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Mentha pulegium.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Mentha
Species: M. pulegium
Binomial name
Mentha pulegium

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The herb Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium, family Lamiaceae), is a member of the mint genus; an essential oil extracted from it is used in aromatherapy. Crushed Pennyroyal leaves and foliage exhibit a very strong mint fragrance. Pennyroyal is a traditional folk medicine poison and abortifacient. These oils are high in pulegone, a highly toxic volatile, which can stimulate uterine activity.


Pennyroyal tea has been traditionally employed as an emmenagogue or as an abortifacient. The essential oil is extremely concentrated, and is highly toxic even in small doses.[1] Complications have been reported from attempts to use the oil to induce abortions: in 1978, a pregnant woman died after consuming approximately two tablespoonfuls (30 ml) of Pennyroyal oil, and in 1994, another death occurred after a pregnant woman (attempting to self-abort, but with an unknown ectopic pregnancy) consumed tea containing Pennyroyal extract.[2][1]

See also

  • Hedeoma pulegioides — American Pennyroyal, distantly related species
  • "Pennyroyal Tea" (1993), grunge rock song by Nirvana


  1. 1.0 1.1 U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus website, Pennyroyal patient information retrieved on August 6, 2007.
  2. Metro Silicon Valley, December 14, 1995. "Lifestyle on Trial" by Gordon Young. Metroactive online edition, retrieved on August 6, 2007.

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