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 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!