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Is Catnip Just For Cats

Updated on March 19, 2012
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Sunshine is a wife, a mother of four, a relationship expert, a journalist, a photographer, a public speaker, and an author.


Is catnip just for cats? For years, cats have gone nuts over the smell of catnip. Old text on how to grow catnip states that cats will destroy it if not protected. Often we see cats rubbing up against it, smelling it, and then running laps around our houses as if they'd overdosed on cocaine. About 75% of cats are affected in this way by catnip because it contains nepetalactone, a chemical that hypes them out. Is catnip only for humans? The answer is no. Catnip has been used for medicinal purposes for at least 2000 years.


Catnip has been long used to treat colds because it relieves chest congestion and loosens phlegm. It brings a sense of warmth to the body, brings perspiration, helps the body to get back in balance, and has an antibiotic property, so it aids in treatment of diarrhea. Also, it's an excellent treatment of fevers because of this, and is commonly drunk as tea. Even though it contains the stimulant that sends cats into a state of hyperactivity, it has a calming effect in humans, and has been used as an antispasmodic. Catnip has also been used for nervous disorders and insanity. Herbalists say it is excellent for treating nervous headaches. Catnip tea was a common beverage in England before the introduction of tea from China. Herbalists have also used catnip to treat ailments like cancer. The leaves can be chewed to relieve toothaches, and have been smoked to treat bronchitis and asthma. Old herbalists mixed equal parts of catnip and saffron to treat smallpox and scarlet fever. Records also show catnip being used as a tranquilizer, a sedative, to help with digestion, colic, flatulence, and menstrual issues.

Colonists of America brought catnip along with them, and it can now be found growing across the entire country. Native American Indians used it for indigestion and infant colic. Early American executioners drank it before a hanging because it was said to make you mean, which is not true.

Catnip Tea:

1oz herbs

1 pint water

Steep 20 min

If too strong, can back off to 2/3 oz herbs



Known as an herb for cat magick, love magick, beauty magick, and spells to promote happiness, catnip has been referred to as the Woman's Love Herb. It is said that it make women frisky in the bedroom. Some believe that if a woman carries it with her, her true love will be addicted to her like a cat to catnip. Others use it in an herbal bath, sprinkled on your bed, or burn it to attract a new lover. Word is as well, that if you soak it in whisky and pour it on your porch, that a lover will find you. If hung over your door, it will attract positive spirits. Some believe that if you hold catnip in your palm until it reaches your body heat, then you hold anyone else's hand, they will be your friend as long as you keep the catnip you held in your hand.


Catnip is rarely used in cooking, because it is considered an exotic herb. It's a sedative for humans, and a great herb to use for taming ADHD* with diet instead of drugs. Some people are more sensitive than others to catnip, so if your dinner guests take a snooze after your meal, it's okay.

Calming Catnip Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 Tbsp grated hard cheese

ΒΌ tsp finely ground catnip

Non-stick spray

Spray frying pan with non-stick spray

Add chicken, on med-high heat

When chicken is thoroughly cooked, place on serving platter

Sprinkle with cheese and catnip

Serves 4

As you can see, catnip is not just for cats, and I hope you take the time to explore this amazing herb.

*As with any herbal remedy, please consult your doctor before adding a supplement to your routine.


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