(Mentha pulegium)
Mentha pulegium


This is a strongly aromatic low or erect perennial with stems cloaked in small whitish hairs. It has short stalked oval leaves which are scarcely toothed and lilac flowers arranged in whorls appearing from June to August. The fruit is a nutlet.


Common by stream sides and on marshy ground from sea-level to 1,000 ft.

Uses and Properties

A nutritious salad can be made from fresh pennyroyal leaves dressed with vinegar and olive oil. The antiseptic properties of pennyroyal make it useful in cases of mouth infections and chewing leaves is also a good way to rid the mouth of garlic and onion smells. It is rich in the essential oil, "olio menthae" which consists of menthols, alcohols, tannins, picric compounds and aldehydes. Widely used in medicine of the past with similar actions to peppermint. It is a good tonic and has remarkable stimulating action particularly to the uterine muscles and should therefore be avoided during pregnancy. It is said to act as an aphrodisiac in high doses. It can be used as an infusion, extract or raw vegetable. This is a good bee plant yielding nectar freely.