Brazilian Peppertree Powder is reputed to contain antibacterial, anticandidal, antifungal antihemorrhagic and cardiotonic propertiesBRAZILLIAN PEPPERTREE

Family: Anacardiaceae

Genus: Schinus

Species: molle, terebinthifolius, aroeira

Synonyms: Schinus angustifolius, S. areira, S. bituminosus, S. huigan, S. occidentalis, S. anti arthriticus, S. mellisii, Sarcotheca bahiensis

Common Names: Brazilian peppertree, Peruvian peppertree, California peppertree, aroeira, aroeira salsa, escobilla, Peruvian mastic tree, mastic-tree, aguaribay, American pepper, anacahuita, castilla, false pepper, gualeguay, Jesuit’s balsam, molle del Peru, mulli, pepper tree, pimentero, pimientillo, pirul

Price: £22.50 – 1lb / 454 gm Bag

Parts Used: Fruit, bark, leaf

From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • kills bacteria
  • relieves pain
Leaf, Bark
  • kills fungi
  • kills cancer cells
Bark Decoction: 1/2 cup
  • kills Candida yeast
  • relieves depression
twice daily
  • reduces inflammation
  • reduces spasms
Leaf Infusion: 1/2 cup
  • dries secretions
  • kills viruses
twice daily
  • regulates heartbeat
  • stimulates digestion
Tincture: 2-3 ml twice daily
  • lowers blood pressure
  • increases urination
  • mildly laxative
  • stimulates menstruation
  • stimulates uterus
  • reduces phlegm
  • heals wounds
  • kills insects

Brazilian peppertree is a shrubby tree with narrow, spiky leaves. It grows 4 to 10 m tall, with a trunk 25 to 35 cm in diameter. It produces an abundance of small flowers formed in panicles that bear a great many small, flesh-colored, berry-like fruits in December and January. It is indigenous to South and Central America and can also be found in semitropical and tropical regions of the United States and Africa. In both North and South America, three different trees – Schinus molle, Schinus aroeira, and Schinus terebinthifolius – are all interchangeably called “peppertrees.”

All parts of the tree have high oil and essential oil contents that produce a spicy, aromatic scent. The leaves of the Brazilian peppertree have such high oil content that leaf pieces jerk and twist when placed in hot water as the oil is released. The berries, which have a peppery flavor, are used in syrups, vinegar, and beverages in Peru; are added to Chilean wines; and are dried and ground up for a pepper substitute in the tropics. The dried berries have also been used as an adulterant of black pepper in some countries.


Virtually all parts of this tropical tree, including its leaves, bark, fruit, seeds, resin, and oleoresin (or balsam) have been used medicinally by indigenous peoples throughout the tropics. The plant has a very long history of use and appears in ancient religious artifacts and on idols among some of the ancient Chilean Amerindians.

Throughout South and Central America, Brazilian peppertree is reported to be an astringent, antibacterial, diuretic, digestive stimulant, tonic, antiviral, and wound healer. In Peru, the sap is used as a mild laxative and a diuretic, and the entire plant is used externally for fractures and as a topical antiseptic. The oleoresin is used externally as a wound healer, to stop bleeding, and for toothaches, and it is taken internally for rheumatism and as a purgative. In South Africa, a leaf tea is used to treat colds, and a leaf decoction is inhaled for colds, hypertension, depression, and irregular heart beat. In the Brazilian Amazon, a bark tea is used as a laxative, and a bark-and-leaf tea is used as a stimulant and antidepressant. In Argentina, a decoction is made with the dried leaves and is taken for menstrual disorders and is also used for respiratory and urinary tract infections and disorders.

Brazilian peppertree is still employed in herbal medicine today in many countries. It is used for many conditions in the tropics, including menstrual disorders, bronchitis, gingivitis, gonorrhea, gout, eye infections, rheumatism, sores, swellings, tuberculosis, ulcers, urethritis, urogenital disorders, venereal diseases, warts, and wounds. In Brazilian herbal medicine today, the dried bark and/or leaves are employed for heart problems (hypertension and irregular heart beat), infections of all sorts, menstrual disorders with excessive bleeding, tumors, and general inflammation. A liquid extract or tincture prepared with the bark is used internally as a stimulant, tonic, and astringent, and externally for rheumatism, gout, and syphilis.


Phytochemical analysis of Brazilian peppertree reveals that the plant contains tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, steroidal saponins, sterols, terpenes, and a large amount of essential oil. The essential oil present in the leaves, bark, and fruit is a rich source of chemicals (over 50 constituents identified thus far, including biologically active triterpenes and sesquiterpenes). Some of these chemicals scientists have not seen before, and many of the plant’s documented biological activities are attributed to its essential oil. The fruit can contain up to 5% essential oil, and the leaves can contain up to 2% essential oil.

The list of chemicals found in the Brazilian peppertree is long: amyrin, behenic acid, bergamont, bicyclogermacrene, bourbonene, cadinene, cadinol, calacorene, calamenediol, calamenene, camphene, car-3-ene, carvacrol, caryophyllene, cerotic acid, copaene, croweacin, cubebene, cyanidins, cymene, elemene, elemol, elemonic acid, eudesmol, fisetin, gallic acid, geraniol butyrate, germacrene, germacrone, guaiene, gurjunene, heptacosanoic acid, humulene, laccase, lanosta, limonene, linalool, linoleic acid, malvalic acid, masticadienoic acid, masticadienonalic acid, masticadienonic acid, muurolene, muurolol, myrcene, nerol hexanoate, octacosanoic acid, oleic acid, paeonidin, palmitic acid, pentacosanoic acid, phellandrene, phellandrene, phenol, pinene, piperine, piperitol, protocatechuic acid, quercetin, quercitrin, raffinose, sabinene, sitosterol, spathulene, terpinene, terpineol, terpinolene, and tricosanoic acid.


In laboratory tests, the essential oil (as well as leaf and bark extracts) has demonstrated potent antimicrobial properties. Brazilian peppertree has displayed good-to-very strong in vitro antifungal actions against numerous fungi, as well as Candida. One research group indicated that the antifungal action of the essential oil was more effective than the antifungal drug Multifungin®. The essential oil and leaves have clinically demonstrated in vitro antibacterial activity against numerous bacterial strains (which probably explains why it is an herbal remedy for so many infectious conditions in its native countries). In 1996, a U.S. patent was awarded for an essential oil preparation of Brazilian peppertree as a topical bactericidal medicine used against Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus for humans and animals, and as an ear, nose, and/or throat preparation against bacteria. Another patent was awarded in 1997 for a similar preparation used as a topical antibacterial wound cleanser. In much earlier in vitro tests, a leaf extract of Brazilian peppertree demonstrated antiviral actions against several plant viruses. In addition to these documented antimicrobial properties, Brazilian peppertree passed an anticancer plant screening program in 1976 by demonstrating antitumorous actions. More recently, in 2002, researchers in Argentina documented that it was toxic in vitro against a human liver cancer cell line.

Over the years, several research groups have conducted animal studies on Brazilian peppertree that have further substantiated some of its many traditional uses in herbal medicine. A fruit extract and a leaf extract were shown to lower blood pressure in dogs and rats, as well as to stimulate uterine activity in guinea pigs and rabbits. Leaf extracts have clinically demonstrated pain-relieving activity in mice and antispasmodic properties in rats and guinea pigs (including uterine antispasmodic actions). In 1974, the anti-inflammatory effect of Brazilian peppertree was documented; the herb was used to treat 100 patients with chronic cervicitis and vaginitis effectively. In 1995 and 1996, other researchers documented the anti-inflammatory properties of this herb once again.


A monograph published in 1976 on Brazilian peppertree’s essential oil indicated no toxicity in animals and humans ingesting or applying the essential oil topically. Today, herbalists and natural health practitioners in both North and South America use Brazilian peppertree mostly for colds, flu, and other upper respiratory infections; as a remedy for hypertension and for irregular heartbeat; for fungal infections and Candida; and as a female balancing herb for numerous menstrual disorders, including menstrual cramps and excessive bleeding.

Main Preparation Method: tinctureMain Actions (in order):
antibacterial, anticandidal, antifungal, antihemorrhagic (reduces bleeding), cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart)  
Main Uses:

  1. as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and antiseptic against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections
  2. for Candida and yeast infections
  3. to tone, balance, and strengthen heart function and as a heart regulator for arrhythmia and mild hypertension
  4. to stop bleeding and heal wounds internally and externally
  5. for Mycoplasmal infections

Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
analgesic (pain-reliever), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancerous, anticandidal, antifungal, antispasmodic, antitumorous, antiviral, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), wound healerOther Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
antidepressant, antihemorrhagic (reduces bleeding), antiseptic, aperient (mild laxative), astringent, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), digestive stimulant, diuretic, menstrual stimulant, stimulant, tonic

Cautions: It has as a mild hypotensive effect (lowers blood pressure).






Traditional Preparation: The leaves are best prepared as an infusion, and the bark is best prepared as a decoction or an alcohol tincture. Generally, 1/2 cup of a bark decoction twice daily is used for colds, flu, sore throats and other upper respiratory infections; 2-3 ml of a 4:1 tincture taken two or three times daily can be substituted, if desired. This traditional remedy is also used as a heart tonic and for irregular heartbeat. A leaf decoction twice daily or as needed is generally used for menstrual disorders. See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.

Contraindications: This plant was shown to stimulate the uterus in animal studies and therefore should not be used in pregnancy.

Drug Interactions: None reported. However, this plant has exhibited hypotensive actions in animal studies; in light of such, it is conceivable that the use of this plant may potentiate high blood pressure medications.

Argentina for diarrhea, menstrual disorders, respiratory tract infections, inflammation, urinary tract infections, wounds
Brazil for bronchitis, constipation, cough, cystitis, depression, diarrhea, eye diseases, fever, flu, gonorrhea, heart problems, hemorrhage, inflammation, menstrual disorders, respiratory tract infections, rheumatism, spasms, tumors, urethritis, urinary tract disorders, and as a astringent, stimulant, and tonic
Colombia for diarrhea, lung diseases, rheumatism
Mexico for asthma, bronchitis, cataract, colic, conjunctivitis, constipation, cough, digestive disorders, flu, foot fungus, gonorrhea, gum, mouth sores, rheumatism, sores (skin), stomachache, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, urogenital diseases, venereal disease, warts, wounds, and as an astringent
Paraguay for gonorrhea, menstrual disorders, sores, urethritis, urinary insufficiency, wounds
Peru for constipation, fevers, fractures, rheumatism, toothache, tumors, urinary insufficiency, warts, wounds, and as an antiseptic
South Africa for arrhythmia, colds, cough, depression, gout, hypertension, inflammation, pain, rheumatism
Turkey for constipation, coughs, excessive mucous, gonorrhea, urinary insufficiency, and as a digestive stimulant, and tonic
Uruguay for menstrual disorders, rheumatism, wounds, and as an antiseptic
Elsewhere for bronchitis, constipation, coughs, excessive mucous, edema, eye diseases, gingivitis, gout, hypertension, menstrual disorders, rheumatism, sores, swelling, urinary insufficiency, urogenital inflammation, venereal disease, viruses, and to stimulate digestion


The above text has been printed from The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs by Leslie Taylor, copyrighted © 2005

All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.

† The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for using this plant database file and web site.

Referenced Quotes on Brazilian Peppertree

24. Effects: California Peppertree Leaves

The leaves contain unknown bitter substances and tannis, which make administration for inflammatory alterations of the skin and oral mucous membranes plausible.

Effects: California Peppertree Fruit

The fruit resin is purgative in effect. The essential oil is fungicidal and is said to be excreted primarily through the lungs and the kidneys. No experimental data are available for the traditional areas of administration.

Unproven Uses: Internal uses in folk medicine include infections of the pharynx, repiratory tract conditions, rheumatism (decoction), for leucorrhea, suppuration of the mucous membranes and hypertension (infusion), for swellings, loss of teeth, conjunctivitis (leaf juice), and as a diuretic. External applications are considered to include uterus prolapse, eye inflammations, joint pains, colds (used as healing baths), as a vulnerary and for rheumatism.

Precautions and adverse reactions: No health hazards are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapuetic dosages.

Daily Dosage (leaves): To prepare an infusion, use 30 g drug to 500 ml water. For inflammation of the mucous membranes, gargle with infusion 3 times daily. For wound cleansing, wash wounds with infusion.

Third-Party Published Research*

All available third-party research on Brazilian peppertree can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on Brazilian peppertree is shown below: Antimicrobial Actions:

Salazar-Aranda, R., et al. “Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Activities of Plants from Northeast of Mexico.” Evid. Based Complement. Alternat. Med. 2009 Sep 21.

El-Massry, K., et al. “Chemical compositions and antioxidant/antimicrobial activities of various samples prepared from Schinus terebinthifolius leaves cultivated in Egypt.” J. Agric. Food Chem. 2009 Jun; 57(12): 5265-70.

Hayouni el, A., et al. “Tunisian Salvia officinalis L. and Schinus molle L. essential oils: their chemical compositions and their preservative effects against Salmonella inoculated in minced beef meat.” Int. J. Food Microbiol. 2008 Jul; 125(3): 242-51.

Molina-Salinas, G., et al. “Evaluation of the flora of Northern Mexico for in vitro antimicrobial and antituberculosis activity.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Aug 23;

de Lima, M. R., et al. “Anti-bacterial activity of some Brazilian medicinal plants.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr; 105(1-2): 137-47.

Schmourlo, G., et al. “Screening of antifungal agents using ethanol precipitation and bioautography of medicinal and food plants.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan; 96(3): 563-8.

de Carvalho, M. C. “Evaluation of mutagenic activity in an extract of pepper tree stem bark (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi).” Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 2003; 42(3): 185-91.

de Melo, Jr., E. J., et al. “Medicinal plants in the healing of dry socket in rats: Microbiological and microscopic analysis.” Phytomedicine. 2002; 9(2): 109–16.

Quiroga, E. N., et al. “Screening antifungal activities of selected medicinal plants.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2001; 74(1): 89–96.

Camano, R. “Essential oil composition with bactericide activity.” United States patent 5,635,184; June 3, 1997.

Camano, R. “Method for treating bacterial infections.” United States patent 5,512,284; April 30, 1996.

Martinez, M. J., et al. “Screening of some Cuban medicinal plants for antimicrobial activity.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1996; 52(3): 171–74.

Cuella, M. J., et al. “Two fungal lanostane derivatives as phospholipase A2 inhibitors.” J. Nat. Prod. 1996; 59(10): 977–79.

Gundidza, M., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of essential oil from Schinus molle Linn.” Central African J. Med. 1993; 39(11): 231–34.

Dikshit, A. “Schinus molle: a new source of natural fungitoxicant.” Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 1986; 51(5): 1085–88.

El-Keltawi, N., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of some Egyptian aromatic plants.” Herba Pol. 1980; 26(4): 245–50.

Ross, S., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of some Egyptian aromatic plants.” Fitoterapia. 1980; 51: 201–5.

Simons, J., et al. “Succulent-type as sources of plant virus inhibitors.” Phytopathology. 1963; 53: 677–83.

Pain-relieving, Antispasmodic, & Anti-inflammatory Actions:

Cavalher-Machado, S., et al. “The anti-allergic activity of the acetate fraction of Schinus terebinthifolius leaves in IgE induced mice paw edema and pleurisy.” Int. Immunopharmacol. 2008; 8(11): 1552-60.

Yueqin, Z., et al. “Isolation of two triterpenoids and a biflavanone with anti-Inflammatory activity from Schinus molle fruits.” Planta Med. 2003; 69(10): 893-8.

Bello, R., et al. “In vitro pharmacological evaluation of the dichloromethanol extract from Schinus molle L.” Phytother. Res. 1998; 12(7): 523–25.

Barrachina, M. “Analgesic and central depressor effects of the dichloromethanol extract from Schinus molle L.” Phytother. Res. 1997; 11(4): 317–19.

Jain, M. K., et al. “Specific competitive inhibitor of secreted phospholipase A2 from berries of Schinus terebinthifolius.” Phytochemistry 1995; 39(3): 537–47.

Okuyama, T., et al. “Studies on cancer bio-chemoprevention of natural resources. X. Inhibitory effect of spices on TPA-enhanced 3H-choline incorporation in phospholipid of C3H10T cells and on TPA-induced ear edema.” Zhonghua Yao Xue Zazhi 1995; 47(5): 421–30.

Carneiro, W. M., et al. “Anti-inflammatory and wound healing action of Schinus aroeira Vell in patients with cervicitis and cervico-vaginitis.” Rev. Inst. Antibiot. 1974; 14(1–2): 105–6.

Wound Healing & Antioxidant Actions:

Schmidt, C. et al. “Biological studies on Brazilian plants used in wound healing.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Apr; 122(3): 523-32.

Varela-Barca, F., et al. “Base excision repair pathway is involved in the repair of lesions generated by flavonoid-enriched fractions of pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius, Raddi) stem bark.” Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 2007 Oct; 48(8): 672-81.

Coutinho, I., et al. “Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi and it’s influence in the healing process of colonic anastomosis: experimental study in rats.” Acta Cir. Bras. 2006; 21 Suppl 3: 49-54.

Nunes, J., et al., “Evaluation of the hydro-alcoholic Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi (Aroeira) extract in the healing process of the alba linea in rats.” Acta Cir. Bras. 2006; 21 Suppl 3: 8-15.

Lucena, P., et al. “Evaluation of the aroreira (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi) in the healing process of surgical incision in the bladder of rats.” Acta. Cir. Bras. 2006; 21 Suppl 2: 44-9.

Santos, O., et al. “Evaluation of the aroeira (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi) extract on the healing process of gastroraphy in rats.” Acta Cir. Bras. 2006; 21 Suppl 2: 37-43.

Castelo Branco Neto, M., et al. “Evaluation of hydroalcoholic extract of Aroeira (Shinus terebinthifolius Raddi) in the healing process of wound skin in rats.” Acta Cir. Bras. 2006; 21 Suppl 2: 15-20.

Marzouk, M., et al. “Antioxidant flavonol glycosides from Schinus molle.” Phytother. Res. 2006; 20(3):200-5.

Hypotensive & Cardiotonic Actions:

Bello, R., et al. “Effects on arterial blood pressure of the methanol and dichloromethanol extracts from Schinus molle L. in rats.” Phytother. Res. 1996; 10(7): 634–35.

Hayashi, T., et al. “Pentagalloylglucose, a xanthine oxidase inhibitor from a Paraguayan crude drug, “Molle-i” (Schinus terebinthifolius).” J. Nat. Prod. 1989 Jan-Feb; 52(1): 210-1.

Cytotoxic & Anticancerous Actions:

Diaz, C., et al. “Chemical composition of Schinus molle essential oil and its cytotoxic activity on tumour cell lines.” Nat. Prod. Res. 2008; 22(17): 1521-34.

Queires, L., et al. “Polyphenols purified from the Brazilian aroeira plant (Schinus terebinthifolius, Raddi) induce apoptotic and autophagic cell death of DU145 cells.” Anticancer Res. 2006 Jan-Feb; 26(1A): 379-87.

Ruffa, M. J., et al. “Cytotoxic effect of Argentine medicinal plant extracts on human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2002; 79(3): 335–39.

Bhakuni, D., et al. “Screening of Chilean plants for anticancer activity. I.” Lloydia 1976; 39(4): 225–43.

Uterine Stimulant Actions:

Zaidi, S., et al. “Some preliminary studies of the pharmacological activities of Schinus molle.” Pak. J. Sci. Ind. Res. 1970; 13: 53.

Moreno, M. S. F. “Action of several popular medicaments on the isolated uterus.” C. R. Seances. Soc. Biol. Ses. Fil. 1922; 87: 563–64.

Antidepressant Actions:

Machado, D., et al. “Antidepressant-like effect of rutin isolated from the ethanolic extract from Schinus molle L. in mice: evidence for the involvement of the serotonergic and noradrenergic systems.” Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2008 Jun; 587(1-3): 163-8.

Machado, D., et al. “Antidepressant-like effect of the extract from leaves of Schinus molle L. in mice: Evidence for the involvement of the monoaminergic system.” Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry. 2007 Mar; 31(2): 421-8.

Insecticidal & Insect Repellant Actions:

Benzi, V., et al. “Insecticidal and insect-repellent activities of essential oils from Verbenaceae and Anacardiaceae against Rhizopertha dominica.” Nat. Prod. Commun. 2009;4 (9): 1287-90.

Abdel-Sattar, E., et al. “Chemical composition, insecticidal and insect repellent activity of Schinus molle L. leaf and fruit essential oils against Trogoderma granarium and Tribolium castaneum.” Nat. Prod. Res. 2009 Feb; 25: 1-10.

Ferrero, A., et al. “Repellence and toxicity of Schinus molle extracts on Blattella germanica.” Fitoterapia. 2007 Jun; 78(4): 311-4.

Ferrero, A., et al. “Biological activity of Schinus molle on Triatoma infestans.” Fitoterapia. 2006 Jul; 77(5): 381-3.

Ruffinengo, S., et al. “LD50 and repellent effects of essential oils from Argentinian wild plant species on Varroa destructor.” J. Econ. Entomol. 2005 Jun; 98(3): 651-5.

Non-Toxic Action:

Lima, L., et al. “Acute and subacute toxicity of Schinus terebinthifolius bark extract.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Dec; 126(3): 468-73.

Ferrero, A., et al. “Acute and subacute toxicity evaluation of ethanolic extract from fruits of Schinus molle in rats.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Sep; 113(3): 441-7.

Ingredients: 100% pure Brazilian peppertree (Schinus molle) bark. No binders, fillers or additives are used. It is a wild harvested product—grown naturally in the Brazilian Amazon without any pesticides or fertilizers.

Suggested Use: Brazilian peppertree is best prepared as an alcohol tincture. Combine 1 part bark powder with 4 parts 90 proof alcohol (everclear or vodka). Allow to macerate for 2 weeks while agitating solution daily. Strain into a clean bottle and seal. It is traditionally taken in dosages of 2-3 ml (60 to 90 drops) 2-3 times daily. Take 60 drops (2 ml) 2-3 times daily or as needed. Can also be used externally by applying to the skin twice daily and letting dry completely. As a gargle or mouth rinse, dilute 60 drops (2 ml) in a small amount of warm water and swish in mouth 2-3 times daily. For more complete instructions on preparing herbal remedies, see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.

Contraindications: This plant has been documented with uterine stimulant and uterine antispasmodic actions in animal studies and should therefore not be used in pregnancy.

Drug Interactions: None reported.

Other Observations:

This plant has a traditional use in South America for heart problems (hypertension and arrhythmia). Studies with rats and dogs reported a hypotensive effect. People with low blood pressure should be monitored for this possible effect.

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