Pennyroyal, also known as Mentha Pulegium, is a grass-like herb that smells a lot like mint when its leaves are crushed. The pennyroyal essential oil is extracted from the fresh plant by steam distillation. The main components of the oil include menthone, isomenthone, pulegone, and neomenthone. It is, however, important to keep in mind that due to the oil’s high pulegone content, it can be a deadly poison.
The herb is well-known for to its properties as an insecticide, digestive, anti-hysteric, antiseptic anti-microbial, anti-rheumatic, decongestant, anti-bacterial, anti-arthritic, astringent, cordial, and depurative.
The Health Benefits of Pennyroyal Essential Oil
Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of pennyroyal essential oil.
Acts as an Antiseptic
We all know that wounds and internal organs, especially the kidneys, urinary tract, urethra, and uterus can become septic due to infections. Owing to this, pennyroyal oil acts as an antiseptic, destroying the germs or bacteria that lead to sepsis. It is, however, important to remember to use the oil in very mild doses.
Has Anti-Rheumatic and Anti-Arthritic Properties
Pennyroyal essential oil has a numbing effect on the nerves and helps to stimulate blood circulation, making it an amazing anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic treatment. As a depurative, it stimulates the elimination of toxins such as uric acid from the body, thus removing one of the most common factors responsible for rheumatism. The warming effect on the nerves also heats up the affected area and gives a more soothing feeling. In addition, its stimulating effect on blood circulation increases blood flow to essential organs of the body. It also provides warmth to the affected areas and treats arthritis and rheumatism.
Aids in Digestion
Pennyroyal is believed to aid in digestion. In fact, its essential oil contains components that promote digestion by facilitating the secretion of digestive juices.
Controls Hysteric Attacks
People who suffer from frequent and sudden hysteric attacks such as fainting and convulsions are often advised to avoid certain situations when going through such attacks. Owing to its effects on the nerves and brain, pennyroyal essential oil helps to regulate these attacks.
Toxic to Insects
Pennyroyal essential oil is toxic to the human body’s system and even to insects too. It is an insect repellant and killer and is very effective when used in vaporizers, sprays, and fumigants.
Possesses Antimicrobial & Antibacterial Effects
The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of pennyroyal essential oil are responsible for its toxicity. This is why it is deadly and poisonous for microbes and bacteria while protecting the human body from the infections.
Effective as a Depurative
According to some studies, pennyroyal essential oil can be effective as a depurative (blood purifier). In fact, some of the components of this oil may help neutralize the toxins in the blood. Since it boosts blood circulation, it also helps to purify the blood and keep the organs and cells properly oxygenated.
Stimulates the Production of Estrogen and Progesterone
One of the proven and most common properties of pennyroyal essential oil is that it clears up blocked and irregular menstruation. The oil makes menstruation regular by stimulating the production of some hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.
Has Astringent Abilities
Due to its astringent abilities, pennyroyal essential oil is effective as a gum fortifier, making the gums contract and tighten their hold on the teeth. Its astringent effect also helps to induce contraction in other muscles and tightens up loose skin, fortifies hair roots, and stops hemorrhaging by contracting the blood vessels.
Behaves as a Cordial
Since pennyroyal essential oil contains a stimulating effect, it can help increase blood circulation which, in turn, warms up the entire body. This warming effect help to provide some relief from feelings of cold that are commonly caused by a fever.
Decongests the Respiratory Tracts
Pennyroyal essential oil is toxic, making it an antiviral that combats infections in the lungs. The oil helps to loosen the phlegm and catarrh present in the lungs and the respiratory tracts. It also promotes expectoration and acts as a decongestant for respiratory tracts and organs.
Cures Stomach Problems
When used in very small doses, pennyroyal essential oil can treat stomach problems. In fact, it is effective for curing infections in the stomach, soothing stomach inflammation, maintaining the acid-base balance in the stomach, soothing irritation in the digestive tract, as well as stimulating the secretion of bile and acids into the stomach.
The other benefits of pennyroyal essential oil include its ability to treat flatulence and health conditions associated with the liver and gallbladder such as tumors, hepatitis, and jaundice.
Side Effects and Precautions
Pennyroyal oil may be detrimental to health when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. In fact, the oil can lead to severe kidney, liver, nervous system damage. The other side effects of pennyroyal essential oil include nausea, abortion, stomach pain, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, fever, restlessness, high blood pressure, seizures, brain damage, vision and hearing impairments, as well as lung failure.
Since there aren’t enough studies on the safety of using pennyroyal leaf as a tea, it is also important to take the following precautions:
- Using an alcoholic pennyroyal leaf extract for more than 2 weeks can lead to death.
- Pennyroyal may be harmful to anyone who uses it, but it is particularly harmful to children if taken by mouth. It could lead to severe liver problems in infants.
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, it may be harmful to take pennyroyal by mouth or apply it to the skin. In fact, there is some report that pennyroyal oil can contract the uterus and lead to abortions.
- Pennyroyal leaf tea can also start menstruation and even threaten a pregnancy.
- Pennyroyal essential oil can cause irritation to the kidney and even worsen already existing kidney disorders.
- The essential oil in pennyroyal can also lead to liver damage and even aggravate existing liver problems.
The Bottom Line
Pennyroyal is a plant with oil and leaves that contain impressive medicinal effects. Although there are growing concerns on its safety, pennyroyal is popular for its ability to treat pneumonia, cold, gallbladder issues, liver problems, gout, stomach pains, flatulence, mouth sores, as well as intestinal disorders.
Pennyroyal essential oil can also be applied to the skin to treat skin issues and keep insects away.