PENNYROYAL

OTHER NAME(S):

American Pennyroyal, Dictame de Virginie, European Pennyroyal, Feuille de Menthe Pouliot, Frétillet, Hedeoma pulegioides, Herbe aux Puces, Herbe de Saint-Laurent, Huile de Menthe Pouliot, Lurk-In-The-Ditch, Melissa pulegioides, Mentha pulegium, Menthe Pouliot, Menthe Pouliote, Mosquito Plant, Penny Royal, Pennyroyal Leaf, Pennyroyal Oil, Piliolerial, Poleo, Pouliot, Pouliot Royal, Pudding Grass, Pulegium, Pulegium vulgare, Run-By-The-Ground, Squaw Balm, Squawmint, Stinking Balm, Tickweed.

Overview

Overview Information

Pennyroyal is a plant. The leaves, and the oil they contain, are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, pennyroyal is used for the common cold, pneumonia, fatigue, ending a pregnancy (abortion), and as an insect repellant, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In manufacturing, pennyroyal oil is used as a dog and cat flea repellent, and as a fragrance for detergents, perfumes, and soaps.

How does it work?

There isn't enough information available to know how pennyroyal might work.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Ending a pregnancy (abortion).
  • Canker sores.
  • Common cold.
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia).
  • Fatigue.
  • Gas (flatulence).
  • Gallbladder disease.
  • Gout.
  • Insect repellant.
  • Liver disease.
  • Mosquito repellant.
  • Pain.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of pennyroyal for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Pennyroyal oil is LIKELY UNSAFE. It can cause serious liver and kidney damage, as well as nervous system damage. Other side effects include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, burning of the throat, fever, confusion, restlessness, seizures, dizziness, vision and hearing problems, high blood pressure, lung failure, and death. There isn't enough reliable information to know if pennyroyal is safe to use as a tea.

When applied to the skin: Pennyroyal oil is LIKELY UNSAFE when applied to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pennyroyal is LIKELY UNSAFE for anyone to use, but it is especially unsafe for people with the following conditions.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take pennyroyal by mouth or apply it to your skin when pregnant or breast-feeding. There is some evidence that pennyroyal oil can cause abortions by causing the uterus to contract. But the dose needed in order to cause an abortion could kill the mother or cause life-long kidney and liver damage.

Children: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to give children pennyroyal by mouth. Infants have developed serious liver and nervous system injuries, or even death, after taking pennyroyal.

Kidney disease: The oil in pennyroyal can damage the kidney and make existing kidney disease worse.

Liver disease: The oil in pennyroyal can cause liver damage and might make existing liver disease worse.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for PENNYROYAL Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of pennyroyal depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for pennyroyal. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Anderson IB, Mullen WH, Meeker JE, et al. Pennyroyal toxicity: measurement of toxic metabolite levels in two cases and review of the literature. Ann Intern Med 1996;124:726-34. View abstract.
  • Bakerink JA, Gospe SM Jr, Dimand RJ, Eldridge MW. Multiple organ failure after ingestion of pennyroyal oil from herbal tea in two infants. Pediatrics 1996;98:944-7. View abstract.
  • Farid O, Zeggwagh NA, Ouadi FE, Eddouks M. Mentha pulegium aqueous extract exhibits antidiabetic and hepatoprotective effects in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets 2019;19(3):292-301. doi: 10.2174/1871530318666181005102247. View abstract.
  • Fozard J, Hieger M. Hepatic failure from pennyroyal tea interaction with medications metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzymes. Am J Ther 2019 Aug 13. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0000000000001052. [Epub ahead of print]. View abstract.
  • Hurrell RF, Reddy M, Cook JD. Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages. Br.J Nutr 1999;81(4):289-295. View abstract.
  • Sudekum M, Poppenga RH, Raju N, Braselton WE Jr. Pennyroyal oil toxicosis in a dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1992;200:817-8.. View abstract.
  • Sullivan JB Jr, Rumack BH, Thomas H Jr, et al. Pennyroyal oil poisoning and hepatotoxicity. JAMA 1979;242:2873-4. View abstract.
  • Vaghardoost R, Ghavami Y, Sobouti B. The effect of Mentha pulegium on healing of burn wound injuries in rat. World J Plast Surg 2019;8(1):43-50. doi: 10.29252/wjps.8.1.43. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
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