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Modern uses - With its richly aromatic oil, Pennyroyal will ease flatulence and abdominal colic due to wind. It will relax spasmodic pain and ease anxiety. Its main use is as an emmenagogue to stimulate the menstrual process, and to strengthen uterine contractions.
It should therefore be avoided during pregnancy.The oil should also be avoided externally, as it is easily absorbed through the skin.
An infusion of the dried leaves should be used rather than the oil which can act far too vigourously.
The PDR For Herbal Medicine recommends that the drug should not be used due to its hepatotoxicity. The PDR recommends that peppermint or spearmint should be used to remedy many of the same conditions that pennyroyal treats without the toxic risk.
The best use of this potent herb is an external application as an insect repellent to deter mosquitoes, fleas and other pests. It is also soothing as a skin wash to relieve itching and rash.
Pet collars, woven from the freshly gathered stems and leaves will also deter fleas, and bunches of the herb, hanging to dry , will also keep pests at bay.
Many modern commercial insect repellents contain the oil of hedoma.
Dosage - A cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried leaves and infuse for 10-15 minutes.
Past and traditional uses - The traditional uses of American Penny royal have become intertwined with the very ancient herb English or European Pennyroyal, since the latter was introduced by early European colonists like the Pilgrim Fathers.. They share, to all intents and purposes, the same chemical composition and the same pharmacological action. The only differences lies in habitat, habit and small differences in leaf length and the number of stamens in the flower.
The uses of English Pennyroyal are recorded in Pliny, Dioscorides, and even earlier, in the plays of Aristophanes, in 421 BC It is widely mentioned in Anglo- Saxon and early Welsh writings.Culpeper, Gerard, Turner describe its uses at some length, and the writings of Albertus Magnus. The ì Boke of Secretes of Albertus Magnus on the Vertues of Herbes, Stones and certaine Beastes ì says the drowned bees can be revived by leaving them in the ashes of Pennyroyal.
American Pennyroyal got the names Squawmint or Sqawbalm because many Native American women used it to promote menstrual flow, and in some tribes, women drank the hot tea regularly as a means of contraception
The Navajo nation used it as an analgesic.They also used an infusion of the plant in large quantities for Influenza. It would also used by the medicine manís assistant during a War Dance.
The Lakota used the leaves to make a nourishing soup. The Dakota used an infusion of the leaves for colds, and also as a flavour and tonic appetizer for the sick.
The Shoshoni used a decoction of the plant as a general physic, and for indigestion.
The Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache boiled the leaves and stems for a non intoxicating beverage.
Other extensive uses by various Nations were for variety of ailments, such as itching, watery eyes, and fevers.The leaves were crushed and used externally to ward off insects such as mosquitoes.
It has also been used as a tea for gout, nausea and nervous conditions. As a hot infusion, it promotes perspiration. Some herbalists suggest the use in a hot footbath as well as drinking the infusion as a remedy at the onset of colds and flu.