Not the usual tea you might have heard of and certainly something most people may not know about but there is such as thing as catnip tea! Catnip has always been associated with cats because many of them go crazy for it. According to research 70-80% of all cats respond favourably to this plant and an amazing thing called science can explain why.
Nepactalone, which is a substance that is found in catnip can bring a number of changes to a cat’s behaviour 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 greyish-green in colour, sturdy stems with very fine hairs, and hermaphroditic flowers. It is best known for its aromatic minty odour 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 including southern Canada, the United States, and New Zealand.
Modern Medicinal Value of Catnip
Catnip is such an interesting herb, it’s no wonder cats love it but as previously mentioned, humans can benefit from it too. At Tea Life, we don’t just love to drink tea but we think that tea is great for your health and catnip is no different from many teas we provide in our online store. Catnip tea has many benefits that can support a healthy diet and lifestyle and here are the following main ones we know about:
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 and feel sleepy instead. This chemical has sedative effects on people who ingest the catnip herb so it can promote calmness, induce sleep, and improve the quality of sleep. If you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep at night and chamomile just isn’t doing it, perhaps try catnip tea and see how it affects you.
It can help maintain good mental health
For centuries, herbalists have been using catnip to treat anxiety and have shown that it can help people who are anxious. This is due to the calming and relaxing effects of this herb, similar to its sedative effects. What’s better for long term mental health is that a more relaxed state can boost your mood whilst reducing restlessness and nervousness. Anxiety and nervousness are normal in everyday life but when it’s a constant worry or rumination, we recommend seeking the advice of a mental health professional and considering catnip tea as a supplementary tea to support other strategies to maintain and improve your mental health.
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 that 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. Like many teas, catnip 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 many organs, helping you sleep and reduce anxiety and has many other benefits to support a healthy lifestyle. We personally love to drink it a few times a week and brew it according to the Tea Life instructions.
If this tea sounds interesting and something new to add to your tea repertoire, you can check out our range of catnip tea right here for you to purchase and add to your next brew!