d. Repeat thrice a week to control lice[10].

3. Neem fresh leaves or bark paste
a. Take ½-1 teaspoon of Neem paste.
b. Add 2 pinches of turmeric to it.
c. Apply evenly on your face and neck.
d. Keep for 5-10 minutes and then wash with lukewarm water.
e. Use this remedy twice a week to manage acne and uneven skin tone[14].

4. Neem twigs as a toothbrush
Use Neem twigs as a toothbrush (datoon) to clean teeth and maintain dental hygiene[18].

5. Neem Juice
a. Take 1-2 teaspoons of Neem juice.
b. Mix it with honey.
c. Apply it over the open wounds and eczema sites.
d. Use this remedy 2-3 times a day for effective wound healing and for antiseptic action[5].

Frequently asked questions

Q. Where can Neem be found in day to day life?

scientific
Modern Science View
Various forms of Neem are found in our day to day life:
1. Neem oil: Used as a component of facial and skin wash, scrubs and creams.
2. Neem Leaf Powder: Used in masks, washes, toners and peels.
3. Neem Cake: Used for scrubs.

Q. How to store Neem leaves?

scientific
Modern Science View
You can store Neem leaves in a cool and dry place for a week after washing the leaves and drying under the sun.

Q. How to store Neem oil?

scientific
Modern Science View
Store Neem oil in the refrigerator or in a cool and dark place for it to last longer. It can last for a year or two. It is always advisable to use Neem oil under medical supervision if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Q. Can Neem be used in aromatherapy?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem flower oil is used in aromatherapy as it has a restorative and calming effect on the body. As a result, Neem flower oil is also an important ingredient in various creams and massage oils[18].

Q. Can you reuse a Neem twig?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although Neem twigs are known to help in maintaining good oral health, it should not be reused to avoid microbial contamination[17].

Q. What is the scientific name of Neem?

scientific
Modern Science View
The scientific name of Neem is Azadirachta indica.

Q. Can Neem improve liver function?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Neem leaves might help improve liver function. It is a rich source of antioxidants which help protect the liver against damage by certain substances (free radicals). This also helps in effective blood purification. Thus, Neem rejuvenates liver and improves its function[14][18].

Q. Does Neem have neuroprotective effect?

scientific
Modern Science View
An animal study states that Neem showed antioxidant activity on the damage caused due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain. It worked by increasing the level of vitamin C in the brain that helped destroy certain substances (free radicals). This helped reduce the damage caused due to insufficient supply of blood to the brain[15].

Q. Can Neem be used as a contraceptive?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem can be used either as a pre or postcoital (before or after sexual intercourse) contraceptive as it prevents the multiplication of sperm cells and their mobility even at a low concentration. Purified extracts of Neem have been found to terminate pregnancies. Fertility is regained after one or two cycles without any impact on future pregnancies[14].

Q. Can Neem be used for gastric ulcers?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem bark contains anti-inflammatory compounds that decrease the acid-forming enzymes as well as the gastric acid secretion. Thus, Neem helps to reduce gastric acid damage. Neem extract also helps to increase the level of gastric mucus, which helps in the prevention of gastric ulcers[14][18].

Q. Can Neem be used to lower blood sugar levels?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem inhibits certain enzymes that help digest carbohydrates. Inhibition of these enzymes significantly reduces the increase of blood sugar after meals. This helps in the management of blood sugar levels in diabetic patients[16].

Q. Can Neem be used to treat cancer?

scientific
Modern Science View
Studies state that the extract of Neem leaves can destroy cancer cells. Constituents of Neem leaves prevent cancer proliferation and can also aid in cancer treatment by improving the immune response, eliminating free radicals and inhibiting cell division and inflammation[18].

Q. Can Neem be used in case of a snake bite?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem has the antidote property as it contains certain chemicals that detoxify snake venom proteins. Neem stops the activity of an enzyme present in snake venom that causes neurotoxicity (toxic effect on nerves), myotoxicity (toxic effect on muscles), cardiotoxicity (toxic effect on heart), hemorrhagic, anticoagulant effects and various inflammatory disorders. A decoction/paste from the flower, bark, leaf or fruit of Neem is prepared and given orally in such cases[19][20][21].

Q. Is it safe to consume Neem seed oil?

scientific
Modern Science View
It is advisable to consult a doctor before consuming Neem seed oil as it is said to produce toxic effects[18].

Q. What does Neem do to your skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem might control various skin infections like eczema, scabies, ringworm and maggot-infested wounds due to its antimicrobial property. Neem also has antioxidant property that helps prevent cell damage and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles[9].
Tip:
1. Take a handful of Neem leaves.
2. Boil them in a pot of water (500 ml) till half the amount remains.
3. Cool this mixture and use it as a last rinse after your regular shower.
4. Repeat this twice a week for better results.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem has Kashya (Astringent) and Ropan (Healing) qualities which help in managing skin infections.

Q. What does Neem do in case of acne?

scientific
Modern Science View
Studies say that Neem has good antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria and reduces the redness and pain around acne[13].
Tip:
1. Take 5-6 fresh and clean Neem leaves.
2. Crush them to form a paste.
3. Apply this paste on your acne.
4. Leave it for 10-15 minutes.
5. Wash with lukewarm water and pat dry.
6. Repeat this thrice a week for better results.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem helps to reduce excessive oil from the skin due to its Ruksha (dry) property. It also reduces pain and inflammation of skin acne due to its Kshaya (Astringent) and Sita (Cold) nature.

Q. Can Neem cure psoriasis?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem might be useful in psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory property. Regular application of Neem oil helps in reducing skin rashes and dryness associated with psoriasis[18].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem helps to reduce the redness and inflammation in psoriasis due to its Ropan (healing) and Kshaya (astringent) properties.
Tip:
1. Take 1/2 teaspoon Neem oil.
2. Mix it with coconut oil.
3. Apply to the affected area once or twice a day.
4. Continue this for at least 1-2 months for better results.

Q. Is Neem good for your dental health?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem might be useful in lowering the risk of dental plaque due to its antimicrobial property. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property of Neem helps reduce toothache and improve gum health[12][14].

Q. Can Neem be used as a root canal irrigant?

scientific
Modern Science View
Root canal irrigation is a process that is done during a root canal treatment to prevent infection in the tooth. Neem might be useful as a root canal irrigant due to its antibacterial property[12].

Q. Can Neem be used in case of eye problems?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem might be used for lowering the risk of eye problems like night blindness and conjunctivitis due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-histaminic properties[14].

Q. What are the uses of Neem oil?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem oil might be useful in protecting you from mosquito bites due to its insecticidal property. It can be mixed with coconut oil and applied on the skin to repel mosquitoes. Some scientific studies have also shown that Neem oil has spermicidal property. Due to this it might be used as a vaginal contraceptive, however more studies are required[21-23].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem oil is very useful in treating various skin problems like skin infection, skin rashes and quick healing of the wound. Neem oil has the same property as Neem so it is one of the most useful oils to treat various types of skin disorders. It has the property of Ropan (healing) which enhances healing when applying on the affected area.

Q. What are the benefits of Neem leaves juice or extract?

scientific
Modern Science View
Neem leaves juice possesses antibacterial and insecticidal properties. Due to this, it might be used to manage gonorrhoea (a sexually transmitted disease) and leucorrhoea (vaginal discharge). It might also be applied to manage skin disorders and given as a nasal drop to manage infestation of worms in the nose. Neem leaves juice and extract has antifungal property due to which it can be applied on the scalp to get rid of dandruff occurring because of fungal infections. Some studies have also shown that Neem leaves extract have spermicidal property[24-27].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Neem leaves juice has many medicinal properties which help to treat various health problems. It helps remove worm infestation when taken orally. It also helps to provide relief from cough and cold in spite of Sita (cold) property. Neem leaves also helps remove dandruff from the scalp when applied to the scalp. Neem leaves are also known as a good Rakta Shodhak (blood purifier) which helps provide relief from skin disorders when taken in the form of juice.

References

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1 Volume 1.
  2. Alzohairy MA.Therapeutics role of Azadirachta indica (Neem) and their active constituents in diseases prevention and treatment.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.2016.
  3. Gupta SC, Prasad S, Tyagi AK, et al.Neem (Azadirachta indica): An Indian traditional panacea with modern molecular basis.Phytomedicine.2017;34:14-20
  4. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-577/neem
  5. Singh A, Singh AK, Narayan G, et al.Effect of Neem oil and Haridra on nonhealing wounds.Ayu.2014;35(4):398-403.
  6. Heyman L, Haddad YH, Heyman SN, et al.Combined antioxidant effects of Neem extract, bacteria, red blood cells and Lysozyme: possible relation to periodontal disease.BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.2017;17:399.
  7. Hadigal S, Shukla D.Exploiting Herpes Simplex Virus entry for novel therapeutics.Viruses.2013;5:1447-1465.
  8. Upadhyay RK.Anti-arthritic potential of plant natural products; its use in joint pain medications and anti-inflammatory drug formulations.International Journal of Green Pharmacy.2016;10(3):120-130.
  9. Dubey S, Kashyap P.Azadirachta indica: A plant with versatile potential.RGUHS J Pharm Sci.2014;4(2):39-46.
  10. Mehlhorn H, Abdel-Ghaffar F, Al-Rasheid KA, et al.Ovicidal effects of a Neem seed extract preparation on eggs of body and head lice.Parasitol Res.2011;109(5):1299-302.
  11. Kumar VS, Navaratnam V.Neem (Azadirachta indica): Prehistory to contemporary medicinal uses to humankind.Asian Pac J Trop Biomed.2013;3(7):505-514.
  12. Lakshmi T, Krishnan V, Rajendran R, et al.Azadirachta indica: A herbal panacea in dentistry – An update.Pharmacogn Rev.2015;9(17):41–44.
  13. Yadav N, Singh A, Chatterjee A, et al.Evaluation of efficacy and safety of perfect face gel and perfact face tablets in management of acne.J Clin Exp Dermatol Res.2011;2(2).
  14. Bhowmik D, Chiranjib, Yadav J, et al.Herbal remedies of Azadirachta indica and its medicinal application.J. Chem. Pharm. Res.2010;2(1):62-72.
  15. Yanpallewar S, Rai S, Kumar M, et al.Neuroprotective effect of Azadirachta indica on cerebral post-ischemic reperfusion and hypoperfusion in rats.Life Sciences.2005;76(12):1325-1338.
  16. Governa P, Baini G, Borgonetti V, et al.Phytotherapy in the management of diabetes: A review.Molecules.2018;23:105.
  17. Mohapatra A, Kanchana P, Ranjan M, et al.Antimicrobial activity of Neem (Azadirachta Indica) leaf extracts.IJRAS.2014;1(2):2348-3997.
  18. Verma D, Yadav RK, Rani B, et al.Multipurpose Neem (Azadirachta indica) for beguiling cures.IAAST.2017;8(3):96-101.
  19. Thakurta P. Bhowmik P. Mukherjee S.Antibacterial, antisecretory and antihemorrhagic activity of Azadirachta indica used to treat cholera and diarrhea in India. J.Ethnopharmacol 2007;111(3):607-612.
  20. Ulbricht CE.Natural Standard:Herb and Supplement Guide, An Evidence Based Reference.Elsevier;2010.
  21. Okumu FO, Knols BGJ, Fillinger U.Larvicidal effects of a neem (Azadirachta indica) oil formulation on the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae.Malaria Journal.2007;6:63.
  22. Sharma VP , Ansari MA , Razdan RK .Mosquito repellent action of neem (Azadirachta indica) oil.J Am Mosq Control Assoc.1993;9(3):359-360.
  23. Sinha KC, Riar SS, Tiwary RS.Neem oil as a vaginal contraceptive.Indian J Med Res.1984;79:131-136.
  24. Hashmat I, Azad H, Ahmed A.Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) - a nature's drugstore: an overview.Int J Biol Sci.2012;1(6):76-79.
  25. Pandey G, Verma K, SinghM.Evaluation of phytochemical, antibacterial and free radical scavenging properties of Azadirachta indica (neem) leaves.Int J Pharm Pharm Sci.2014;6(2):444-447.
  26. Anand N, Johnson MA, Arulsamy A.Antifungal properties of neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves extract to treat hair dandruff.E-International Scientific Research Journal.2010;2(3):244-252.
  27. Khillare B, Shrivastav TG.Spermicidal activity of Azadirachta indica(neem) leaf extract.Contraception.2003;68(3):225-229.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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