Pennyroyal: its 7 properties and health benefits
Today and throughout history, there are many infusions that have enjoyed great popularity among different cultures and population groups, using various herbs with useful medicinal properties to alleviate certain discomforts or generate alterations in our levels of activation or mood.
Tea or chamomile are probably the best known, as well as (although we do not usually stop to identify it as such) coffee. Another of the plants that are used for the realization of infusions is pennyroyal mint , which we are going to talk about throughout this article.
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Pennyroyal mint: basic description
Poleo mint is the popular name we give to the "Mentha pulegium", a type of aromatic plant that like rosemary, oregano, sage or basil is part of the family of the lamiaceae. It is one of the best known forms of mint, which has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean and the East for multiple purposes, from as an insect repellent to flavoring through its use as a medicinal herb.
Pennyroyal is a plant that It has numerous properties that make it recommendable to help fight many discomforts and promote our well-being, but nevertheless some of its components can be toxic (especially pulegone). In general, the whole plant is usually used and consumed, although the most common is that the leaves are used to make infusions.
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Healthy properties of this plant
There are many properties of pennyroyal that make it a useful herb in its multiple presentations, especially when used as an infusion. Among these beneficial properties, some of the main ones are the following .
1. It favors digestion and reduces intestinal discomfort
Pennyroyal is very useful in favoring the digestive process.
Specifically, it has a cholagogue effect, which implies that it generates the expulsion of bile from the gallbladder (something fundamental for the digestive process) and in turn facilitates the evacuation. Besides it is antispasmodic, decreasing sudden contractions or spasms that can occur viscerally . It also has the interesting property of facilitating the expulsion of gases, something that diminishes possible discomfort.
2. Stimulates the appetite
It has been observed that pennyroyal is a plant that has the ability to promote an increase in appetite and hunger, something that may be useful in those people who show little appetite (for example in the face of displeasure or depression).
3. Contributes to the regulation of the menstrual cycle
Pennyroyal has been shown to have an emenagological effect, which implies that the action of this plant may favor the expulsion of menstrual flow. This makes it useful in those people with alterations, dysregulations or stops of the menstrual cycle. The aforementioned antispasmodic effect also makes it easier for premenstrual syndrome to be less .
4. Facilitates exudation
Another useful property of this plant is the fact that it can contribute to lower fever and body temperature by causing an increase in sweating.
5. Antiseptic, antifungal and parasiticide
In addition to the above properties, another advantage of pennyroyal is that combat different bacteria and parasites, as well as some fungal species . In this way, it is often used both in infusion to take orally and to clean wounds externally or even as a mouthwash.
6. Helps fight against cold symptoms and mild respiratory disorders
Pennyroyal is also used both at the infusion and vaporized levels for the treatment of some conditions such as the common cold or bronchitis , since it has a mild antitussive effect and facilitates the expulsion of mucus. This is due to menthol, which has the same as the other plants of the mentha genus.
Stress and anxiety can be slightly lessened with an infusion of pennyroyal, which Helps to relax and facilitates rest and sleep .
Risks and contraindications
Although mint pennyroyal is a relatively popular herb and especially used when preparing infusions (in which case the low concentration of the components of this plant makes it generally not harmful), the fact is that may cause adverse effects on health .
Therefore, under certain conditions may be contraindicated, especially when excessive consumption occurs. The risk is usually higher when what is being used is the essential oil .
To begin with, keep in mind that this plant can be irritating, something that can generate burning and pain along the digestive tract. In addition, if consumed in excess it can generate from diarrhea to headaches, passing through gastrointestinal problems.
As more significant aspects we find the fact that mint pennyroyal can become toxic at the renal and hepatic levels, and its consumption should be avoided by people with insufficiency or problems related to these organs.
As well affects the absorption of iron , hindering it and decreasing its levels, and could even generate a hypoglycemia. That is why it is recommended that people with anemia not consume it.
further is contraindicated during pregnancy since it favors the appearance of contractions in the uterus, something that in high doses can end up by facilitating an abortion or a premature birth. Neither in lactation nor in children under two years of age.
- Batllori, L. (1990): Medicinal plants and plant drugs: Poleo. Offarm 9 (9): 97-98.
- Muñoz, L.M., Alonso, M.T. and Santos, M.T. (1998). Spanish medicinal plants. Mentha Pulegium L. (Labiatae). (Poleo, pennyroyal). Stud.bot, 17. Editions Universidad de Salamanca.