Brazilian pepper tree is a shrubby tree that’s found on several continents, but native to Central and South America. The leaves and bark contain many active compounds including alkaloids and essential oil. The plant has a long history of use by peoples throughout its native area. Peruvians use the sap as a topical cleanser against germs, Argentinians use it for respiratory ailments and urinary tract irritations. In Brazil, extracts from the bark are used in herbal medicine to address cardiovascular problems, harmful organisms, and fungus.
Brazilian Pepper Tree and Harmful Organisms
The folk medicine uses of pepper tree are many and include relief from symptoms of ulcers, respiratory problems, diarrhea, and skin problems.  However, most contemporary uses of Brazilian pepper tree are focused on its activity against harmful organisms. Several studies have confirmed Brazilian pepper tree to be toxic against Staphylococcus. 
In a study conducted by Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, patients with vaginosis were given an ointment containing an extract of Brazilian pepper tree. After just the first seven consecutive night-time applications, 21% of the patients reported improvement. Even more encouraging, adverse side effects were minor and infrequent. 
Brazilian Pepper Tree, Fungus, and Candida
Clinical studies have investigated the toxicity of Brazilian pepper tree extract to common harmful organisms (not just streptococcus and staphylococcus, but also candida) have revealed it may be a therapeutic option for certain infections.  Several inquiries have been made into Brazilian pepper tree’s effect on fighting candida and it has repeatedly been shown to impair the growth and proliferation of candida albicans by inhibiting fungal cell wall formation.  
Why is Brazilian Pepper Tree Effective?
Examinations of the functional mechanisms of Brazilian pepper tree show that it induces DNA damage and mutation in bacteria.  Given this fundamental action, it’s no surprise that additional research out of Brazil has identified compounds in Brazilian pepper tree extract that are toxic to other pathogenic funguses besides candida. 
Supplementing with Brazilian Peppertree
Brazilian pepper tree is a great example of a natural product where the formal inquiries confirm the traditional use. Along with jatoba, horopito, and anise seed it is one of several botanicals that have demonstrated clinical toxicity to harmful organisms. Effective natural options are encouraging to persons who are suffering from candida and do not want to rely on pharmaceutical drugs for relief. If fungus or candida overgrowth is a problem in your life, Brazilian pepper tree could be a potential strategy.
- Santana JS, Sartorelli P, Guadagnin RC, Matsuo AL, Figueiredo CR, Soares MG, da Silva AM, Lago JH. Essential oils from Schinus terebinthifolius leaves - chemical composition and in vitro cytotoxicity evaluation. Pharm Biol. 2012 Oct;50(10):1248-53. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2012.666880. Epub 2012 Aug 8.
- de Lima MR, de Souza Luna J, dos Santos AF, de Andrade MC, Sant'Ana AE, Genet JP, Marquez B, Neuville L, Moreau N. Anti-bacterial activity of some Brazilian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr 21;105(1-2):137-47. Epub 2005 Dec 13.
- Leite SR, Amorim MM, Sereno PF, Leite TN, Ferreira JA, Ximenes RA. Randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy of the vaginal use of metronidazole with a Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus) extract for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2011 Mar;44(3):245-52. Epub 2011 Jan 14.
- Pereira EM, Gomes RT, Freire NR, Aguiar EG, Brandão Md, Santos VR. In vitro antimicrobial activity of Brazilian medicinal plant extracts against pathogenic microorganisms of interest to dentistry. Planta Med. 2011 Mar;77(4):401-4. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1250354. Epub 2010 Sep 22.
- Gomes FS, Procópio TF, Napoleão TH, Coelho LC, Paiva PM. Antimicrobial lectin from Schinus terebinthifolius leaf. J Appl Microbiol. 2013 Mar;114(3):672-9. doi: 10.1111/jam.12086. Epub 2012 Dec 28.
- Alves LA, Freires Ide A, Pereira TM, Souza Ad, Lima Ede O, Castro RD. Effect of Schinus terebinthifolius on Candida albicans growth kinetics, cell wall formation and micromorphology. Acta Odontol Scand. 2013 May-Jul;71(3-4):965-71. doi: 10.3109/00016357.2012.741694. Epub 2013 Jan 8.
- de Carvalho MC, Barca FN, Agnez-Lima LF, de Medeiros SR. Evaluation of mutagenic activity in an extract of pepper tree stem bark (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi). Environ Mol Mutagen. 2003;42(3):185-91.
- Johann S, Sá NP, Lima LA, Cisalpino PS, Cota BB, Alves TM, Siqueira EP, Zani CL. Antifungal activity of schinol and a new biphenyl compound isolated from Schinus terebinthifolius against the pathogenic fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2010 Oct 12;9:30. doi: 10.1186/1476-0711-9-30.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.