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Catnip Tea

Updated on June 6, 2013

You are likely well aware of the effect catnip has on cats. More than half of the cats that ingest this herb encounter large changes in behavior. They will either become more energetic and playful, with older cats acting more like the kittens they once were, or they will become drowsy and relaxed, often taking naps as the effects of the catnip wear off.

What many people don’t know is that catnip also has effects on humans. These effects are generally mild but can be very pleasant and have potent healthful benefits. There are people throughout the world who consume catnip to promote both physical and mental health. The best way to receive these benefits is to drink catnip tea. What’s more, catnip tea is not only good for you but tastes good too.

Catnip tea - catnip for your cat, calming tea for you!
Catnip tea - catnip for your cat, calming tea for you!

Benefits of Catnip Tea

There are many health benefits to catnip tea. In many places in the world, catnip is used as a mild sedative to help people relax. The main active ingredient in catnip is the chemical substance nepetalactone. This is the same substance that has its effects on cats. In humans, nepetalactone promotes sleep and relaxation. For this reason, it can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and nervousness. There are some who use catnip tea to help fend off insomnia.

In addition to its sedative properties, catnip tea has additional health benefits. It is often used as a way to quell an upset stomach. Women experiencing menstrual cramps will drink catnip tea for its ability to help in that area. As well, catnip tea is good for gas and bloating, whether as a result of diet, stress, or other ailment. The tea made from catnip is also a mild pain reliever and is used for toothaches and to lessen the pain from migraine headaches. It has been known to be effective in reducing fever.

One group of people who should avoid drinking of catnip tea are pregnant women. Also, given its sedative nature, you should probably avoid drinking catnip tea when driving long distances, especially at night. Some people who drink a lot of catnip tea have a few unpleasant side effects such as nausea, but most people can drink a few cups a day and avoid side effects while receiving the many benefits of the herb.

Making Catnip Tea

Catnip is a member of the mint family and so when brewed as a tea can be a very refreshing drink. It can be served hot or brewed and then chilled to make an excellent iced tea. Many people combine catnip with other helpful herbs to make an extremely nutritious tea. A bit of lemon or honey can also be used to complement the taste of the catnip.

To get the most healthful benefits from catnip tea, fresh catnip leaves should be used. Catnip is easily grown in both pots and in the garden and produces wonderfully fragrant and beautiful flowers. Catnip for use in tea can also be purchased at health food stores and some grocery stores. A third alternative is to buy catnip oil extract that can be used in tea.

To make tea, you should use approximately one teaspoon of dried leaves or about four teaspoons of fresh catnip leaves. Leaves can either be placed directly in the tea cup and later strained out or placed in a tea ball. In either case, boil about 10 ounces of water and then allow it to cool to below the boiling point. The active ingredients in catnip tea can be adversely affected by water that is too hot, making the tea lose some of its benefit. The tea will also taste better brewed at a lower temperature.

The longer the tea is steeped, the more oils will be extracted and the greater the healthful properties. However, the catnip tea may become too strong for your tastes if brewed for too long. You may want to experiment with the steeping time. As mentioned before, the addition of honey, lemon, or other herbs can help the flavor of your catnip tea.

Catnip Tea for Almost Everyone

Because of its mild effects, catnip tea can be drank by most people, even at younger ages. It has few contraindications with other substances or medications, so it is generally safe, although of course you should always check with your doctor. Therefore, whether young or old, man or woman, the many important benefits or catnip tea are available to you. Join thousands of people worldwide in discovering the health promoting capabilities of this natural herbal tea.

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