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What are the Uses and Health Benefits of Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)?

Pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium

What is Pennyroyal?

Pennyroyal an Ayurvedic herb which is used for the treatment of various digestion problem, stress, cough, gout, menstrual problem, nervous disorders, and lungs conditions. Leaves are used to make various medicines which are used during different health ailments. Women mostly use it to regulate their menstrual periods. The herb contains antioxidant properties (protects oxidative damages), anti-inflammatory properties (reduce inflammation), and antimicrobial properties (protect from microbial infection). It also acts as a great stimulant which counteracts weakness.

The herb basically belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is commonly found in North America, the Middle East, and Europe. Other names of the herbs are such as European Pennyroyal, Squaw mint, Mosquito plant, and pudding grass. The leaves of the Mentha Pulegium emit very strong fragrance when crushed.

It's a perennial, herbaceous herb. The leaves of the herb are traditionally used for the preparation of tea and also used as flavoring agent foods, soup, and other drinks. The plant mainly grows in moist and sandy areas. The height of the plant is up to 0.4 meters to 0.6 meters. Flowers appear from August to October and ripening of the seeds takes place from September to October. The leaves are slimy, dark green in color and flower are purple in color. Leaves are 1-2.5 cm long, elliptical, base tapered, tip rounded, lower surface short hairy and margins are entire to finely serrate. Flower calyx 2-4.5mm long and contains 5 lobes.

Classification:

  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Subkingdom - Tracheobinota
  • Super Division - Spermatophyta
  • Division - Magnoliophyta
  • Class - Magnoliopsida
  • Subclass - Asteridae
  • Order - Lamiales
  • Family - Lamiaceae
  • Genus - Mentha L.
  • Species - Mentha pulegium

Medicinal Properties:

  • Rasa (Taste):  Pungent (Katu).
  • Guna (Qualities): Laghu (Lightness), Ruksha (Dry in nature), Teekshna (strong).
  • Vipaka: (Katu) After digestion undergoes pungent taste conversion.
  • Veerya: Hot potency (Ushna)
  • Effect on tridosha: Balances Kapha and vata Dosha.
  • Part used: Leaf, oil extract

Major Chemical Constituents:

The essential oil obtains from this herb contains chemicals such as menthol, menthone, menthofuran, 1, 8-cineole, methyl acetate, isomenthone.

Leaves contain flavonoids, glycosides, eriocitrin, hesperidin, isorhoifolin, diosmin, luteolin 7-O-rutinoside, eriodictyol7-O-Glucoside and narirutin, rosmarinic acid, azulenes, choline, and carotenes.

Major Actions:

  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Carminative
  • Diaphoretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Sedative
  • Stimulant
  • Uterine Tonic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant

Uses of Pennyroyal

  • Stress
  • Gout
  • Nervous disorders
  • Indigestion
  • Lung conditions
  • A cough
  • Menstrual problems

Health Benefits of Pennyroyal

  • The herb helps in proper digestion. It facilitates the digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices. The major chemical present in the essential oil of herb promotes the healthy digestion.
  • The antiseptic property of herb kills the germ and harmful bacteria's, which cause the infection in the urinary tract, urethra, kidneys, and uterus. The essential oil contains piperitone, piperitenone, alpha-terpineol and pulegone as the major components which show its great activity towards harmful bacteria especially gram-positive bacteria.
  • The herbal tea made from the leaves of Mentha Pulegium can have anti-inflammatory activity on the respiratory tract, due to which it helps to soothe your throat and provide relief from cough and sore throat.
  • In case of arthritis patient, herb reduces the inflammation and pain in the joints and muscles. The essential oil form this can be used in a small amount because it can cause irritation.
  • The herb also acts as blood purifier due to its depurative action. The major chemical constituents in the essential oil may help to neutralize the toxin in the blood. It also helps to provide oxygen to all the organ of the body and make them oxygenated and mix the fresh oxygen with the blood. By doing so it stimulates the blood circulation and improves blood to important organs of the body.
  • Anti-hysteric property of the herb protects people from a hysteric attack such as convulsion, and unconscious violent behavior. The essential oil of Mentha Pulegium protects people from such attacks by showing some positive effects on the brain and nervous system and also helpful in hysterical fainting.
  • Due to its astringent property, the herb helps as gum strengthener, make the gum contract and tighten their grip on teeth.  This property also helps in muscle contraction and pull up loose skin on the face.
  • The essential oil of herb used to stimulate menstruation but may also induce the abortion. It stimulates hormones such as estrogen and progesterone which are directly associated with menstruation.
  • Pennyroyal is also used for the treatment of pneumonia due to its antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

Side Effects of Pennyroyal

Along with health benefits, the Mentha Pulegium have some side effects such as:

  • Excess consumption of herb may cause damage to liver and kidney and affect the urinary system of the human body.
  • Cause stomach pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fever
  • Hearing problem
  • High blood pressure
  • Abortion
  • Seizures

Due to such health issues, it is always important to consume Mentha Pulegium or pennyroyal under the careful supervision of a doctor. All the properties of pennyroyal herb, which are mentioned above are really very effective during various health ailment such as a cough, indigestion, sore throat, blood purification etc.

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