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Catnip plants, and other Nepeta species, are members of the mint family and contain volatile oils, sterols, acids and tannins. Native to Europe, Asia and Africa, the plant was brought to North America by settlers. Nowadays, the plant is popular in herb gardens and grows widely as a weed. The name “Nepeta” is derived from the Etruruan city of Neptic where the plant was said to be prominently grown.
The French call Catnip “Herbe aux Chats” and often made a tea from Catnip prior to the arrival of Chinese teas. In the Middle Ages, Nepeta catataria was known as Catnip or ‘nep’. People and cats alike loved it and Catnip was used in herbal medicines and for cooking. The use of Catnip Leaves and Flowers in herbal teas was documented at least as early as 1735 in the General Irish Herbal.
Medicinally, the plant has been used to treat intestinal cramps, for indigestion, to cause sweating, to induce menstruation, as a sedative and to increase appetite. Catnip was used as an ointment for skin ailments and the tea was often used as a way of making unpleasant or difficult tasks a bit easier.
Scientists in the 1940s figured out the Nepetalactone is a cat attractant. Nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip, can turn even the laziest feline into a crazy furball (kittens are immune until they develop their sensitivities). Catnip sensitivity is hereditary—an estimated 50% of cats have no reaction.
The taste and energetics of Catnip is bitter, pungent, cooling and astringent. Catnip has an affinity towards the liver, lungs, digestive system, uterus, nervous system and musculoskeletal system. Combine Catnip with Fennel, Lavender or Coriander Seed for digestive support. For nervous system support mix Catnip with California Poppy, Lemon Balm or Passion Flower.
How to use:
Mix 1-2 teaspoons of dried Catnip with 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Add lemon juice and honey, stir and let cool for several minutes.
Cautions & contraindications:
Women with pelvic inflammatory disease should avoid using Catnip because it can start menstruation and it might make heavy menstrual periods worse. It is likely unsafe to take Catnip during pregnancy. There is some evidence that it can stimulate the uterus, which might cause a miscarriage.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider before the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.