Brazilian Peppertree can help fight deadly superbug: Research

Brazilian Peppertree can help fight deadly superbug: Research

A team of American researchers have discovered that the red berries of the Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia), a noxious weed, contain a compound that can effectively disarm a potentially deadly superbug.

Researchers from University of Iowa and Emory University discovered that extracts from the Brazilian peppertree have the power to stop methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The extracts have proved their efficiency in treating infections in mice.

The potentially deadly MRSA bacteria are resistant to available antibiotics. Nearly 2 per cent of healthy individuals carry MRSA bacteria, which can live in the body harmlessly. But, when the superbug causes infections, it can release dangerous toxins.

Refined flavone compound present in the berries doesn't actually kill the superbug; instead it just stops the superbug from doing harm.

Lead researcher Cassandra Quave, from Emory University's Center for the Study of Human Health, said, "It essentially disarms the MRSA bacteria, preventing it from excreting the toxins it uses as weapons to damage tissues."

The discovery of the promising compound in the Brazilian peppertree was described in the most recent edition of the Nature's Scientific Reports.