I started reading up on potential uses for pepper tree seeds today as I'm soon to be inundated with them - I was originally thinking of using them as chickenfeed but it appears that they could be harmful in any quantity, from that route I am still thinking of experimenting with them as an anti-parasitical medicine (that's one use according to folklore, although it's in reference to humans). Whilst reading up on them I found references to the benefits of pepper tree oil, anti-biotic and anti-fungicidal properties. Both the leaves and the seeds contain the oil but the seeds are 5% oil whereas the leaves are just 2%.
The seeds should be ready in the next month, I'm thinking of trying to boil them in water to extract the oil. I don't have a press so I can't think of any other options without equipment. Any other ideas of how I could go about extracting the oil?
The next question is what tests I could do to prove efficacy?
'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.'
Applying to wounds, well i'm cutting up my hands pretty good as they toughen up so I could test that out. I'm heading to my land tomorrow so I may bring some fresh leaves back and try and make an infusion from them. One use i've read about is anti-viral, I've got a sore throat so it will be a test of sorts.
I've been drinking pepper leaf tea for the last day and I quite like it. The tea is peppery to taste but with no heat, after drinking the tea my sore throat and blocked nose feels remarkably better and I think has been getting better overall - that could just be circumstantial though. I was wondering if it would cause any digestive issues but none so far. The one thing I've learnt is to use boiling water on the leaves, when I pour boiling water over a white film appears on the tea (which I'm guessing is the oil) and the tea has a stronger flavour. If I use water that has been sat in a thermo I don't have the same effect.
Another thought I've had is the anti-parasitical effect. The water in Peru is teeming with parasites (most notably Giardia) and it's pretty hard to avoid contracting them even when you boil all the water you drink. I'm wondering if drinking the tea on a regular basis will reduce the chance of any problems.