How in the world did I happen upon catnip and why am I choosing to write about it?
It is a funny story.
But, the quick version is that I found some in our garden and brought it home to our cat, Perry. It was late and we came home and had the fresh catnip in a bag and straight away Perry went and found it. He started chewing on the stem of it, which I thought was pretty funny that he found it so quickly and wanted it so badly.
The Hubs and I weren’t sure if we could feed it to him fresh so we looked it up and that is when I was astonished at how awesome this plant is, not just for cats but for humans too!
What is Catnip?
What is catnip? Catnip is a herb. It is a perennial and is in the mint family. Its scientific name is Nepeta cataria L. It originated in Europe and was brought over to the us and now it is more like a common weed here. It has oval toothed shaped leaves, smells faintly of mint and has small violet flowers.
Can Catnip Be Used For More Than Just a Cat Treat?
It most certainly can! It is a herb and as such has some cool properties!
Medicinally it has been used for treating:
- intestinal cramps
- for indigestion
- to cause sweating
- to induce menstruation
- as a sedative
- to increase appetite
- the common cold
- settle the stomach
- scarlet fever
- muscular aches and pains
- cold in the joints
- help relieve anxiety and hysteria
- insect repellant
You can also use it for flavoring in culinary purposes such as:
How To Use Catnip
There are few ways you can use catnip.
Making and drinking catnip tea is one of the most common ways to use catnip. Making catnip tea is almost like making any other kind of tea. The tea is supposed to help with the calming, insomnia, fevers, headaches, stomach problems, ect.
- Place 1-2 teaspoons of dried catnip leaves or flowers into a cup (or 3-4 teaspoons of fresh catnip)
- Add to hot (not boiling)
- Let it steep for about 10 minutes
- Sweeten with honey, or maple syrup and you can try adding lemon
***Unlike traditional tea, you do NOT want to put catnip in boiling water, bring the water to a boil and remove from heat for a minute before beginning the steeping process.***
It is also available in pill form as an herbal supplement.
You can use it as an infusion or put it into the bath to help with achy muscles.
If you have a cut, you can crush up some fresh leaves and dampen them, then, place on the cut. You can also try doing the same thing and place it on your hemorrhoids.
*WHEN NOT TO USE* – Pregnant mothers are not recommend that you use catnip as it can induce uterine contractions.
Catnip can act as a diuretic in the body and should be used with caution by those taking lithium. Research shows that catnip can dramatically alter the way lithium is removed from the body. This can result in an increase of the amount of lithium in the body and as a result the dosage may need to be lowered to account for this change.
It is also advised to use caution when taking catnip with other sedatives. Catnip can amplify the sedative effects of the medication.
Also if you are taking drugs that affect your lithium it is advised that you take precaution when using catnip.
So the next time you see some catnip, maybe you should consider giving it a try for yourself and not just the cat! 🙂
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