Medicinal Herbs Online
HomeHerbsDis-EasesResourcesBookstoreLinksSearchBlog

Herbal Glossary | Medicinal Glossary | Herbal Preparations | Ayervedic Formulas | Chinese Formulas
Folk Remedies | Native American Formulas | Herbal Remedies | Nutritional Guidelines

Pennyroyal



    Scientific Names

    Pennyroyal
    • Hedeoma pulegioides L.
    • Mint family

    Common Names

    ivyAmerican pennyroyal
    ivyHedeoma
    ivyMock pennyroyal
    ivyMosquito plant
    ivySquaw balm
    ivySquawmint
    ivyStinking balm
    ivyThickweed
    ivyTickweed
    Back to Top


    Parts Usually Used

    The herb and oil
    Back to Top


    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    The American species of pennyroyal is an aromatic, soft-hairy annual plant; the erect, square, branching stem grows from 6 to 16 inches high and bears small, opposite, thin, ovate leaves which are sparingly toothed. Axillary clusters of small, tubular, lavender or purplish flowers; calyx two-lipped, with 3 short and 2 longer teeth; appear from June to October. The whole plant has a pleasant, aromatic odor.

    European pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), or true pennyroyal, is similar to the American species in odor and uses. Do not confuse the two herbs.
    Back to Top


    Where Found

    Found in dry fields and open woods along the Atlantic coast and west to Minnesota and Nebraska.
    Back to Top


    Medicinal Properties

    Carminative, diaphoretic, emmenogogue (promote menstruation), antispasmodic, mild sedative, sudorific, stimulant, aromatic

    Oil: anti-emetic (Do not use in pregnancy), anti-spasmodic, rubrifacent
    Back to Top


    Biochemical Information

    Ketone puligone and about 1% volatile oil.
    Back to Top


    Legends, Myths and Stories

    Flavorful and fragrant tea with a somewhat minty taste. Another of the teas used as an oriental tea substitute during the American Revolution.

    Back in olden times when abortion was illegal, pennyroyal was used to induce abortion. In some cases it resulted in hemorrhage and serious complications for the mother. Therefore, it should never be used for that purpose. Helps in labor and delivery, though. Do not use without medical supervision.

    The oil of this herb is a good insect repellent.

    Strip the leaves from the stalk, put the leaves in a muslin bag, sew up the bag and put in pets bed. Fleas are chased away. Or sprinkle with pennyroyal oil or essence.
    Back to Top


    Uses

    Pennyroyal was commonly used in the 19th century medicine to induce perspiration at the beginning of a cold and to promote menstruation. It was taken also with brewer's yeast to induce abortion. It is helpful against nausea and nervous conditions but should not be taken during pregnancy. Native Americans used pennyroyal tea for headaches and for menstrual cramps, PMS, and pain. The tea also make a good external wash for skin eruptions, bruises, rashes, and itching.

    Used for phlegm, respiratory disorders, jaundice, nausea, ulcers, consumption, dropsy, toothache, leprosy, whooping cough, convulsions, sores in the mouth, colic, snakebites, expel after-birth, sore gums, fainting, fever, and gout. Purifies the blood, relieves gas and stomach pain, stimulates uterine contractions. Oil used externally for rheumatism and insect repellent.

    Also used as a flavoring.
    Back to Top


    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion: use 1 tsp. herb with 1 cup hot water. Take 1 to 2 cups a day.

    Tincture: take 20-30 drops at a time, as needed. For children, give small, frequent doses.

    Extract: 20-60 drops in liquid daily for relief of symptoms.
    Back to Top


    How Sold

    The oil externally applied wards off mosquitoes. For this purpose it is used alone or combined with citronella.
    Back to Top


    Warning

    All essential oils are life-threatening if taken internally. To take pennyroyal oil internally to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is very dangerous and in a few cases has resulted in death. There is possible fetal damage from the use of pennyroyal in any form during pregnancy.

    Ingesting essential oil can be lethal; contact with essential oil (a popular insect repellent) can cause dermatitis.

    May cause severe kidney/liver damage used in excess of 2 ounces.

    Do not be used during pregnancy, it is a uterine stimulant.

    Use only with medical supervision.
    Back to Top

    Bibliography

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! Earl Mindell's Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

    Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

    Buy It! Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 15th Edition, F. A. Davis Company, 1915 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

    Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature's Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

    Back to Top

Gaiam Yoga Club

Copyright © 1996-2014 Lynn DeVries, all rights reserved.