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Pennyroyal

Also indexed as:Hedeoma pulegoides, Mentha pulegium
Pennyroyal: Main Image© Martin Wall
Botanical names:
Hedeoma pulegoides, Mentha pulegium

Parts Used & Where Grown

Two similar plants go by the name pennyroyal, one native to Europe (and therefore called European pennyroyal) and one native to North America (and therefore called American pennyroyal). Both are members of the mint family (Lamiaceae) and grow in temperate regions of Europe and the Americas. The flowering tops are used as medicine, but the internal use of the volatile oil should be strictly avoided.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Anxiety
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Pennyroyal is one of a group of "nerve tonic" (nervine) herbs used in traditional herbal medicine for people with anxiety, with few reports of toxicity.
Cough
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Pennyroyal has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Insect Bites and Stings
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Since the time of the ancient Greeks, pennyroyal has been considered a useful insect repellant, reflected in modern times by the common name fleabane.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, pennyroyal was considered a useful insect repellant, reflected in modern times by the common name fleabane.1 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. Various folk herb traditions have employed American or European pennyroyal to help relieve coughs, upset stomachs, and anxiety.2

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.