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Mentha pulegium

Pennyroyal is one of the most powerfully aromatic mints. The Latin name 'pulegium' hints at its earlier use as an insecticide, especially for fleas, (Pulex is Latin for 'flea'). Once upon a time it has also been used for culinary purposes, especially in hogs stuffing, but modern tastes have changed and it is no longer considered very palatable. Pennyroyal yields an essential oil, but this has been withdrawn from commerce since it was deemed too dangerous. Pennyroyal has always had symbolic sexual connotations and was once commonly used as a lewd metaphor for female pubic hair and illicit sexual affairs. It is reported to have been included in the ritual drink known as Kykeon, the sacramental brew served during the celebrations of the Elysian mysteries in ancient Greece.

Pennyroyal can be used as a digestive aid to relax the stomach and intestines and soothe colic pain and flatulence. It is also a powerful diaphoretic and can be used at the onset of a cold or flu. However, Pennyroyal is most famous for stimulating the uterus and for bringing on delayed menstruation. It has a reputation as an abortifacient.

This herb can be used to celebrate the mysteries of Demeter and Persephone.

Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children, or if you are unwell, or taking any medication. If in doubt, please ask a medical herbalist or healthcare practitioner.