Pulegone is a ketone, as found in pennyroyal, which is toxic. It is also found in mint species such as catnip, cornmint, and peppermint.
Many ketones can be toxic internally and topically. Some can be convulsent, toxic to the liver, or neurotoxic in high doses. Do not overuse or use for prolonged periods of time.
- Menthofuran and pulegone demonstrated liver toxicity. From: Khojasteh-Bakht, S. C., Chen, W., Koenigs, L. L., Peter, R. M., & Nelson, S. D. (1999). Metabolism of (R)-(+)-pulegone and (R)-(+)-menthofuran by human liver cytochrome P-450s: evidence for formation of a furan epoxide. Drug metabolism and disposition, 27(5), 574-580.
- Toxic induced seizures from the following plants was reported: eucalyptus, fennel, hyssop, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, savin, tansy, thuja, turpentine, and wormwood. Ketone constituents including camphor, pinocamphone, thujone, cineole, pulegone, sabinylacetate, and fenchone were mentioned. From: Burkhard, P. R., Burkhardt, K., Haenggeli, C. A., & Landis, T. (1999). Plant-induced seizures: reappearance of an old problem. Journal of neurology, 246(8), 667-670.
Links to Plants Containing Pulegone
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
ANTIMICROBIAL / ANTIBACTERAIL
- Thymus fontanessi (thyme), Origanum glandulosum (oregano), Mentha pulegium (pennyroyal), and Lavandula stoechas (lavender) were antibacterial against Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA and MSSA). Carvacrol, thymol, pulegone, fenchone, and camphor were the strongest constituents. From: Bekka-Hadji, F., Bombarda, I., & Touati, A. (2016). Antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus of five essential oils from Algerian medicinal plants (Lamiaceae). Journal of Essential Oil Research, 1-10.
INSECTICIDAL / LARVICIDAL
- Against the yellow fever mosquito, pulegone, thymol, eugenol, trans-anithole, rosemary oil and citronellal showed high larvicidal activity. Eugenol, citronellal, thymol, pulegone, rosemary oil and cymene showed oviposition deterrent and/or repellent activities. From: Waliwitiya, R., Kennedy, C. J., & Lowenberger, C. A. (2009). Larvicidal and oviposition‐altering activity of monoterpenoids, trans‐anithole and rosemary oil to the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Pest management science, 65(3), 241-248.
- Thymol, eugenol, pulegone, alpha terpineol and citronellal demonstrated insecticidal abilities related to insect enzyme activity and flight motor response. From: Waliwitiya, R. (2011). Plant-derived compounds: acute toxicity, synergism, and effects on insect enzyme activity and flight motor responses (Doctoral dissertation, Science: Biological Sciences Department).
- Pulegone, thymol, eugenol, trans-anithole, rosemary oil, citronellal, and cymene showed high larvicidal, oviposition deterrent, and/or repellent activities against the denge fever mosquito. From: Waliwitiya, R., Kennedy, C. J., & Lowenberger, C. A. (2009). Larvicidal and oviposition‐altering activity of monoterpenoids, trans‐anithole and rosemary oil to the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Pest management science, 65(3), 241-248.
- Pulegone had an anxiolytic effect and may work synergistically with menthol. From: Silveira, N. S. D., Oliveira-Silva, G. L. D., Lamanes, B. D. F., Prado, L. C. D. S., & Bispo-da-Silva, L. B. (2014). The aversive, anxiolytic-like, and verapamil-sensitive psychostimulant effects of pulegone. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 37(5), 771-778.
- Essential oil constituents with an analgesic activity are reviewed. Included are p-cymene, carvacrol, linalool, eugenol, menthol, alpha-bisabolol, cinnamaldehyde, citronellal, citronellol, citronellyl acetate, alpha-phelandrene, alpha-terpeneol, vanillin, borneol, myrtenol, pulegone, citral, thymol, limonene, nerol, anethole, nerolidol, carvone, farnesol, and beta-caryphyllene. From: Lima, T., da Nóbrega, F., de Brito, A., & de Sousa, D. (2017). Analgesic-like activity of essential oil constituents: an update. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(12), 2392.
By: Kathy Sadowski