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Gerard's Herbal - Part 3

Gerard's Herbal - CHAP. 222. Of Pennyroyal, or Pudding Grass.

CHAP. 222. Of Pennyroyal, or Pudding Grass.

Fig. 1002. Pennyroyal (1)

Fig. 1003. Upright Pennyroyal (2)


The Description.

            1. Pulegium regium vulgatum is so exceedingly well known to all our English nation, that it needeth no description, being our common Pennyroyal.

            2. The second being the male Pennyroyal is like unto the former, in leaves, flowers and smell, and differeth in that this male kind groweth upright of himself without creeping, much like in show unto Wild Marjoram.

Fig. 1004. Narrow-Leaved Pennyroyal (3)

            3. The third kind of Pennyroyal grows like unto Thyme, and is of a woody substance, somewhat like unto the thin leafed Hyssop, of the savour of common Pennyroyal, but much stronger and more pleasant: the longish narrow leaves stand upon the stalks by couples, with little leaves coming forth of their bosoms: and towards the tops of the branches grow roundels of small purple flowers. This grows plentifully about Montpellier, and by the authors of the Adversaria who first set it forth, it is styled Pulegium angustifolii sive Cervinum Monspeliensium.

The Place.

            The first and common Pennyroyal groweth naturally wild in moist and overflown places, as in the common near London called Mile End, about the holes & ponds thereof in sundry places from whence poor women bring plenty to sell in London markets; and it groweth in sundry other commons near London likewise.

            The second groweth in my garden: the third I have not as yet seen.

The Time.

            They flower from the beginning of June to the end of August.

The Names.

            Pennyroyal is called in Latin, Pulegium, and Pulegium regale, for difference' sake between it and wild Thyme, which of some is called Pulegium montanum: in Italian, Pulegio: in Spanish, Poleo: in Dutch, Poley: in French, Pouliot: in English, Pennyroyal, Pudding grass, Puliall Royal, and of some Organy.

The Nature.

            Pennyroyal is hot and dry in the third degree, and of subtle parts, as Galen saith.

The Virtues.

            A. Pennyroyal boiled in wine and drunken, provoketh the monthly terms, bringeth forth the secondine, the dead child and unnatural birth: it provoketh urine, and breaketh the stone, especially of the kidneys.

            B. Pennyroyal taken with honey cleanseth the lungs, and cleareth the breast from all gross and thick humours.

            C. The same taken with honey and Aloes, purgeth by stool melancholic humours; helpeth the cramp and drawing together of sinews.

            D. The same taken with water and Vinegar assuageth the inordinate define to vomit, & the pains of the stomach.

            E. If you have when you are at the sea Pennyroyal in great quantity dry, and cast it into corrupt water, it helpeth it much, neither will it hurt them that drink thereof.

            F. A garland of Pennyroyal made and worn about the head is of great force against the swimming in the head, the pains and giddiness thereof.

            G. The decoction of Pennyroyal is very good against ventosity, windiness, or such like, and against the hardness & stopping of the mother, being used in a bath or stew for the woman to sit over.

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