• monoterpene present in essential oils (see: silly aromatherapy nonsense) from plants of the Lamiaceae (mint) family
    • particularly high levels are found in the European (Mentha pulegium) and American (Hedeoma pulegioides) varieties of pennyroyal
  • has an odour similar to peppermint and camphor
  • used as a flavouring agent, an ingredient in perfumes, and a flea repellent (so perfect for hippies)
  • pennyroyal tea (and oil) is/was used in traditional folk medicine to promote menstruation and as an abortifacient to initiate self-abortion
    • there is a crappy Nirvana song about this (bring it, haters!)
    • there is no scientific evidence available to support its efficacy in this regard (read: this is a bad idea)
  • ingestion of high doses has been reported to cause organ toxicity and death
  • pulegone and one of its metabolites (menthofuran) are bioactivated by liver enzymes to reactive intermediates that permanently bind to cellular proteins and cause liver damage
- Anderson IB et al. Pennyroyal toxicity: measurement of toxic metabolite levels in two cases and review of the literature. Ann Intern Med. 1996 Apr 15;124(8):726-34.

2 chemically inspired comments:

katey said...

are you saying Pennyroyal Tea is a bad song, or just a bad NIRVANA song? ;)

CND said...

Ah, good question. Bad song in general. Mwahahahahahaha. Ha.