This medicinal plant, known as pennyroyal or pennyroyal, has great benefits for the body and is widely used in natural medicine. Coming from the Labiatae family, Mentha pulegium can grow very well in places where there is moisture and has been extensively researched for further healing powers.
Since ancient times, plants have been used for their properties as healing remedies and medicines for man. In the 1st century, Pedanio Dioscorides, an ancient Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist, wrote a five-volume work entitled ‘De Materia Medica’ where he describes more than 600 species of Mediterranean plants and herbs of medicinal interest.
This book reached worldwide diffusion and became the pharmaceutical manual par excellence of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, it is even considered that this work was a precursor of the current Pharmacopoeia.
From that moment to the present day, a large number of studies have been carried out on the therapeutic properties of plants, their active principles and how we can use them to benefit our health.
Currently, the curative action of plants has once again received high interest, so much so that it has been determined that more than 20,000 plant species can be used for these purposes.
The pennyroyal, is one of the plants that have therapeutic properties, its medicinal use is very old and has spread throughout many regions. Previously it was used as a condiment and as a milk preservative, also as a repellent for insects, however, it is now known that this plant has many more virtues.
What is pennyroyal?
Pennyroyal is a perennial plant – that is, it lives for more than two years – that can grow to 10 to 40 cm tall. It is one of the best known of the Mentha family and is also called just ‘pennyroyal’. It is very common in the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, since it develops in humid environments in winter and spring.
It grows in acidic and basic soils and blooms from early summer to October.
This plant is native to the basin of the Mediterranean Sea and Western Asia, where it is well known and grows spontaneously. In these places it is taken in infusions for its relaxing properties and its emmenagogue function, that is, it favors the onset of menstruation.
Also, in infusion it favors the expulsion of the placenta and childbirth. It has a very characteristic strong and aromatic smell, as well as a very pleasant taste.
Its main active components are 84.5% pulegone, 1% piperitenone, 0.41% beta-pipenol, 0.61% limonene. It also contains menthone, isomenthone, tannins and flavonoids. These components confer antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue and stomachic properties.
The medicinal use of mint is ancient, it was mentioned for the first time between the thirteenth and ninth centuries in the Capitulare de villis vel curtis imperii, a document issued in the name of Charlemagne where he requires the governors of his fields to cultivate a list of herbs, including the then called ‘puledium’.
Later it was also mentioned by Carlos Linnaeus, a Swedish scientist, naturalist and zoologist, in his work Species Plantarum, a two-volume work published in 1753 where more than 5000 plants are described that were all known at the time and from where the botanical nomenclature used starts today.
Its amazing benefits
Since ancient times, pulley mint has been attributed various beneficial actions for the stomach cavity. It has antispasmodic, antiseptic, carminative and cholagogue properties. In addition, it works as a stimulant of digestion and appetite.
These properties have not been proven through pharmacological studies, however, it has been scientifically proven that it exerts antimicrobial action through the essential oil of pennyroyal that can be extracted from it, in addition to effective antifungal and insecticidal activity.
How is pennyroyal used?
This medicinal plant has multiple uses in natural medicine, among the most prominent we will find external applications and also the consumption of pennyroyal.
- Lack of appetite.
- Slow digestion
- Gastrointestinal spasms.
- Biliary dyskinesia.
Use the essence of pennyroyal. It also works as a parasiticide and antiseptic.
- Stimulating friction for massages.
- Wash wounds.
The essence must be dissolved in alcohol for these cases.
Other uses you can give it
It can also be used in the preparation of sweets, drinks and meals. Due to its aromatic and slightly bitter smell, it is also used as an essence in perfumes, deodorants, detergents and soaps.
The dried leaves are used as a repellent and if you chop them, you can make aromatic sachets for the home, car, etc.
Should you be cautious?
Peppermint essential oil should be used with care, as it contains a component called pulegone that can be highly toxic. It should not be prescribed to children under two years of age as it can affect their breathing, nor should it be used during pregnancy due to its potential toxicity.
What to keep in mind before using pennyroyal
The therapeutic effectiveness of pennyroyal depends to a great extent on the quality of the cultivated plant, so it is recommended to use those that have undergone quality control. In any case, you should not extend its use beyond the recommended time.
Also, you must bear in mind that its therapeutic and medicinal use has not been confirmed by the Royal Spanish Pharmacopoeia.