The catnip plant may be popular among felines, but it has some wonderful benefits for humans as well.
In this article:
- What Is Catnip?
- Benefits of Catnip Plant
- Where to Buy Catnip Plant
- How to Best Use Catnip Plant
- Catnip Side Effects
7 Reasons the Catnip Plant May Be Good for You
What Is Catnip?
The catnip plant is most popular as the tiny leaf bits a cat owner may scatter onto the ground to enthuse their cats. Also going by Nepeta cataria, catswort, or catmint, the catnip plant is a perennial herb with a close relation to the mint family.
While common as a recreational tool for cats, the catnip plant has a long history of medicinal use in many cultures worldwide.
The leaves and flowers of the catnip plant are often made into tea.
Catnip tea is believed to treat illnesses like insomnia, headaches, and anxiety. Its roots are also used, but for an opposite stimulating effect.
Benefits of Catnip Plant
1. Helps with Stress and Anxiety
Among the foremost benefits of the catnip plant, is its calming effect. Catnip consists of nepetalactone, the same chemical that attracts cats.
Nepetalactone has a different effect on humans. This is because the human brain is vastly different to the physiology of a cat’s brain.
In humans, nepetalactone often has a mild, sedative effect. This helps promote relaxation, which helps ease anxiety and stress.
2. Helps Eliminate Bodily Toxins
Catnip tea is a diuretic and may help people urinate more frequently. This is helpful for people who struggle with water retention.
Urinating helps in eliminating and excreting toxic wastes from the kidney. Catnip also has a diaphoretic property which helps eliminate more toxins from the body through sweating.
3. May Help Calm Nerves
Catnip essential oil may help soothe the nervous system. This helps provide relief for conditions such as vertigo by empowering and activating the nerves.
4. Helps Supplement Insect Repellents
The strong odor of catnip, which is produced by nepetalactone, helps repel various insects such as cockroaches and mosquitoes. A study with catnip essential oil shows that it can even keep several species of flies at bay.
Many experts report that catnip essential oil may be among the most effective insect repellents, along with DEET. One quality that catnip has over DEET is that it has little known side effects.
What Is DEET? The short name for N-diethyl-meta-toluamide or diethyltoluamide. It is the most common active ingredient in many commercial insect repellents.
5. May Help Ease PMS Symptoms
The most pervasive of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms are bloating, headaches, mood swings, and the dreadful menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea.
The calming effects of catnip help ease emotional distress during PMS. It also helps relax muscles in the uterus, thereby easing the pain-causing cramps of dysmenorrhea.
6. Helps Ease Stomach Bloating and Flatulence
In the past, catnip was a popular treatment for infantile colic, as well as flatulence. This is largely due to catnip’s carminative properties.
Carminatives prevent spasms in the digestive system. This helps in providing relief from distention and gas buildup.
What Is Infantile Colic? Describes extended crying episodes in healthy infants. It is usually a result of gastrointestinal discomfort.
What Is Flatulence? The medical term for the release of digestive system gases via the anus
7. Has Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties
Antioxidants help deal with free radicals causing damage such as premature aging to your body. Antimicrobial properties in catnip also mean it can help fight pesky bacteria and fungi in your body.
Cooled catnip tea helps speed up the healing of small scrapes by disinfecting them.
Where to Buy Catnip Plant
Catnip seeds are widely available in plant stores, and may even be available in several organic stores and pet stores. Proper catnip care isn’t extensively detailed or sensitive, making them a great plant to have for beginner gardeners.
Catnip fares well in many soil types, loves full sunlight, and can even tolerate a bit of shade. They grow pretty lavender-colored flowers and may attract a gathering of cat visitors.
How to Best Use Catnip Plant
Catnip is available in many forms. Those who are in possession of live plants may use the leaves and stems to rub on scrapes or to sniff for instant relief.
Catnip essential oil is also common. It’s good for those who are constantly on the go and prefer to reap the benefits of catnip in a compact container or for topical use.
Catnip’s most popular method of consumption to humans is as tea. But despite its strong, vaguely minty smell, its flavor is mild and grassy.
People recommend steeping catnip tea with a slice of lemon for at least 15 minutes to access its elusive, minty flavor.
There are several commercially available teas that contain catnip, as well as a handful of other wonderful ingredients that boost and supplement its main benefits.
One such example is Purple Tea’s Beauty, Hair, Skin & Nails tea blend.
Besides having catnip as one of its main ingredients, it also has cacao shells, biotin, horsetail, nettle, licorice root, and purple tea, all of which have powerful antioxidant properties. It also has a delightful, somewhat chocolate taste.
Catnip Side Effects
Mild drowsiness is often the common side effect of catnip, which may be great if you’re trying to fall asleep, but not so much if you’re trying to, say, drive a car.
Despite its popular use on infants in the past, catnip is not ideal for use on small children in the present day. Modern medications may be more effective and do not induce excessive drowsiness.
People with kidney disease, pregnant women, and women with pelvic inflammatory disease are advised against drinking catnip tea. Catnip tea may respectively affect kidney function and trigger uterine contractions.
People about to have surgery are also advised to temporarily stop drinking catnip tea weeks beforehand. This is so it won’t interfere with the nervous system and the administration of anesthesia.
The catnip plant is a gift to both felines and humans. Not only is catnip easily accessible, but it also has a host of positive health benefits.
Ask your doctor if you’re in the clear for some catnip tea drinking. Avoid using cat catnip for your own personal use, as it may contain chemicals and fillers that are not ideal for human consumption.
Are you surprised to learn that you can also benefit from catnip? Have you used catnip yourself? Share your reactions and experiences with us in the comments section below!