Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon
The People's Pharmacy
August 15, 2005
My family faced the problem of insect bites when I was young, living in the hills of Arkansas. Much of our food, such as huckleberries or blackberries, came from the woods. When we went out to gather them, our first stop was a spot that had a lot of pennyroyal herbs. We pulled up a couple of plants, scrubbed them against our trouser legs and were never bothered by ticks, chiggers or other insects while we were gathering fruit.
I have no idea where anyone would find pennyroyal herbs now, but I think "oil of pennyroyal" might be available in health-food stores.
Pennyroyal oil has been used for centuries as an insect repellent. When used directly on the skin, though, it may cause a rash. Your trick of rubbing the plant on your clothes was probably a good way to get the benefits without the risks. Pennyroyal oil should not be taken orally because it can be toxic to the liver.
I have been taking Detrol for the last two years, yet my hourly trips to the bathroom (only during the night) have not eased. Is there anything else that might allow me at least three hours of continuous sleep?
Many conditions might cause frequent nighttime urination, and your physician needs to rule them out. You may want to ask your doctor whether DDAVP (desmopressin) would be helpful. This hormone is prescribed for children who have trouble with bed-wetting because it helps regulate nighttime production of urine.