Pennyroyal - Mentha Pulegium
This Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) monograph is an excerpt from the first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA.
Pennyroyal - Mentha pulegium in the Lamiaceae or Mint family
Part used: Flowering aerial parts.
Taste/smell: Aromatic. I personally find the smell nauseating and the plant can cause vomitting in excess amounts.
Tendencies: Cooling, drying.
Dosage: Infusion: 1 tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh + dry strength liquid extract: 10-30 drops 1-4 times per day.
Mental picture and specific indications: Specific indications for pennyroyal are thin white coating on the tongue, congested pelvic organs and bearing down pains which are worse with slight movement.
Use: (a) Diaphoretic, (b) Emmenagogue
Pennyroyal is used at the beginning of a cold and as a digestive aid. Because it improves blood flow to the uterus, it is used with suppressed menstruation, specific if suppression is due to chilliness.
Contraindications: The essential oil of this plant, as with all plants, can be dangerous and even lethal if taken internally in toxic amounts. Severe toxic effects have been recorded, including convulsions, hepatotoxicity and death from ingestion of the essential oil. I have seen Pennyroyal fresh plant also cause convulsions and death in a farmers herd of cattle when the animals had a lack of food one year and they began eating the Pennyroyal. The farmer consulted me to find out why their cows were convulsing and dying. The herb is much safer to drink as a tea rather than use of the tincture or oil. Large doses of the tea will usually induce vomiting before other severe toxic symptoms appear. This generally keeps the individual from consuming too much of the herb. However, there are always exceptions to every rule including this one. It is contraindicated during pregnancy due to the emmenagogue and abortifacient effects that are attributed to reflexive uterine stimulation from urinary tract irritation by the volatile oil pulegone. It is also contraindicated in kidney disease due to irritation by this volatile oil.
If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.
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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.
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