Catnip effects and benefits are varied. Although known as an attractant to cats, there are also some very real benefits for humans as well.
What is Catnip?
Catnip herb is a part of the mint family, and it is also known as catswort and catmint. For use in herbal preparations, the flowers, stem, and leaves are cut when in full bloom. These can then be dried and used accordingly.
As stated above, catnip is well known for attracting cats, as it is thought to affect the receptors in the brain like a drug and is often used in small cat toys. Catnip is also used in some pesticides, as it has the ability to repel certain insects like mosquitoes and cockroaches.
Catnip Effects and Benefits
- It is often used to help prevent insomnia and stress.
- Due to its relaxing effect, catnip extract is also a popular herbal remedy for migraines and stress headaches.
- In the past, catnip herb was used to alleviate stomach problems. Due to the fact it is believed to have anti-spasmodic or muscle relaxant properties, it is a very useful natural therapy for complaints such as indigestion, cramps, and colic.
- Catnip has also been known to aid with excessive gas or trapped wind, and made into a tea it is a great addition to the diet of anyone who suffers from these complaints.
- The herb has also been known to be used as an enema.
- Catnip effects include helping to restore appetite in those who are recovering from an illness.
- It also aids in reducing fever by raising body temperature to increase sweating and, as such, is a good supplement for those with colds and flu. Catnip extract helps to break up mucus in the respiratory tract and so is useful for bronchitis sufferers.
Catnip can be bought from many health food stores in capsule or liquid forms and also as ready-made tea bags. Catnip tea can also be made at home by pouring boiling water over the dried flowers and leaves and letting it steep for several minutes. Do not boil the dried plant, as this may cause the loss of some of the active ingredients.
Cooled tea can be used as a wash for cuts and wounds on the skin. Catnip tincture can be used to ease the external swelling related to hemorrhoids or sprains and other soft tissue damage. Catnip when used as a poultice can help ease the discomfort of a toothache.
Although catnip is a good aid for settling the stomach and therefore eases the symptoms of morning sickness, use of any herbal supplement by pregnant women is not advised without prior consultation with a healthcare provider.
Catnip is very mild and safe to be used in children and can help with anything from fever to teething problems. It is advisable, however, to check on appropriate dosages with a medical professional prior to commencement.