• 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.

3 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.

Anonymous said...

"ah, good question...I'm posting things at this site all day because I am a chemistry geek..." Buy a life...you couldn't get a life even if you sold your soul to satan...good work katey...hahahahaha...you're so funny that I got my brain damaged and diarrhoea.