Pennyroyal

Mentha pulegium, labiatae. Other names used for the herb are English pennyroyal and pudding grass. The aerial parts of the plant are used.

The stems should be gathered just before flowering in mid summer.

Functions of pennyroyal

Pennyroyal has a richly aromatic volatile oil. It:

  • can be used to ease flatulence and abdominal colic due to wind.
  • will relax spasmodic pain and ease anxiety.
  • is mainly used as an emmenagogue to stimulate the menstrual process and to strengthen uterine contractions.
  • has been used in large doses as an abortifacient, it should be avoided during pregnancy. The essential oil should also be avoided during pregnancy as it can act far too strongly. It is also just as likely to damage the foetus as it is to cause an abortion.

Notes on pennyroyal

  • Avoid during pregnancy.

Dosages

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the dried leaves and let to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

Pennyroyal is a hardy perennial that tends to hug the ground. It prefers a moist clay soil in full sun or part shade.

The seeds are sown in spring or autumn. It can also be propagated from root or stem cuttings.

The mature plants need to be 5 to 6 inches apart. Keep trimmed to prevent straggly stems. It can be potted and brought indoors where it makes a good aromatic, trailing houseplant.

References

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Marcin, M. M. 1990, Herbal Teas: Growing Harvesting and Brewing. Collins.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

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