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Common Name: American Pennyroyal
Hedeoma pulegioides is an annual plant that can grow up to 0.30 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
In large quantities this plant, especially in the form of the extracted essential oil, can be toxic if taken internally[
]. Skin contact with the pure essential oil can cause dermatitis[
N. America - S. Quebec to Minnesota and S. Dakota, then south to Tennessee and Arkansas.
Dry soils[43 in open woods and fields[
Prefers a sunny position in a well-drained acidic soil of low to moderate fertility[
]. Another report says that it prefers a rich sandy soil in sun or partial shade[
The plants neat habit and aromatic foliage make it a good candidate for growing in containers or planting near seats[
The leaves have a very strong mint-like aroma and taste[
], they can be brewed into a refreshing tea that promotes good digestion, or they can be used as a culinary flavouring[
An essential oil from the plant is used by the food industry as a flavouring in beverages, ice cream, baked goods etc[
American pennyroyal has a long history of medicinal use by various native North American Indian tribes and has become a traditional household remedy in North America[
]. It is used mainly in the treatment of digestive disorders, colds, whooping cough, painful menstruation and as an aid in childbirth[
]. A tea made from the leaves or flowering stems is carminative, rubefacient, stimulant[
]. It is used to treat colds because it promotes perspiration[
]. A tea with brewers yeast can induce an abortion[
]. The plants are harvested when flowering and can be used fresh or dried[
The essential oil is distilled from the plants when they are in flower and used medicinally in the same ways as the leaves. Caution is advised since the pure essential oil is very toxic and ingestion can be lethal whilst skin contact can cause dermatitis[
The essential oil is used as an ingredient in commercial insect repellents and cleaning products[
The plant is used as an insect repellent[
]. When rubbed on the body it is said to repel ticks[
Seed - sow in situ in spring or autumn[