Mentha pulegium Open-pollinated. Native to Europe, across the Mediterranean into Persia. Hardy aromatic ground cover notorious for its insect-repellent properties: can be used to ward off mosquitoes and to repel fleas from pets. Pennyroyal’s distilled oil can be toxic, but the tea rinse is safe for external use. Caution: Pregnant women should not use. Plant 6" apart to make a dense mat. The plants creep with only the lavender flower stalks rising above the ground. Perennial in the mint genus likes rich well-drained soil with good moisture. Mulch for winter protection in Zones 4 and 5. ~12,000 seeds/g. ③
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See Herb Chart in the sidebar for uses and cultural information.
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica, and these become available in August or September.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.