Catnip, or Nepeta Cataria, is a fragrant-smelling plant that belongs to the mint family. Its dried leaves are processed to provide a number of healing properties for problems such as nervousness, restlessness, flatulence, stress and pain. Experiments on the use of catnip tea are inconclusive however no health risk is involved when it is taken in small doses.
The Healing Properties of Catnip Tea
Herbalists say that both catnip roots and leaves provide health benefits, however, the effects are said to differ for each. While the leaves relieve nervous disorders, the roots function as a stimulant. Catnip is known to contain the following chemicals: dipentene, citral, choline, buteric acid, biotin and acetic acid. Additional constituents of this herb are Vitamin A, Vitamin B, valeric acid, sulfur, sodium, phosphorous, para-aminobenzoic acid, pantothenic acid, nepetallic acid, manganese, limonene, lifronella inositol and folic acid.
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Catnip: An Edible and Medicinal Herb
I think we’re all familiar with the effect catnip has on kitties, but did you know that it’s edible and medicinal for humans? Catnip actually has the opposite effect on people that it has on cats. Where felines get crazy hyper when they chew on the plant, it actually acts as a calming sedative in humans. It’s a very gentle and safe herb, even for babies.
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When a good friend of mine dug up a little clump of her catnip plant and gave it to me a few years ago, I had no idea it would grow so well and spread so much. A member of the mint family, once you have it planted catnip is notorious for springing up all over the place.
This year our catnip decided to jump the garden fence and establish itself in several nice clusters in one of our garden beds. Boy did it make itself at home. After witnessing a chorus of humming bees happily hovering all around the plants, I decided to let the catnip stay where it was since it was attracting so many beneficial pollinators to my other plants.
Catnip can be grown from seed, or purchased as a plant at a local or online nursery. They love full sun and thrive in good garden soil. You can expect them to come back year after year, and spread where they may not be wanted. You can plant them in containers if you’d prefer that they stay in one place.
According to studies, this plant is not only helpful to patients suffering from nervousness and anxiety. It also soothes problems of indigestion and insomnia. Another health benefit of catnip is treatment of an eating disorder called bulimia nervosa which is an excessive intake of food followed by forced purging or vomiting. For infant’s health, catnip is a helpful drink that relieves colic problems caused by food intolerance.
When catnip is processed into oil, it functions as an effective insect repellant. It contains nepetalactone chemical gives the plant a very strong scent which repels mosquitoes instantly. Take note that catnip oil is used as aromatherapy to drive away mosquitoes. It is not an essential oil to be applied onto the skin.
In terms of dosage, catnip tea should be taken two to three times a day to stabilize the digestive system and relax the nerves in the body. While this tea promotes a number of health benefits, it is not recommended for individuals with kidney and liver disorders. Pregnant women should also not drink catnip tea as it may induce premature labor. It is safest to consult with a doctor before drinking catnip tea to make sure you are not at risk for adverse effects.
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