Catnips have always been associated with cats, because many of them go crazy for it. According to research 70 to 80 % of all cats respond favorably to this plant. Science can explain the reason why.
Nepactalone, which is a substance that is found in catnip can bring a number of changes to a cat’s behavior which include a feeling of euphoria, calmness, higher food drive, and greater interest in learning. Because of this, some cat owners use this herb to train their cats.
Whilst it has always been associated with felines, catnip has also been useful to humans. In the past, it was used as a treatment for flatulence, hemorrhoids, and other skin conditions. It is interesting to note that Native Americans included this herb in their recipes and medicines. They believed that it was useful for fevers, colds, coughs, sore throats, pneumonia, colic, and menstrual problems. In Europe, prior to the arrival of Chinese teas, the French made a delicious tea from it, which was a refreshing and highly nutritious drink.
Characteristics of the Catnip Herb
Nepeta Cataria, a herbaceous perennial that grows to be 50-100 cm is a member of the Lamiaceae family. Commonly known as catnip, its other names include catswort, catwort, and catmint. This plant, which is an upright hardy herb, has heart-shaped leaves that are grayish-green in color, sturdy stems with very fine hairs, and hermaphroditic flowers. It is best known for its aromatic minty odor emitted by its leaves and stems when they are crushed. Catnip blooms from May to September. It is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been naturalized in many parts of the world which include southern Canada, the United States, and New Zealand.
Modern Medicinal Value of Catnip
Catnip is an interesting herb. No wonder cats love it. As previously mentioned, humans can benefit from it too. The following are one can get by drinking tea made from Nepeta Cataria:
- It can help induce sleep
Nepactalone, which gives most cats a feeling of excitement and happiness and is found in Nepeta Cataria, can also benefit humans. While cats get excited because of it, humans seem to react the opposite. This chemical has sedative effects on people who ingest the catnip herb. Thus, it can promote calmness, induce sleep, and improve the quality of sleep.
- It can help maintain good mental health
For centuries, herbalists have been using catnip to treat anxiety and there is evidence that it can help people who are anxious because of the calming and relaxing effects of this herb. Also, a more relaxed state may boost mood and reduce restlessness and nervousness. Aside from this benefit, this herb may give relief to patients who are suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease since it contains potent nervine properties that are highly effective.
- It strengthens the body, speeds the healing process, and protects the immune system
Native Americans believed that Nepeta Cataria could treat colds, coughs, and fevers. Their faith in it is actually justifiable since it is a diaphoretic herb which can help in inducing perspiration while maintaining the temperature of the body. It is also a natural decongestant that can be used to relieve nasal congestion. Catnip is also very nutritious and is full of antioxidants that can strengthen the body, protect the immune system, and help delay the signs of aging.
Catnip features a remarkable collection of nutrients which include vitamins, minerals, different organic compounds, essential acids, and beneficial chemicals that keep the body in top condition. It is good for the kidneys, digestive system, hair, and skin. It may relieve headaches and menstrual cramps. This plant is not only good for cats. If it’s brewed as a tea, this herb is also perfect for you.