Peruvian pepper (Schinus molle) also known as the Peruvian peppertree, peppercorn tree, pink peppercorn and Californian pepper tree is a member of the Anacardiaceae family. It’s an evergreen tree that grows up to 9 metres in height by 7 metres in width. It is native to the Peruvian Andes. Chains of cream flowers appear at the end of the branches in summer followed by peppercorns, which turn pink in autumn and are referred to as ‘pink peppercorns’ although they are not true peppercorns. Pink peppercorns have a citrus flavour and are much more fragrant. Shinus molle grows wild throughout most of Australia in a range of habitats from grasslands to dry open forest and coastal areas, as well as railway sidings and abandoned farms. The branches tend to droop which gives the tree a weeping effect. It is found as a bush in dry lands but reaches tree size in dry river beds with accessible underground water. It is an evergreen that has a graceful fern like foliage. This tree grows well in the sun and is drought tolerant so can still flourish with only occasional watering. All parts of the tree have high oil and essential oil contents that produce a spicy, aromatic scent. Shinus molle grows throughout much of Australia in a range of habitats from grasslands to dry open forest and coastal areas, as well as railway sidings and abandoned farms.
Peppercorn or Peppertree oil has been found to be antibacterial, antiviral, topical antiseptic, antifungal, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumoural as well as antispasmodic and analgesic. 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.
Peppercorn is widely used as a spice and in jams and chutneys and the oil can be found in a range of products including massage oils, aromatherapy oils bath care products, skin care products including creams, oils, lotions , exfoliates, muscle rubs, nail treatments, foot creams, diuretics, perfumes, anti-septic creams, household detergents and candles.