Pennyroyal

Hedeoma. pulegioides (L.)Pers.Pharmacopoeial name: Hedeoma.Other common names: American pennyroyal, mock pennyroyal, squaw mint, tick-weed, stinking balm, mosquito plant.Habitat and range: Pennyroyal is found in dry soil from Nova Scotia and Quebec to Dakota and southward.Description: This very strongly aromatic annual of the mint family (Menthaceae) is of rather insignificant appearance, being a low-growing plant, 'about 6 inches to a foot or so in height, with a slender, erect, much-branched and somewhat hairy stem.The opposite leaves are small, scarcely exceeding three-fourths of an inch in length and becoming smaller toward the top of the plant. They are borne on short stems and are oblong ovate in shape, thin, blunt at the apex, narrowed at the base, and with margins sparingly toothed. The branchlets are four angled and somewhat hairy, and the loose flower clusters, appearing from July to September in the axils of the leaves, consist of a few pale-bluish flowers with 2lipped corolla, the erect upper one entire or slightly notched or two lobed, while the lower spreading lip is three cleft.Collection, prices, and uses: The leaves and flowering tops are official in the United States Pharmacopoeia, as is also the oil of pennyroyal distilled from them. They should be collected while in flower. The price paid to collectors ranges from about 11/4 to 21/2 cents a pound.Pennyroyal has a strong mintlike odor and pungent taste and is used as an aromatic stimulant, carminative, and emmenagogue. The odor is very repulsive to insects, and pennyroyal is therefore much used for keeping away mosquitoes and other troublesome insects.


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