Herbs are often pegged for one use. When most people think of St. John’s wort, they think of an herb to treat depression. Echinacea is known as the immune booster. And when people think of Catnip, they picture a cat happily rolling around on the ground, rubbing in a pile of it or toying with a fabric mouse filled with the herb. However, Catnip offers us so much more than just a treat for cats!
Catnip is a perennial herb that is native to England. He can be found growing throughout most of Europe, Asia and North America as well. There are over 250 species in the genus Nepeta, with N. cataria being recognized as ‘true’ Catnip.
Nutritionally, Catnip contains quite a bit of vitamins and minerals. He is very high in Chromium, Iron, Manganese, Potassium and Selenium, high in Cobalt, contains average amounts of Aluminum, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Riboflavin (B2), Tin, Vitamin A and low to trace amounts of Folate (B9), Niacin (B3), Silicon, Sodium, Sulfur, Thiamine (B1), Vitamins B5, B6, B12, C, Zinc.
Energetically, Catnip can be described as cooling and drying with a pungent and bitter taste.
Catnip leaves and flowering tops are antidiarrheal, antispasmodic, antitussive, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, nervine, refrigerant, sedating and mildly stimulating.
Due to catnip’s sedating and stimulating actions, he is often used in formulas for treating ADHD in children as well as calming children who are irritated or overwhelmed. Catnip is often combined with Skullcap, Passionflower, St. John’s Wort and similar herbs for treating ADHD and ADD. Even something as simple as an infusion of Catnip can help kids and parents take a deep breath and relax.
Had a rough day playing outside or working in the garden? Using lots of muscles that you aren’t used to? Take a bath with Catnip infusion or drink it to help lessen the fatigue from muscular exertion. He is very soothing! Though cats wouldn’t care much for this trick, us humans find it very helpful!
Several handfuls Catnip leaves and stems (flowers too if blooming)
1/2 gallon boiling water
1/2 gallon jar or pitcher
You can use fresh or dried Catnip for your bath. If using dried, reduce the amount to about 3 handfuls.
Begin by chopping up the Catnip and adding it to the jar or pitcher.
Pour boiling water over the leaves to fill the jar. Let steep for 1 – 2 hours.
Run your bath water as warm as you can stand it and pour the tea into the water, straining out the leaves as you pour so they don’t clog up your drain.
AAAAAAHHhhh! Lay back in your bath and feel the tension leave your body.
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