Did you know catnip isn’t just for cats? Although cats love the stuff. It is a great easy to use and safe herb.
Habitat and Description
Catnip is a perennial, and a member of the mint family. You can find it in abandoned lots, waste places, or even in lawns. It is a very hardy plant, if you plant some at home make sure it is contained because it will spread.
It is considered a weed by most people. It has greyish green colored leaves and tiny clustered white flowers with tiny purple dots. The plant can grow 3 to 4 feet tall and can be started from seeds, or root divisions and is very easy to grow. It grows best in zones 3a through 9b.
You can use the leaves and flowering tops. You can harvest catnip in July by cutting the plants to the ground and they will regrow in time for a fall cutting
Catnip leaves contain considerable quantities of vitamins C and E.
Catnip is great for nursing mothers and the elderly, and along with chamomile one of the most recommended herbs for children.
Catnip is a gentle but potent sleep inducer, it has a very calming effect without it affecting you the next day. It is great to get a restless child to sleep. It can help improve digestion, ease morning sickness, help a nursing child with colic, help with anxiety, it is great for fevers as it helps cool the body by inducing a sweat, help ease menstrual cramps, is good for colds and the flu, respiratory issues such as cough and congestion, helps relieve cramps and regulate menstruation. Makes a great mosquito repellent, and help sooth achy muscles.
Catnip essential oil is ten more times effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET
How to use
Tea / Infusion
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 4 or 5 fresh leaves or 1 tsp dried. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten, if desired. Drink 2 to 3 times a day.
Since most children don’t care for teas try mixing it with honey (aged 10 and over), or add a sweetener. For colic in small children add to their milk bottle (2 to 3 tablespoons mixed into a full bottle of formula or mothers pumped milk).
Salves and Oils
You can make or buy an essential oil to use as an insect repellant. It can be applied directly to the skin as a compress for anti-inflammatory properties. You can put the oil in a diffuser to act as an insect repellant. Add to a pan of hot water and inhale to help relieve the symptoms of stuffy nose, as well as to ease the pain of headaches, relive nausea, and alleviate the dragging feeling of fatigue.
You can make or buy capsules from the dried herb to take orally for faster results.
You can make a tincture or buy your tinctures. You can go here to see how to make your own. For fever use 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon every half hour until the fever is gone. (This is the adult dose.)
The fresh leaves may be crushed or bruised and used as an antimicrobial rub or poultice for minor cuts and abrasions, as well as for larger wounds as it not only helps with faster healing, but it also helps stave off infection.
You can also use a poultice of fresh leaves on arthritic areas to provide pain relief (adding chili, ginger or turmeric adds extra relief) this is best applied warmed or heated.
Add dried leaves to a warm bath to help sooth achy muscles, Or make a strong tea to add to bath water.
The fresh leaves may even be chewed to help relieve the symptoms of toothaches.
Dried catnip leaves may be burnt as an incense to make an all-natural effective insect repellant that deters flies, roaches, mosquitoes, and many other common pests.
As with any herb, if pregnant always consult your doctor. The information contained in this page is for educational purposes only, and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice diagnosis, or treatment.
So have you every used catnip or would you like to?