Health Benefits and Uses of Pennyroyal

Created by philiHealth | | Health & Wellness | #Herbal Tea#Essential Oil

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Pennyroyal is scientifically known as Mentha pulegium and it belongs to the Lamiaceae family. The plant is native to Europe, parts of Asia as well as to the Middle East. It was introduced to places in Africa along with Australia and New Zealand. Both Hedeoma pulegioldes (American Pennyroyal) and Mentha puleguim (European Pennyroyal) are referred to as Pennyroyal. They are both creeping plants with small lilac flowers and grayish-green leaves. Although considered unusual in much of California, Pennyroyal occurs in the Sierra foothills, Central Valley, and most coastal counties from the Mexican border to Oregon. It is common as a necessitate wetland indicator species in seasonally flooded soils of valley bottomlands, usually below 1,640 feet (500 m) elevation. Take care when planting this species in your garden that it does not take over more area than you want it to. A great option to prevent excessive spreading is to plant Pennyroyal in a pot or planter instead of directly into the ground. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, Pennyroyal was considered a useful insect repellant, reflected in modern times by the common name fleabane. The Latin names of both plants also reflect this insect-repelling power, "pulegoides" and "pulegium" both derive from the Latin word for "flea". It was also believed to stimulate menstruation.

Pennyroyal is known to be quite toxic, even though it was consumed by humans throughout history for medicinal and culinary purposes. The most dangerous form of Pennyroyal is in concentrated Pennyroyal oil, which contains a high percentage of the toxin pulegone. This toxin can cause a variety of problems depending on dosage, which can range from nausea and abdominal pain to lesions and tumors to organ failure. There are documented cases of Pennyroyal causing death, mostly when taken in high doses by pregnant women.

Despite being extremely toxic, it has been used for various purposes throughout history. Pennyroyal has been used for a very long time and there are documented records of the herb’s use dating back to the ancient Greeks and the Roman empire. It was used to flavor wine by the ancient Greeks while numerous Roman recipes called for its use alongside herbs like oregano and coriander. The use of Pennyroyal as a culinary herb continued into the Middle Ages and it was commonly used as a flavor for pudding. The early settlers in Virginia are known to have used the dried plant to eradicate unwanted pests and bugs. Indeed, it was so popular at one point that a Royal Society article was published in 1665 recommending its use to protect against rattlesnakes. Along with other herbs such as Oregano, Coriander and Lovage, Pennyroyal was used by the Romans as a flavoring agent for food. The use of Pennyroyal as a culinary herb continued through the Middle Ages and was normally used to flavor wine and pudding, however its popularity gradually dwindled and it is very rarely used for culinary purposes today and it is now used for medicinal purposes.

Health Benefits of Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal was widely accepted and used in early medicine. It was a staple in the US pharmacopeia between 1831 and 1931 for colds, flu, breathing problems, gall bladder, liver disease, flatulence and stomach pain, and delayed menses. In the early 1900s chemists began distilling oils from this and other plants. It was also used to induce an abortion or to start menstrual periods. While this herb was once used for rudimentary abortions, due to its menstruation-stimulating ability, the dose required for an abortion is close to the lethal limit and is no longer considered safe. It was incorrectly assumed that if the plant was harmless, so too were the plant oils. This, unfortunately, couldn’t be further from the truth. These essential oils are the product of isolating just one part of the plant and then concentrating it. Essential oils are incredibly potent and in the case of Pennyroyal, they can be deadly. If you are unfamiliar with Pennyroyal, let me tell you right now that its use is controversial. While it does undoubtedly have health benefits when used by healthy adults in moderate doses, it can also be extremely toxic in higher doses. For that reason, its consumption is not generally recommended especially. An essential oil made with Pennyroyal is very potent and should never be taken internally, however milder variants such as Pennyroyal tea are not considered to be as dangerous. Only use extremely mild doses and be sure to speak with a trained herbalist or medical professional first.

The use of Pennyroyal in any of its forms is extremely controversial and it is likely unsafe. Pennyroyal should never be used by pregnant women or nursing mothers. It can cause uterine contractions and an increase in menstrual flow and significantly increase the risk of abortion. Consumption of the herb has been linked to numerous adverse side effects including seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death. Pennyroyal essential oil has been linked to many severe side effects. These include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, swallowing difficulties, fever, chills, muscle spasms, organ failure, increased heart rate, irregular blood pressure changes and coma. Pennyroyal should never be taken by people with kidney or liver diseases. It may irritate the organs and make the disease worse.

About 2000 years ago, Pennyroyal was the herb used to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Dr. Art Tucker, research professor at Delaware State University and author of "The Big Book of Herbs", says that Pennyroyal induces abortions by first damaging the mother’s liver. Death sometimes follows. In a well-documented case from 1994, a college student who drank only 2 teaspoons of Pennyroyal oil in teas over a two-day period died from it. In 1992, a healthy dog died after licking a similar amount from its fur.

Digestive Disorders:

Going back many generations, Pennyroyal has been used to improve general digestive health and to treat several common digestive complaints. You can drink small doses of the tea to help treat bloating, gas or stomach pain. The plant also has antispasmodic actions that can help soothe stomach pain or cramp. Many proponents believe that the plant can be consumed in moderation to improve gut function and stimulate the production of bile which can help aid digestion. It increased nutrient absorption in the intestines. Pennyroyal is been in used in folk medicine to facilitate digestion. This property is also reportedly present in its essential oil and it promotes digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices.

A drop of Pennyroyal oil in a glass of water or a Pennyroyal herbal tea can stimulate bowel movement, which can clear up digestive issues.

Intestinal Discomfort:

Pennyroyal is very useful in favoring the digestive process. Specifically, it has a cholagogue effect, which implies that it generates the expulsion of bile from the gallbladder (something fundamental for the digestive process) and in turn facilitates the evacuation. Besides it is antispasmodic, decreasing sudden contractions or spasms that can occur viscerally. It also has the interesting property of facilitating the expulsion of gases, something that diminishes possible discomfort.

In an animal study published in 2018 for The Journal Heliyon, it was found that Pennyroyal essential oil improved performance, organ weight, serum lipids and intestinal morphology.

Stimulates Appetite:

It has been observed that Pennyroyal is a plant that has the ability to promote an increase in appetite and hunger, something that may be useful in those people who show little appetite (for example in the face of displeasure or depression).

Respiratory Conditions:

Because of its high menthol content, Pennyroyal has been used over the years for its expectorant qualities and its ability to relieve the symptoms of colds or flu. It may help aid breathing and act as a decongestant for the respiratory system and the lungs. According to proponents, the expectorant properties in Pennyroyal can help loosen build ups of mucous or phlegm and clear it out of your system.

Cold and Flu:

Pennyroyal consists of high menthol content and has been used over the years for its expectorant qualities and its ability to relieve the symptoms of colds or flu. It may help aid breathing and act as a decongestant for the respiratory system and the lungs. According to proponents, the expectorant properties in Pennyroyal can help loosen build ups of mucous or phlegm and clear it out of your system.

Pneumonia:

In some cases Pennyroyal is used to treat pneumonia, due to its powerful antiviral and antimicrobial properties. As always, however, extreme caution is required, and be sure to speak with a doctor before using this herb.

Infections:

Pennyroyal essential oil has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which is highly toxic even in small quantities. A little bit misbalance in amounts could result in death. It eliminates bacteria and microbes and also counteracts infections which are caused by them.

Antibacterial (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus):

In a 2021 study "Antibacterial Activities of Phytofabricated ZnO and CuO NPs by Mentha pulegium Leaf/Flower Mixture Extract against Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria" published in Adv Pharm Bull by Mehran Alavi, Saeed Dehestaniathar, Shadieh Mohammadi, Afshin Maleki, Naser Karimi, Mentha pulegium was used to synthesize ZnO and CuO nanoparticles (NPs) as a cost-effective, one-step, and eco-friendly method. Physicochemical properties of both metal oxide NPs (MONPs) were determined by UV-Vis spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) techniques. Phytofabricated ZnONPs and CuNPs illustrated 65.02±7.55 and 26.92±4.7 nm with antibacterial activities against antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Higher antibacterial activities were observed for CuONPs compared with ZnONPs. Large surface area and more reactivity resulted from smaller size as well as higher production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were considered to antibacterial efficiency of CuONPs against antibiotic-resistant E. coli and S. aureus.

Antimicrobial:

In a 2021 study "Evaluation of Antimicrobial Potential and Comparison of HPLC Composition, Secondary Metabolites Count, and Antioxidant Activity of Mentha rotundifolia and Mentha pulegium Extracts" published in Evid Based Complement Alternat Med by Nada K Alharbi, Souheila Naghmouchi, Mayasar Al-Zaban, the relationship between the phenolic counts, chemical composition, and biological activities of two Mentha species (Mentha rotundifolia and Mentha pulegium) was analyzed. The characterization of the action mode against pathogenic bacteria and the inhibition of spore germination of two fungal species using prepared methanolic extracts were studied here for the first time. The obtained data highlighted the presence of positive correlation between the secondary metabolites contents and the biological activities of the investigated extracts. In fact, HPLC analysis showed that the major components in both the extracts were eriocitrin and rosmarinic acid (25 and 20 mg/ml and 12 and 8 mg/ml in methanolic extracts of Mentha rotundifolia and Mentha pulegium respectively). Moreover, the Mentha rotundifolia extract was rich in polyphenols and presents the highest antioxidant activity than Mentha pulegium ones. In addition, both extracts possess an antimicrobial activity against four Gram-positive and five Gram-negative bacteria and one yeast species (Candida albicans) and were able to inhibit the spore germination of two fungi species (Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus flavus). But, the significant activity was observed in the presence of Mentha rotundifolia methanolic extract. The effect of time on cell integrity of E. coli and L. monocytogenes determined by time-kill and bacteriolysis assays showed that the Mentha rotundifolia extract had a rapid bacteriolytic effect compared to the Mentha pulegium extract, and their capacities were significant against Gram-negative bacteria than positive ones. Based on the obtained data, it can be concluded that Saudi Mentha species have high pharmacological and industrial importance and they can be used in preparation of food or drugs.

Antifungal:

A 2021 study "Antifungal activity of essential oil from Mentha spicata L. and Mentha pulegium L. growing wild in Sardinia island (Italy)" published in Nat Prod Res by A Piras, S Porcedda, D Falconieri, A Maxia, Mj Gonçalves, C Cavaleiro, L Salgueiro aims to evaluate the antifungal activity of Mentha spicata L. and Mentha pulegium L. from Sardinia and to assess their efficacy on virulence factors for Candida albicans, particularly on the inhibition of the germ tube formation. The major compounds of the essential oils were carvone 62.9% for Mentha spicata and pulegone 86.2% for Mentha pulegium. The essential oil from Mentha spicata showed a more preeminent effect against Cryptococcus neoformans and the dermatophytes Trichophyton rubrum and T. verrucosum (0.32 μL/mL). Both oils were very effective in inhibiting C. albicans germ tube formation, at doses well below their MIC (0.16 μL/mL).

Antifungal (Candida albicans):

Candida albicans is an important microorganism in the normal flora of a healthy subject; however, it has an expedient pathogenic character that induces hydrolytic virulence. Regarding this, the present study aimed to find an in vitro alternative that could reduce the virulence of this yeast.

For the purpose of a 2020 study "In vitro activities of Traganum nudatum and Mentha pulegium extracts combined with amphotericin B against Candida albicans in production of hydrolytic enzymes" published in Curr Med Mycol by Ikram Tefiani, Sidi Mohammed Lahbib Seddiki, Moustafa Yassine Mahdad, the effect of amphotericin B (AmB) combined with the extract of Traganum nudatum (E1) or Mentha pulegium (E2) was evaluated against the hydrolytic activities of esterase, protease, and phospholipase. This effect was determined by calculating the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), used to adjust the extract/AmB mixtures in culture media. The evaluated Pz values, which corresponded to the different enzymatic activities, showed a decrease in the hydrolytic activities of C. albicans strains after the addition of E1/AmB and E2/AmB combinations at descending concentrations (lower than the obtained MICs). Based on the findings, it would be possible to reduce the pathogenesis of this species without destabilizing the balance of the flora.

Germs (Sepsis):

Uterus, kidneys, urethra, urinary tract and wounds has high chances of being septic due to the infection made by germs. Due to its antiseptic properties, it is highly poisonous and destroys bacteria, germs that are the cause for sepsis. As it is irritant and poisonous, it should be used in moderate amounts.

Small Pox:

Prepare an infusion of the Pennyroyal plant. Have three- four teaspoon 3 to 4 times a day.

Bone & Muscle Related Disorders:

Rheumatism and Arthritis:

Being a depurative, it promotes the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby eradicating the biggest cause behind rheumatism. The numbing effect on the nerves also helps withstand the pain of rheumatism and arthritis. Its cordial or warming effect heats up the affected area and gives a more comfortable feeling. Finally, its stimulating effect on blood circulation increases blood flow to important organ systems, bringing warmth to the affected places, while also curing them of rheumatism and arthritis.

To get relief in Rheumatism massage well with Pennyroyal oil.

Muscle and Joint Pain:

Pennyroyal oil has a warming and numbing quality and is used in massages to help treat sore muscles and joints. Also, because of its depurative qualities, Pennyroyal makes for a good treatment for rheumatism and arthritis because it can help eradicate uric acid from the system.

Women's Health Issues:

Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea):

Pennyroyal is well known for its emmenagogue activity. It has been used throughout the years to help stimulate menstruation in women with irregular cycles or in those who do not menstruate at all. There are however many alternative options to stimulate menstruation, many of which are far safer than Pennyroyal. For this reason, most experts would not recommend using Pennyroyal for this purpose.

Contraception and Abortion:

Pennyroyal has always been associated with women’s bodies and sexuality: it was used in love potions, served as an obscene metaphor for female pubic hair, and was employed as a symbol of illicit sexuality. It has also been known since antiquity as a powerful abortifacient. When prepared to be consumed as a drink, this plant was employed to promote menstruation and expulsion of the placenta and foetus. In Cyprus and the Atlas Mountains, Pennyroyal is still used in traditional medicine.

Pennyroyal is known to be quite toxic, even though it was consumed by humans throughout history for medicinal and culinary purposes. The most dangerous form of Pennyroyal is in concentrated Pennyroyal oil, which contains a high percentage of the toxin pulegone. This toxin can cause a variety of problems depending on dosage, which can range from nausea and abdominal pain to lesions and tumors to organ failure. There are documented cases of Pennyroyal causing death, mostly when taken in high doses by pregnant women.

In case of menses scanty, prepare a tea of the herb and drink regularly for 10-15 days. For abortion prepare an infusion of Pennyroyal plant and have 2-4 teaspoon 2 times a day.

Mental Health & Behavioural Conditions:

Stress and Depression:

Pennyroyal may have mild sedative properties. It was used in the past to combat hysteria and may help to calm the nerves and help people overcome their difficulties with sleeping. However, there is no evidence that Pennyroyal works beyond the anecdotal and there are definitely safer and better researched natural options for dealing with stress and sleeplessness.

Hysteric Attacks:

Hysteria patients experience hysteric attacks such as unconscious violent behavior, convulsions and fainting. They should be away from height, abrasives, water, fire as they are likely to fall, cut, drown and burn when they undergo from these attacks. Pennyroyal essential oil is useful for hysterical fainting by controlling these attacks.

Hematologic Diseases:

Purifies Blood:

Pennyroyal essential oil purifies a blood being a depurative. It nullifies the toxins from the blood. It promotes the circulation of blood by assisting the proper mixture of oxygen and blood. It purifies the blood as well as cells and organs by making it oxygenated.

Injuries:

Burns:

Burn is one of the most common injuries and the 4th common cause of trauma globally. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of the Mentha pulegium extract on second degree burn injuries in rats assessing histopathologic and macroscopic.

A 2019 study "The Effect of Mentha Pulegium on Healing of Burn Wound Injuries in Rat" published in World J Plast Surg by Reza Vaghardoost, Yaser Ghavami, Behnam Sobouti, where Mentha Pulegium extract dressings was used as a treatment to deep dermal contact burns in rats, compared with two control groups of vaseline dressing and simple dressing by normal saline. After creating second-degree burn on the dorsum of rats, the treatments were applied for 15 min in three groups. Wound dressings were performed on days 1, 3, 7, 14 and 21st and at the same time macroscopic assessment was performed using a digital camera and software processing of photos. Pathologic evaluation of skin specimens was undertaken on days 1, 3,7, 14 and 21st. Wound healing parameters such as epithelialization, angiogenesis, granulation tissue formation, inflammatory cells were compared between these 3 groups. Application of Mentha Pulegium extract on second degree burn wounds significantly decreased burn surface area and increased fibroblasts in comparison to simple dressing. There was not any statistically significant relationship between Mentha Pulegium extract treated group and vaseline treated or simple dressing groups on other wound healing parameters. This study delineated that Mentha Pulegium extract had a positive effect on healing process of second degree burns.

Diabetes Mellitus:

Blood Sugar:

A 2019 study "Mentha pulegium Aqueous Extract Exhibits Antidiabetic and Hepatoprotective Effects in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats" published in Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets by Omar Farid, Naoufel Ali Zeggwagh, Fadwa El Ouadi, Mohamed Eddouks, was to evaluate the antihyperglycemic activity of aerial parts aqueous extract of Mentha pulegium on blood glucose levels in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat. The glucose tolerance was evaluated in normal rats. Moreover, the histological sections and morphometric analysis at the liver and pancreas have been carried out in this investigation both in normal and streptozotocin-diabetic rats. The effect of antihyperglycemic activity of aerial parts aqueous extract of Mentha pulegium (20 mg/kg) on blood glucose levels was investigated in normal and diabetic rats (n=6). Histopathological changes in liver and pancreas were examined under phase contrast microscope and a preliminary screening for various bioactive constituents was realized according to standard methods. It was concluded that the antihyperglycemic activity of aerial parts aqueous extract of Mentha pulegium (20 mg/kg) exhibits a potent antihyperglycemic activity in streptozotocin diabetic rats.

Antioxidants:

Two 2020 tests "Hydro-Ethanolic Extract of Mentha pulegium Exhibit Anthelmintic and Antioxidant Proprieties In Vitro and In Vivo" published in Acta Parasitol by Essia Sebai, Raja Serairi, Katerina Saratsi, Amel Abidi, Nadia Sendi, Mohamed Aziz Darghouth, Mark S Wilson, Smaragda Sotiraki, Hafidh Akkari, were used to assess the in vitro anthelmintic activity of the hydro-ethanolic extract of Mentha. pulegium against Haemonchus contortus; egg hatch assay (EHA) and adult worm motility (AWM) assay. Mentha pulegium extracts at the doses of 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 mg/kg were evaluated in vivo in mice infected with Heligmosomoides polygyrus. The anthelmintic efficacy was monitored using faecal egg count reduction (FECR) and total worm count reduction (TWCR). The antioxidant activity of Mentha pulegium extract was evaluated by testing the total antioxidant capacity and the DPPH free radical-scavenging ability. Chromatographic characterization of Mentha pulegium composition using RP-HPLC revealed the presence of phenolic acids such as syringic acid, ferulic acid and the presence of flavonoid compounds, such as isorhamnetin-3-O-glucoside and kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside. We observed 91.58% inhibition in the EHA at 8 mg/mL after 48 h of incubation (IC50=1.82 mg/mL). In the AWM assay, Mentha pulegium extract achieved 65.2% inhibition at 8 mg/mL after 8 h. The highest dose (4000 mg/kg) showed a significant nematicidal effect 7 days post-treatment by inducing 60.39% FECR and 71.6% TWCR. We also report strong in vivo antioxidant capacity of the extract, as revealed by a significant increase of the enzymatic activities of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) enzymes in mice infected with H. polygyrus. Together, the results in this paper suggest that Mentha pulegium possesses anthelmintic properties and could be a potential source of novel compounds for the control of helminth parasites as well as its associated oxidative damage.

Oxidative Stress:

A 2021 study "Essential oil of Mentha pulegium induces anthelmintic effects and reduces parasite-associated oxidative stress in rodent model" published in Exp Parasitol by Essia Sebai, Amel Abidi, Raja Serairi, Moomen Marzouki, Katerina Saratsi, Mohamed Aziz Darghouth, Smaragda Sotiraki, Hafidh Akkari, reported by the present authors on the anthelmintic effect of hydro-ethanolic extract of Mentha pulegium, the volatile constituents of   pulegium are now assessed in the present study by exploring its anthelmintic and its antioxidant proprieties using in vitro and in vivo assays. Egg hatch assay and adult worm's motility assays (AWMA) were used to assess the in vitro activity against Haemonchus. contortus. The in vivo anthelmintic potential was evaluated in mice infected with Heligmosomoides polygyrus using faecal egg count reduction (FECR) and total worm count reduction (TWCR). Mentha pulegium essential oil demonstrated 100% inhibition in the Egg hatch assay at 200 μg/mL (IC50 = 56.36 μg/mL). In the AWM assay, essential oil achieved total worms paralysis 6 h after treatment exposure. This nematicidal effect was associated to morphological damages observed in the cuticular's worm using environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM). At 400 mg/kg, Mentha pulegium oil showed 75.66% of FECR and 80.23% of TWCR. The antioxidant potential of this plant was also monitored by several in vitro assays: total antioxidant capacity was 205.22 mg GAE/g DW, DPPH quenching effect was IC50 = 140 μg/mL, ABTS activity IC50 = 155 μg/mL and FRAP effect of 660 μg/mL. Regarding the in vivo assay, Mentha pulegium essential oil demonstrated a protective effect against oxidative stress by increasing the activity of the endogenous antioxidants (SOD, CAT and GPx) during H. polygyrus infection.

Insects & Pests:

Repels Insects and Pests:

The essential oil of Pennyroyal is toxic to humans as well as animals and insects. It kills insects if used in sprays, vaporizers and fumigants. This oil is highly regarded as insect repellant.

  • As a flea deterrent: Dried Pennyroyal leaves can be scattered around pets’ bedding area, and you can roll up some fresh stems in you dog’s bandana before you go tromping through the woods. Pennyroyal oil used in flea collars has largely been phased out because it caused miscarriages in cats, so only use the fresh leafy stuff, please. If a pet or person could be expecting, don’t use Pennyroyal at all.
  • As a pest repellent: Crushed Pennyroyal stems stuck in your hat and pockets really will repel gnats and mosquitoes. Dog owners often see their dogs rolling in Pennyroyal patches, and dog instincts can usually be trusted.
  • In the garden: In folks who have successfully kept flea beetles off of eggplant by underplanting the eggplant with Pennyroyal, and it may be of use as a companion plant to other pest-prone crops, too. If you have worked with Pennyroyal as a companion crop, please share your experiences in the comments section below. Should you decide to try intercropping with Pennyroyal, be aware that Pennyroyal can be invasive, though it’s not as thuggish as other mints.

Benefits of Pennyroyal Herbal Tea

Pennyroyal tea was a popular abortifacient beverage that was traditionally given to women who wanted to stop a pregnancy. This is no longer advised in any way, as it can be toxic or lethal at high levels. Pennyroyal acts as an effective insect repellent and insecticide that eliminate most pests very rapidly, due to its powerful scent. Make sure to use it in small doses. A drop of Pennyroyal oil in a glass of water can stimulate bowel movement, which can clear up digestive issues. Drinking a weak form of Pennyroyal tea can have anti-inflammatory effects on the respiratory tracts and will soothe coughs and sore throats. The oil from this herb has long been used as a topical remedy for inflammation, particularly when applied to aching joints and muscles. Topical irritation is common, so use a small amount at first. Applying a Pennyroyal tincture, in moderate and safe doses, can improve the symptoms of eczema, rosacea, psoriasis or any other skin disease. Drinking this tea is known to boost energy production and stimulate the body, helping you to overcome weakness, specifically when recovering from an illness or injury. In some cases, Pennyroyal is used to treat pneumonia, due to its powerful antiviral and antimicrobial properties. As always, however, extreme caution is required, and be sure to speak with a doctor before using this herb.

The side effects of consuming Pennyroyal in any form can be dangerous, so extreme caution must be taken. Some of the side effects include the following: liver damage, kidney damage, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, restlessness, dizziness, vision, hearing problems, high blood pressure, abortion, lung failure, brain damage, complications of pregnancy, breastfeeding, liver disease.

There is a limited amount of research on a safe dosage, and most medical experts recommend avoiding Pennyroyal altogether. However, brewing a mild tea with these dried leaves can be a better way to benefit, without suffering serious side effects. A tincture with Pennyroyal oil can be applied to the skin, but pay attention to any allergic reactions, as it may demonstrate a high sensitivity to the herb, putting you at a higher risk if you continue using it. This herb should not be used by children in any form. Consuming as little as 5 grams of this herb can be lethal.

Benefits of Pennyroyal Essential Oil

Pennyroyal essential oil is extracted form a plant belonging to the mint family. It is a grass-like creeper herb bearing the scientific name Mentha Pulegium. Its leaves smell like mint when crushed. The essential oil of Pennyroyal is derived from the fresh plant by steam distillation and contains isomenthone, neomenthone, menthone and pulegone as its chief components. This oil is high in pulegone content and this makes it a deadly poison.

It is indeed a wonder why such a poisonous plant or oil has been in use as a folk medicine from ancient times. But again, it is also true that most of the medicines (particularly in homeopathy) are based on poisons collected from plants and animals. It is the accuracy in the number of doses, frequency of administration, and diagnosis of a disease that their use as a medicine depends upon.

The essential oil should be avoided internally, as it can cause a level of toxicity that could be fatal. However the Pennyroyal tea benefits include a low dose of the active compounds, which makes it safe for consumption. It is beneficial to use externally to reduce swelling from bug bites, and can also reduce bruising, can help treat acne and can help remove spots and scars on the skin. It contains alkaloids that act to strengthen the gums, and is believed to be an excellent and ancient remedy for whooping-cough and can help clear the liver of toxins with its diuretic qualities.

Uses of Pennyroyal

Medical Uses of Pennyroyal:

  • Pennyroyal has been used for centuries in herbal medicine.
  • It increases the secretion of digestive juices and relieves flatulence and colic.
  • It also powerfully encourages the uterine muscles and encourages menstruation; therefore it should not be recommended for pregnant women since it can procure abortions.
  • The herb is antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenogogue, sedative and stimulant.
  • It possesses astringent properties which strengthen gums and contract gums and also tighten the grip on teeth.
  • Tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, minor respiratory infections, digestive disorders, menstrual complaints and various minor ailments.
  • It is occasionally used as a treatment for intestinal worms.
  • It stimulates the contraction of muscles.
  • An infusion is used to treat itchiness and formication, inflamed skin disorders such as eczema and rheumatic conditions such as gout.
  • Leaves are harvested in the summer as the plant comes into flower and are dried for later use.
  • It is also beneficial in cases of spasms, hysteria, flatulence and sickness, being very warming and grateful to the stomach.
  • It prevents hemorrhaging by contraction of blood vessels.
  • Pennyroyal tea has been used for cold relief, coughs, indigestion, liver and kidney problems.
  • Fresh or dried leaves of Pennyroyal have also been used when treating influenza, abdominal cramps, to induce sweating, as well as in the treatment of diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis.

Other Uses of Pennyroyal:

  • An essential oil is obtained from the whole plant, used in soap making and as a cleanser for fabrics.
  • Plant has a low spreading habit and can be used as a ground cover, though it is somewhat sparse in the winter and can be invaded by the more aggressive weeds.
  • Growing or dried plant repels fleas, ants, moths, mice etc.
  • Rats and mice intensely dislike the smell of mint.
  • Plant was thus used in homes as a strewing herb and has also been spread in granaries to keep the rodents off the grain.
  • Strong infusion applied to the face will keep gnats away in the summer.
  • The aromatic leaves are used as an ingredient of Pot-Pourri.

Ayurvedic Uses and Health Benefits of Pennyroyal

  • Abortifacient: Prepare an infusion of Pennyroyal plant. Have two- four teaspoon two times a day.
  • Altitude Sickness: Make a decoction of the dried leaves of Pennyroyal. Have a cup once a day.
  • Body Lice: Prepare a decoction of dried Pennyroyal plant. Wash the affected area with the decoction of 30 g per liter of water. Repeat it 2-3 times a day.
  • Dyspnea: Take few leaves of Lemon Balm. Add Hyssop and Pennyroyal in equal quantity. Prepare a decoction. Have one cup once a day.
  • Menses Scanty: Prepare a tea of the herb and drink regularly for 10-15 days.
  • Rheumatism: To get relief in Rheumatism massage well with Pennyroyal oil.
  • Small Pox: Prepare an infusion of the Pennyroyal plant. Have three- four teaspoon three to four times a day.

Antimicrobial & Antibacterial:

The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of Pennyroyal oil are the results of its toxicity. You can imagine that even in trace quantities (mere parts per million) how deadly this poisonous oil might be for those tiny microscopic living beings (microbes) if it is so deadly for humans. Even a few milliliters can cause death. It kills microbes and bacteria and protects us from the infections caused by them. It also exhibits antifungal activity.

Research published in 2019 in The Journal BioMed ResearchInternational found that the Pennyroyal essential oil has strong antimicrobial properties.

Antiseptic:

Wounds and internal organs, particularly the urinary tract, urethra, kidneys, and uterus may become septic due to infection by the germs. The highly poisonous nature of the Pennyroyal oil makes it an antiseptic since it kills the germs or bacteria that cause sepsis. However, this oil should be used in very mild doses, as it is highly poisonous and an irritant.

Astringent:

In the traditional medicine, the Pennyroyal essential oil has been used as a gum strengthener which is probably due to the astringent properties. This makes the gums contract and it tighten their grip on the teeth. The effects of this property can be also felt on other parts of the body, because this property induces contraction in other muscles and it tightens them, helps stop hemorrhaging by contracting the blood vessels, strengthens hair roots, gives the face a lift and pulls up loose hanging skin.

Cordial:

Due to its stimulating property, the essential oil of Penny Royal increases blood circulation, which in turn warms up the whole body, thus behaving as a cordial. This warming effect gives relief from feelings of cold that often result from a fever.

Decongestant:

This essential oil is toxic which is making it an antiviral and it fights against infections in the lungs. This can help to loosen the catarrh and phlegm deposition in the lungs and the respiratory tracts, as well as promoting their expectoration. In this way, the Pennyroyal essential oil behaves as a decongestant for the respiratory tracts and lungs.

Depurative:

There are certain reports that say that this oil can be used as a depurative, that is, a blood purifier. Certain components of this oil may help neutralize the toxins in the blood. Since it promotes blood circulation, it also helps proper mixing of fresh oxygen with the blood. In this way, it can purify the blood and keep the organs and cells properly oxygenated.

The depurative property, which is seen as the numbing effect of this oil on the nerves, as well as its cordial and stimulating effects on the blood circulation, make it an ideal combination as an anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic treatment. Being a depurative, it promotes the removal of toxins like uric acid from the body, thereby eradicating the biggest cause behind rheumatism. The numbing effect on the nerves also helps withstand the pain of rheumatism and arthritis. Its cordial or warming effect heats up the affected area and gives a more comfortable feeling. Finally, its stimulating effect on blood circulation increases blood flow to important organ systems, bringing warmth to the affected places, while also curing them of rheumatism and arthritis.

An animal study found that Pennyroyal essential oil increased hemoglobin, white blood cells, and red blood cells, but did not have any effect on other blood indices. The increase in white blood cells indicates that it can strengthen the immune system.

Digestive:

This essential oil has been used in the traditional medicine to facilitate digestion. Also it can promote digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices.

Emmenagogue:

Pennyroyal essential oil is sometimes used in herbal medicine as an emmenagogue. It is believed to open blocked and delayed menstruation cycles. The resultant stimulation of certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone makes the cycle more regular. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this.

Insecticide:

Since this oil is toxic to humans and to other animals, it is toxic to insects as well. It is a very efficient insect killer and is very effective if used in fumigants, sprays, and vaporizers. Insects also try to stay away from this oil. This oil is highly praised and reputed as an insect repellant. An experiment undertaken to study the acaricidal effects of different herb essential oils found that the Pennyroyal derivative was the most effective.

Stomachic:

When Pennyroyal essential oil is used in very low doses, then it can cure stomach problems and settle the stomach. It cures infections in the stomach, helps maintain the acid-base balance in the stomach by stimulating secretion of acids and bile into the stomach, and also soothes inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract.

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