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Latin Name

Nepeta cataria

Also Known As

Catnep, Catrup, Catmint, Catswort, Field Balm, Nep, Herb Catta

Origin

Aerial parts

Parts Used

Europe

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Catnip makes a soothing tea which is mild enough to give to small children. In many cultures, it is thought to purify the blood, and is used for its calming and sedative effects, both in adults and in small children. It is recommended for aiding sleep.
Catnip is also said to relieve the symptoms of colic in children, and can be used as a digestive aid for both children and adults.
It is also indicated for bringing down fevers, as it brings on a sweat, because it is also good for coughs, muscle cramps, and other cold symptoms it is a excellent get well aid.
This is because the leaves have a mild antibiotic effect. Therefore, crushing them and placing them on minor cuts and scrapes before bandaging, may protect the wound from infection while promoting healing.

Typical Uses

Infusion or tea: Steep 1-2 tsp of dried herb for 5-15 min in hot water, in a tea pot. Take 1 oz to 1 cup as needed. Take 3 times per day.

Folklore and History

Catnip is best known for inducing euphoria in cats, housecats, lions, tigers, etc. all display similar symptoms which last about twenty minutes. It has the opposite effect on humans and is used mainly to calm the nerves and induce sleep. The plant can be difficult to grow if there are cats in the neighbourhood.

Several Native American tribes used Catnip to treat coughs, colds, pneumonia, sore throats, fevers, and colic. The Mohegan tribes relieved infant colic with a tea made from Catnip leaves.

Catnip

Constituents

Iridoids, tannins, volatile oil (mainly alph- and beta-nepetalactone, citronellol, and geraniol) antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins C and E, minerals (especially chromium, iron, manganese, potassium, selenium, and cobalt.

Precautions

Do not take during pregnancy.