Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) medicinal herb is an aromatic, perennial creeping plant boasting small mauve or purple flowers. It is native to China, Europe and is now grown in North and South America. The main parts used as herbal medicine are the leaves, flowers and essential oil and it is very common in Jamaica.
It was traditionally used during the period of Pliny as a remedy to aid in the conditions of menstruation as well as in childbirth. It was traditionally used as a fever herb and I distinctly remembered my grandmother using this herb for various ailments.
It is from the Mint or Lamiaceae family and the common names are Mentha pulegium, Mosquito plant, Eurasian mint, Mock pennyroyal, Pulegium, Pudding grass, Squamint, European pennyroyal, Lurk-in-the-ditch, Run-by-the-ground, tickweed, Herbe de saint-Laurent, Poleo, Penny royal, Penny royal leaf and Fretillet.
The medicinal properties are antioxidant, aromatic, abortifacient, emmenagogue, parasiticide, digestive, antispasmodic, sedative, antiseptic and anti-emetic. The constituents are menthol, pulegone, flavonoids, piperitone, tannins, neomenthol, bitters, isomenthone and rosmarinic acid acid.
Its many uses involve the act of stimulating suppressed menstruation, alleviating cramps associated with monthly periods and alleviating fevers. It is the best remedy to treat ovulation pain. It can promote sweat, aids digestive conditions and expel toxins from the body. Penny royal can also be used to ease difficulties and pain in childbirth.
It is used to treat pneumonia, colds, short of breath and other respiratory conditions. It is also utilized to bring under control muscle spasms and to strengthen the body.
Penny royal oil is used as natural insect repellent. A few drops rubbed on
the skin is good enough. The oil may also be used to ease rheumatism by massaging the area well. It is advisable not to consume the essential
oil due to its high toxicity. Therefore, do not consume this oil.
It is also used to treat impure blood, tetanus, ulcers, skin conditions, snake bite, headache, jaundice, gout, leprosy, body lice, pneumonia, toothache, whooping cough, stomach problems, gallstones and small pox.
For skin conditions and body lice, prepare a decoction of the dried herb and bathe the affected areas.
There are many magical stories in regard to this medicinal herb. One such story is that placing penny royal in your shoe will strengthen the body during travel. This is recorded in Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs.
A combination of two tablespoonful of penny royal and three tablespoonful of cramp bark along with two teaspoonful of fresh grated ginger can be very effective. Place these herbs into one quart of cold water, then bring to boil for approximately three minutes. Remove from heat and allowed to simmer for thirty minutes. Strain and consume quarter cup of the tea every twenty minutes four times per day. This process will aid in menstruation condition as well as for other ailments. For regular doses, two tablespoonful four times per day is adequate.
Excessive use of this herb can cause abortion. Therefore, avoid consuming it if you are pregnant. Also, if you are suffering from liver disease as well as kidney disease, do not use pennyroyal medicinal herb.
Updated July 11, 2015