Schinus molle is an evergreen shrub that is commonly called American pepper, false pepper, the peppercorn tree or California pepper. The tree is native to parts of Peru, and is recognisable because of the pinnate leaves and dark red fruits that is produces. Studies have evaluated the medicinal effects of Schinus molle, and have found that it may be useful in the treatment of a number of conditions. In one study, researchers investigated leaf extracts of Schinus molle in an animal model of depression. In mice, the antidepressant effects of Schinus molle were comparable to the pharmaceutical antidepressant drug fluoxetine. The researchers observed evidence to show that the extracts of Schinus molle may have been having their antidepressant effect via interaction with the serotonergic, dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurotransmitter systems. Schinus molle may therefore be an effective herbal treatment for depression, and may have effects that are similar to those of antidepressant drugs.
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