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16 Uses of Pennyroyal Essential Oil and What You Need to Know BEFORE You Use it

Pennyroyal Essential Oil

Pennyroyal essential oil, which is distilled from the Mentha pulegium plant, has been used for centuries. In early human history, it was used to treat digestive and bowl disorders, bites from venomous animals, infections in the upper respiratory system, sores in the mouth and "women’s troubles." It has also been used to treat muscle weakness and encourage the onset of menstruation.

Pennyroyal EO is still used in modern times; however, we have learned over the centuries how dangerous this oil is. It does have excellent anti-microbial, insecticide, anti-arthritic, decongestant, digestive, emenagogue and other beneficial properties. If you do use this oil, do so with extreme caution.

1. Relieve Arthritis Pain

Pennyroyal essential oil is used to relieve arthritis pain. It has natural anti-arthritic, anti-rheumatic, depurative and cordial properties. It relieves pain and inflammation while it actually warms the area. This oil also increases circulation in the area.

Safer Alternatives: Frankincense essential oil (buy it here), ginger essential oil (buy it here), myrrh essential oil (buy it here) and orange essential oil ​(buy it here)​​​ are all very effective and safer to use for the treatment of arthritis.

2. Alleviate Gout

Pennyroyal EO can be used to treat gout. The same properties that make this oil useful in the treatment of arthritis work to alleviate gout. The increase in circulation helps remove uric acid, which is the main cause of gout.

Important Note: Whatever you choose for an oil, make sure that the oils you purchase are high quality. Remember, you're breathing this oil into your lungs so essential oil quality is a terrible place to cut corners.

Safer Alternatives: Basil essential oil, chamomile essential oil (buy it here)(either German or Roman), clove essential oil (buy it here), eucalyptus essential oil (buy it here) , fennel essential oil (buy it here), Frankincense essential oil (buy it here), marjoram essential oil ​(buy it here)​​​, peppermint essential oil (buy it here),rosemary essential oil (buy it here)and tea tree (melaleuca) essential oil (buy it here) are all great for the treatment of gout and are safer to use.

*Always mix pennyroyal essential oil with a carrier oil before use. Never use it full strength.*

3. Improve Circulation

Pennyroyal essential oil improves circulation throughout the body. It can be used wherever poor circulation is a problem, like the feet, ankles, lower legs and hands. This oil will also warm cold hands and feet.

Safer Alternatives: Black pepper essential oil (buy it here), coriander essential oil (buy it here), cumin essential oil, cypress essential oil (buy it here), eucalyptus essential oil (buy it here), ginger essential oil (buy it here), juniper essential oil (buy it here), lavender essential oil ​(buy it here)​​​ and neroli essential oil are all great for improving blood circulation.

4. Prevent Skin Infection

Pennyroyal EO has excellent anti-microbial properties. It can be used to help prevent infections in wounds and cuts. Wash the wound or cut with mild soap before applying the pennyroyal.

Safer Alternatives: Cinnamon essential oil (buy it here), oregano essential oil (buy it here), tea tree essential oil (buy it here) and thyme essential oil ​(buy it here )​​​are all great for preventing and treating bacterial infections.

*Apply a small amount of 1% pennyroyal/carrier oil blend on an arm or leg and wait at least a few hours to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction prior to applying it to large areas of skin.*

5. Treat Urinary Tract Infections

Pennyroyal essential oil can cure urinary tract infections. It has very strong antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that are absorbed through the skin. The 1% to 2% pennyroyal/carrier oil blend could be massaged into the lower abdominal area over the bladder and on the back from the waist or kidney area down.

*As little as 1 teaspoon of pennyroyal essential oil can cause seizures, hallucinations, unconsciousness and shock. Greater amounts cause abortion, renal damage and even death. NEVER TAKE IT BY MOUTH!*

Safer Alternatives: Clove essential oil, myrrh essential oil and oregano essential oil are better for treating UTI’s and are much safer to use.

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6. Clear Up Food Poisoning

Pennyroyal essential oil has been proven to kill food-borne bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus. It is even better than rosemary oil(buy it here)​​​, peppermint oil and verbena oil at killing bacteria in the digestive tract. The 1% to 2% pennyroyal/carrier oil blend could massaged into the abdominal area from the chest down. Its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties will be absorbed into the body through the skin.

Safer Alternatives: Cilantro essential oil, cinnamon essential oil, oregano essential oil, tea tree essential oil(buy it here)​​​ and thyme essential oil are also all great for preventing and treating food-borne bacterial infections. You can even take 1 drop of cinnamon, oregano or thyme EO internally, as long as you get food-grade oils. Never ingest tea tree (melaleuca) oil, though.

*Do not use a stronger pennyroyal oil dilution rate than 1% to 2%. That is 1 to 2 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil.*

7. Improve Digestion

The pennyroyal EO/carrier oil blend could be massaged into the abdominal area to improve digestion. Start at the upper right over the liver area and work your way down.

Safer Alternatives: Citrus essential oils, ginger essential oil, lavender essential oil(buy it here)​​​, peppermint essential oil and thyme essential oil are all good for various digestive issues and much safer to use.

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8. Prevent or Relieve Hysteria and Anxiety

Pennyroyal essential oil can reduce anxiety and calm hysteria. It soothes the brain and nerves to quiet anxiety attacks and hysteria.

Safer Alternatives: Chamomile, neroli and vetiver are much safer oils that are very good for treating anxiety and hysteria.

*Do not use pennyroyal essential oil on children.*

9. Relieve Congestion

Pennyroyal essential oil diluted in a carrier oil can be used to help relieve congestion. Apply it to the chest for upper respiratory congestion or over the sinuses for sinus congestion. Do not put it near the mouth, nostrils or eyes.

Safer Alternatives: Eucalyptus essential oil and peppermint essential oil are much safer oils that are very good decongestants.

*Any carrier oil can be used with pennyroyal oil. Coconut oil, jojoba oil, argan oil and sweet almond oil are all excellent carrier oils.*

10. Regulate Your Menstrual Cycle

Pennyroyal EO diluted in a carrier oil could be massaged into the lower abdominal area and lower back to help regulate the menstrual cycle.

Safer Alternatives: Cedarwood essential oil, cilantro oil and clary sage essential oils are much safer oils to use for regulating the menstrual cycle.

*DO NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use pennyroyal oil in any way if you are pregnant or nursing. It is a known abortifacient.*

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11. Firm and Tighten Skin

Pennyroyal oil can be used to firm and tighten the skin. Its natural astringent properties work well for this. Just be sure to test it in a small area before you apply it to the face or any other larger areas of skin.

Safer Alternatives: Clary sage essential oil, cypress essential oil, geranium essential oil(buy it here)​​​ and lemongrass essential oil are much safer oils and are great for firming skin and muscles. Clary sage and lemongrass (buy it here) are my personal favorites.

12. Reduce Hair Loss

A pennyroyal/carrier oil blend could be massaged into the scalp to help reduce hair loss. Its astringent properties cause the hair follicles to tighten around the hair root. It should be applied 15 to 30 minutes before washing your hair.

Safer Alternatives: Clary sage essential oil, cypress essential oil, geranium essential oil and lemongrass essential oil can also be used to reduce hair loss.

*Never take pennyroyal essential oil internally. It is poisonous to people and pets.*

13. Tone Muscles

The 1% to 2% pennyroyal blend can be used to tone muscles. Its astringent properties firm and tone the muscles as well as the skin.

Safer Alternatives: Clary sage essential oil, cypress essential oil, geranium essential oil and lemongrass essential oil are much safer oils for improving muscle tone. Clary sage and lemongrass are my personal favorites for this, too.

*Keep pennyroyal oil well out of the reach of children and pets.*

14. Repel Insects and Pests

Pennyroyal oil has long been used to kill and repel insects and pests. The 1% to 2% blend can be used for this purpose. If you do want to try using pennyroyal oil to kill fleas on your pet’s bedding, take the bedding outside to treat it then wash it before giving it back to your pet. Never put pennyroyal oil on your pets food, in his or her water or where he or she might walk in it then lick it off.

Safer Alternatives: Citronella essential oil is about the best, safer oil option for repelling insects and pests. However, lemongrass and peppermint essential oils are also much safer alternative options.

*DO NOT put pennyroyal essential oil on your pet or pet bedding. It is highly toxic to animals.*

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15. Kill Dust Mites

Pennyroyal essential oil’s acaricidal properties have been clinically proven. At a dilution rate of .025, which would be about 2 drops per teaspoon, it killed 98.6% of the exposed dust mites within one hour. If you do use this oil to kill dust mites, do not spray it where babies, young children and pets lay for any length of time. Open the windows for good ventilation and DO NOT INHALE THE SPRAY!

Safer Alternatives: Eucalyptus essential oil and tea tree essential oil are the best, safer alternatives for killing dust mites. Cedar, clove, lavender, neem, peppermint and ylang ylang essential oils are also fairly effective and much safer to use.

*DO NOT practice pennyroyal aromatherapy. It is known to cause respiratory problems when diffused in the air.*

16. Clean and Disinfect

Pennyroyal essential oil’s antimicrobial properties make it excellent for cleaning and disinfecting household surfaces. A few drops can be added to your regular cleaning solution to kill germs and bacteria in the kitchen and bathroom. It can be used on food preparation surfaces but be sure to thoroughly rinse it off.

Safer Alternatives: There are many safer essential oils that are excellent for cleaning and disinfecting. Eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils top the list of safer alternatives, but you can practically just pick your favorite fragrance. Citrus essential oils and pine essential oils are all great options, too, which is why there are so many citrus-based and pine-based commercial cleansers on the market.

Was this list helpful to you? I have never used pennyroyal essential oil, although its ability to kill pests and insects is impressive. If you do use this oil, treat it like you would any pesticide or household disinfectant. Any essential oil can cause problems, if it is overused or misused. Heck, even eye drops are toxic if ingested.

Be very cautious when diluting this particular oil, though. Essential oil bottles can be a bit tricky to get just 1 or 2 drops out of and this oil isn’t one to “fudge” on. Lavender oil, well, if I get a short stream instead of 1 or 2 clear drops, I don’t really worry about it. With pennyroyal EO, though, I would carefully put 1 or 2 drops on a spoon, then add it to the carrier oil. If a stream came out, I would pour it back in the bottle and try again.

Please leave a comment to let me know if this list helped and share your own experiences with pennyroyal essential oil. Having an on-going list of how others use this oil, how well it worked and if it caused any problems would be great. Be sure to share, too, so that others can become aware of all the uses, and precautions that should be taken, for this essential oil.

About the author

Reannan Raine

Reannan worked in the non-profit sector for 30 years. Now she devotes her time to freelance writing and sharing knowledge about alternative ways to stay healthy. She believes we could all benefit from the use of fresh herbs and spices in our cooking, essential oils in our medicine cabinets and daily meditation.

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