Catnip Herb Profile

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Catnip Herb Profile

You’ve probably heard of Catnip herb before, and true to its name, you probably heard of it in reference to its properties that are highly attractive to felines.

What is much less well-known, are the practical uses of this herb for humans.

Catnip Uses

Catnip is one of my favorite herbs for children. I use it when one of us has a high fever, as it is known to relax the body while increasing perspiration, which helps the infection leave the body faster. It has also been found to settle the stomach and sooth children when they are upset.

Externally, I’ve used Catnip infusions and baths to help with the achy muscles that accompany flu and illness. It can be used externally on the stomach of colicky babies to relax the stomach and help them sleep.

This herb has natural relaxing and soothing properties. It is one of the ingredients in my Sweet Dreams Sleep Tincture, which is great at helping kids relax and sleep better, especially during illness.

It is said to repel certain insects, and I use the essential oil in my Homemade Bug Spray (recently tested and approved by a reader on a cruise down the Amazon River!).

A mild tea made with catnip herb is said to help improve digestion, ease morning sickness, and calm nerves. It’s relaxing properties also make it beneficial to those who suffer from insomnia.

I also keep a small jar in my kitchen for culinary uses. I add small amounts to sauces, stews, and soups for its flavor and to help improve digestion and nutrient assimilation.

Other uses, from Mountain Rose Herbs:

Scientists have ascertained that the feline reaction to catnip is due to it’s content of nepetalactone. The herb is also strongly anti-fungal and a bactericide for Staphylococcus aureus, as well as a close chemical relative to a number of insect repellants that affect mosquitoes and termites… Catnip has also been used as a sedative to help with insomnia, producing similar effects as Valerian.

Precautions: Check with a doctor before using if pregnant. Can cause drowsiness in extreme doses. Very rare allergic reactions. As always, talk to your health professional before using any herbs, supplements, or medicine.

Where to get Catnip

I buy this and other herbs in bulk and make my own teas, tinctures, eye pillows for sleep, and herbal bath salts.

It is also available in capsule form as a sleep aid,  as an herbal tea (in tea bags), as an essential oil for skin use, as an herbal extract with fennel for digestive relief, and Plant Therapy carries an essential oil blend of the same herbs I use in my herbal bug spray, pre-mixed.

You can also actually find herbal catnip toys for your cats.

As always, please check with a doctor or qualified practitioner before using this or any herb as a remedy.

Ever used catnip as an herb, or was your knowledge of it limited to the amusing reactions that it gets from cats? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


47 responses to “Catnip Herb Profile”

  1. Misty Avatar

    I have a two year old and was wondering how much catnip tea I can give him?

  2. Sheri Mc Avatar
    Sheri Mc

    Sunday, my sister handed me a couple stems she’d snapped off her catnip plant for our cat, Molly. I tore a leaf & held to my nose to smell them before placing in a ziplock bag. I stopped by gf’s house & when I got back in the car, thought: geez, I feel like I was talking a mile a minute! Each night since, I’ve taken bag from fridge, opened to see Molly’s reaction, tear a leaf into pieces, rub some on her then run around the house tidying up. After same regimen last night (3rd nt) my husband asked if I’d had coffee late in the day (caffeine makes me act like a ping pong ball) I said no but realized I’d been quite active & exxxxtremely chatty. After some thought, it dawned on me: the catnip made me high! I’ve also noticed for the past 3 days, after Molly wakes me & gets her morning rub, I feel a bit jumpy inside, not anxious, just super energized. And past 3 nights, it’s been past 1am before I was sleepy. My husband thinks I’m nuts, says he doesn’t think there’s a connection. But our Shih Tzus are getting high too & they aren’t touching it. Ella immediately conks out & Vannah starts breathing heavily then has trouble settling down & sleeping. It’s all quite strange. Have you ever heard of this type of human reaction? Benedryl has the same effect on me. Thanks in advance~

  3. Rose encantada Avatar
    Rose encantada

    I take baths with catnip. It leaves my skin beautiful and glowing. It also helps to put me in a good mood.

  4. Wanda Speller Avatar
    Wanda Speller

    I found catnip at a dallortree can i used that in my home.Do it have to be from the Herb store.thank u the website is verey helpful so things i didn’t know about.thank u again.

  5. Maria Avatar

    Has anyone used it for hyperactivity or attention issues? Staying away from a number of preservatives etc but still need some help.

  6. James Krog Avatar
    James Krog

    I have used it successfully as a mosquito repellent. It also seems to help with relaxation and on sore muscles.

  7. Trish Avatar

    I had never heard of using catnip for humans, imagine my surprise when we were visiting my husband’s grandmother and our infant grandson had colic (he had it a LOT). Grandma told us to go to the Healthfood Store and buy the catnip, make a weak tea and mix it with his formula. I couldn’t believe the difference it made for him and, needless to say, it became a staple in our house. He is grown now and has his own infant son – with colic; so Meme reminded him about the catnip.

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