March 19, 2023 3 min read

Pulegone, a naturally occurring monoterpene in various plants, has drawn attention to its potential therapeutic properties. This monograph reviews the current scientific literature on the healing properties of pulegone, focusing on its potential applications in pain relief, anti-inflammation, antioxidant activity, antimicrobial properties, and cognitive enhancement. The possible side effects and limitations of pulegone and directions for future research are also discussed.


Pulegone (5-Methyl-2-(1-methylethylidene)cyclohexanone) is a naturally occurring monoterpene present in the essential oils of plants such as pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), peppermint (Mentha piperita), and catnip (Nepeta cataria). Pulegone is characterized by its minty aroma and is used in the food, fragrance, and pharmaceutical industries. This monograph examines the scientific evidence supporting the healing potential of pulegone, delving into its applications in pain relief, anti-inflammation, antioxidant activity, antimicrobial properties, and cognitive enhancement.

Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Effects

Several studies have investigated the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of pulegone. In a study by Almeida et al. (2011), pulegone demonstrated significant antinociceptive effects in mice, suggesting its potential as an analgesic agent. Another study by Santos et al. (2011) found that pulegone reduced inflammation in rats' carrageenan-induced paw edema model, supporting its potential anti-inflammatory applications.

Antioxidant Activity

Pulegone has been reported to possess antioxidant properties, which may contribute to its therapeutic potential. In a study by Bendedouch et al. (2016), pulegone exhibited notable antioxidant activity, as demonstrated by its ability to scavenge free radicals and reduce lipid peroxidation in vitro. This suggests that pulegone could have potential applications in managing oxidative stress-related conditions.

Antimicrobial Properties

The antimicrobial properties of pulegone have been widely studied, and this monoterpene has demonstrated effectiveness against pathogens. Silva et al (2018), pulegone exhibited significant antimicrobial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Montanari et al (2012) found that pulegone had antifungal activity against Candida species. These findings suggest that pulegone could be a potential candidate for developing new antimicrobial agents.

Cognitive Enhancement

Recent studies have suggested that pulegone may possess cognitive-enhancing properties. In a study by Karami et al. (2015), pulegone demonstrated memory-enhancing effects in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease by improving cognitive performance in various behavioral tasks. This implies that pulegone could have potential applications in treating neurodegenerative disorders and cognitive decline.

Limitations and Side Effects

While the studies mentioned above suggest the potential therapeutic effects of pulegone, more research is needed to understand its healing capabilities fully. Most studies have been conducted on animal models, and the efficacy of pulegone in human subjects remains to be investigated.

Additionally, it is important to consider the potential side effects of pulegone. Some studies have reported that high doses of pulegone may cause hepatotoxicity and neurotoxicity. Further research is needed to determine the optimal dosage for therapeutic use while minimizing side effects.

Conclusion and Future Research

The existing body of scientific literature on pulegone supports its potential as a versatile therapeutic agent, particularly for pain relief, anti-inflammation, antioxidant activity, antimicrobial properties, and cognitive enhancement. However, further studies are required to validate these findings in human subjects and determine the optimal dosage and administration methods. Future research should also explore the potential synergistic effects of pulegone with other terpenes, natural compounds, and pharmaceuticals and their interactions with other medications.

Potential Applications in Medicine and Therapeutics

As more research is conducted on pulegone, its potential applications in medicine and therapeutics could become more evident. Some possible areas of exploration include:

8.1. Chronic Pain Management: Given its analgesic properties, pulegone could be studied as a potential alternative or adjunct treatment for chronic pain management.

8.2. Inflammatory Conditions: Pulegone's anti-inflammatory effects suggest that it may have potential applications in treating inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune disorders.

8.3. Oxidative Stress-related Disorders: With its antioxidant properties, pulegone could be explored as a potential treatment option for conditions related to oxidative stress, such as neurodegenerative disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

8.4. Antimicrobial Applications: Pulegone's antimicrobial properties may be of interest in developing treatments for bacterial and fungal infections, particularly as resistance to conventional antibiotics grows.

8.5. Cognitive Enhancement: The cognitive-enhancing effects of pulegone suggest potential applications in the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, as well as in the management of cognitive decline associated with aging.



In summary, pulegone is a promising monoterpene with potential healing capabilities in various areas, including pain relief, anti-inflammation, antioxidant activity, antimicrobial properties, and cognitive enhancement. As scientific research continues to unveil its therapeutic properties, the medical community may incorporate pulegone into various treatment strategies. However, further investigation is needed to fully understand its mechanisms, potential side effects, and optimal usage in human subjects.

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