Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


0031. Pennyroyal: campers rub the leaves on the skin to use as an insect repellent [Hillside Garden Club, Eastcombe, Gloucestershire, December 2013].

2. Cleaning out a church cupboard some years ago we found a little Boots tin that had held pennyroyal and tansy [Tanacetum vulgare] pills ‘for delicate females’. We don’t think Boots sell them any more! [Barton, Cambridgeshire, 1998].

3. When I was a telephone operator in Halifax – I worked there until 1961 – if you went into work and there was a strong smell of mint, or anyone swigging bottles of pennyroyal, they would say ‘Hello, girls, who else has been got now?’ The bottled pennyroyal was a standby for girls who missed a period; it worked in some cases, when it probably would have worked anyway, and was widely believed in [Leeds, October 1981].

Images: main, beside Duke’s Path, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire, August 2017; inset, cultivated, Royal College of Physicians garden, Regent’s Park, London Borough of Camden, February 2015.