- Alternative & Natural Medicine
The catnip herb is well known for its effects on cats but not many people know that there are a variety of health benefits to humans associated with it.
Catnip is also known as:
It is native to Europe but came into the United States with the early settlers. Since then it has become naturalized here. This herb grows well in almost any garden soil and is drought resistant in most cases.
Catnip is a member of the mint family. It grows up to three feet tall and has heart shaped toothed leaves which appear in an opposite pattern on square shaped stems. When it blooms (usually June to September) the flowers are small and tubular - white to lavender with purplish spots.
The flowering tops are the most commonly used part of the plant, often used in catnip tea and other remedies.
Health Benefits of Catnip
There are a variety of health benefits attributed to catnip. Some of them are:
- It is good to treat fevers because it increases perspiration without raising body temperature.
- It is often used to treat colds and flu.
- A mild tea of catnip herb is effective in treating children for colic and restlessness.
- It relieves intestinal cramping.
- A poultice of the leaves and flowers can be used to reduce the swelling of soft tissue injuries.
- Catnip tea has been used to treat small pox and scarlet fever with mixed results.
- Use to relieve tension headaches.
- Catnip tea can help you relax and sleep.
- It can be used as an insect repellent for mosquitoes and fleas.
- Catnip leaf is a mood elevator.
- It can bring on delayed menses.
- It can relieve menstrual cramping.
Catnip and Garlic Cold Remedy
Negative Side Effects of Catnip
Catnip should not be used by pregnant women because it can cause uterine contractions. These could lead to a miscarriage or other complications.
You should not drive or use heavy machinery after you have drank catnip tea because it can cause severe drowsiness, especially if you are susceptible to it.
Drinking the tea in excessive amounts can result in nausea, vomiting, headaches, and intestinal upset.
You can also develop allergies to catnip so if you experience these symptoms you should stop taking the tea or capsules immediately and call your doctor if you don't feel better in an hour or so
This herb doesn't seem to interact with any medications but it is always a good idea to check with your health care provider if you are planning to take a new herb or vitamin.
Using Catnip Herb
Because catnip is related to the mint family it can be used in salads or as a fresh garnish. It is simple to grow and you can have it fresh and available all year.
Some people prefer to drink a tea or use catnip herbs in a tincture or capsule. Always follow the directions for taking herbal medications very carefully. The general dose for an adult is two teaspoons of the dried herb steeped in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes and drunk as a tea. This should be taken three times a day.
Capsules and tinctures are also taken three times a day. Consult the instructions on the container for the proper dose for you.
Growing Catnip in Your Herb Garden
Growing catnip for yourself as well as a special treat for your cat is easy. The plant prefers partial sun or full shade, especially in the hot, dry climates of Texas and other dry areas.
Sow seeds 1/8-inch deep and cover them with a fine potting soil. Gently press down. Germination will take place within twenty days. Thin them when they are 2-inches tall and keep them watered.
That's about all there is to it! Catnip is easy to grow.
Making Catnip Tea for Colds and Flu
You can buy catnip bulk, capsules, tea, tincture, seeds, or plants so be sure to choose which fits your current needs. Always buy organically when you can, and from a reputable dealer.
Adding a little catnip to your diet may perk up your mood as well as make your cat a little more interested in being around you.