Isopulegol & Pulegone

Written by Caleb Summeril

Isopulegol and pulegone are both naturally occurring monoterpenes found in cannabis and several other plant species. These compounds have a nearly identical molecular structure and weight with pulegone having two less hydrogen atoms, making it an enone.Being chemically similar to menthol, these substances often exhibit a mint-like flavor and aroma.

Medical Benefits

Isopulegol has been shown to have an assortment of medical benefits, exhibiting anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective and stress-reducing properties. Studies in animals have shown this compound to be effective as a depressant and to decrease anxietyleading to the potential for stress reduction amongst humans. [1] The compound also holds promise as an anti-seizure treatment with additional studies showing isopulegol effectively inhibiting convulsions and mortality in mice. [2] Antioxidant properties of isopulegol also show capacity for possible gastrointestinal protection.

Pulegone also carries medical benefits though there are not abundant studies on its’ specific isolated effects. This compound exists as an oil and is often found in different mint-based products used to treat the common cold and gastrointestinal issues. Pulegone has been used as an expectorant and sedative for human applications and is a natural insecticide. Thyme  (Thymus vulgaris) naturally produce spulegone to keep grazing animals at bay. [3] High volumes of pulegone, specifically from Pennyroyal tea have be shown to be dangerous or even fatal.

Both isopulegol and pulegone are used in small quantities as food-based flavorings.

Common Plants Containing Isopulegol and Pulegone

  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Peppermint (MenthapPiperita)
  • Horse Mint (Mentha longifolia)
  • Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
  • Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)
  • Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)
  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
  • Geranium
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citrus)
  • Japanese Catnip (Schizonepta)
  • and of course, cannabis varieties including: Kosher Tangie, Headcheese (isopulegol); Headband, OG Kush(pulegone)


  1. Silva, M., et al. “Central nervous system activity of acute administration of isopulegol in mice”. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007;88(2):141-7 [Times cited: 9, Journal impact factor: 2.781]
  2. Silva, M. et al. Effects of isopulegol on pentylenetetrazol-induced convulsions in mice: possible involvement of GABAergic system and antioxidant activity. Fitoterapia. 2009. 80/8/506-513.[Times cited: 7, Journal impact factor: 2.345]
  3. Muller-Schwarze D, Thoss V; Defense on the rocks: low monoterpanoid levels in plants on pillars without mammalian herbivores. J Chem Ecol 34/11/1377-81.[Times cited: 1, Journal impact factor: 3.151]

About the author

Caleb Summeril

Caleb Summeril writes creative copy, stories and songs from the mountains of Colorado. When not working on words, he can be found on global gallivants which fuel future endeavors. Learn more about his writing services at calebsummeril.com

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