Botanical: Nepeta cataria
Family: Lamiaceae/Labiatae (mint)
Other common names: Catmint, Field Balm, Catswort, Catnep, Catstrup
Stressed-out, anxious, tense and sleepless people have often tried Catnip as a mild sedative that helps them to relax. It is an old and highly-nutritional remedy for the digestive system that is said to calm an upset stomach, reduce gas and act as an overall herbal pain reliever to ease tension headaches and cramps. Catnip is a nervous system "calmative" and great muscle relaxer. Your cat will love you, too, if you give it a Catnip-stuffed toy.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Catnip is an erect, ornamental perennial that is native to Europe and western Asia and has been naturalized in North America. It grows along roadsides, in waste places and in mountainous regions up to five thousand feet with square, branching, hairy stems, pointed leaves with scalloped edges and spiked whorls of white flowers that are flecked with purple and red. The plant thrives in north-temperate regions in well-drained soil in sun and may reach a height of five feet. It is frequently used in gardens for its decorative appearance, as well as its highly valued use as an insect repellent that inhibits pests, including aphids, beetles and ants, among others, and is especially effective when planted in vegetable gardens. It does not, however, repel cats; they love it and are fascinated by it! The plant is thought to induce feline purring and relaxation (after producing an odd, frenzied state), and they also love it because it ultimately sedates their prey, including mice and birds. One of the commercially valuable uses of Catnip is in stuffed cat toys; and, of course (and of major importance), the cut tops and leaves have been used for centuries in herbal medicines. The Mohegans made a tea of Catnip for infantile colic, and it was also used historically in the United States to induce sweating and to cure colds. Catnip was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1842 through 1882 and in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1950. It is a bitter, astringent, cooling herb with a pleasing aroma, and the leaves are steeped in a mint-like tea. Catnip is still popular in Europe as a treatment for bronchitis and for chronic diarrhea, and in France, it is considered a seasoning that is important in kitchen herb gardens. Some of the constituents in Catnip include camphor, essential oils (citral, geraniol, nepetol, pulegone, citronellal, thymol, etc.), rosmarinic acid, tannins, actinidine, calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon and zinc.
Catnip is an old and reliable support for the digestive system. As a digestive aid, the herb is said to promote gastric juices that stimulate the digestive process and the movement of food and infection out of the digestive tract. It is also said to pep up the appetite, ease dyspepsia, expel gas, calm an upset stomach, ease nervous indigestion and colic and alleviate an acid stomach.
As a calmative and nervine, Catnip is used to calm the nervous system. It is believed to relax tight muscles, generally inducing relaxation and relieving stress, nervous anxiety, excitability, heart palpitations, hysteria (and was even used in the past in cases of insanity). It is also thought to reduce nervous hives.
Catnip is said to be an effective sedative that is helpful for insomnia. It has been reported to induce sleep in humans and a general state of calm without producing after-effects the following day.
As a diaphoretic, Catnip is thought to be effective in treating feverish illnesses. The herb promotes perspiration, which helps to lower fever and rid the body of toxins through the skin. It is particularly useful when treating colds and flu.
Catnip is believed to be an antispasmodic that will help to relieve chronic coughing and alleviate abdominal and menstrual cramping.
As a mild anodyne, Catnip is thought to relieve overall pain, including headaches (particularly associated with nerves).
Used externally as a topical pain reliever, Catnip's pain relieving properties have been useful for easing the discomforts of toothache, teething, sprains, bruises and insect stings and bites. It has been included in liniments for arthritis and rheumatic conditions.
Catnip is believed to have astringent and antibiotic properties that are useful in treating bronchial infection and diarrhea. It is thought to be helpful in reducing the eruption of measles and chickenpox. Laboratory experiments have reported the destruction of some microbes.
Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Catnip Herbal Supplement.