While most people are familiar with Nepeta cataria driving their feline friends into a perfect frenzy, what many of us are not aware of this herb's medicinal benefits.
Here's why I keep catnip in my house:
Fun fact: Did you know that catnip acts as an insect repellent and in some studies was shown to be more effective than DEET?
To use catnip as a tea, add 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb to 1 cup of boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes, straining before drinking. The dried leaf can also be applied topically as a poultice for swelling, bruises and other minor skin irritations. Catnip is thought to be safe for most people when taken in cupful amounts (as in a tea).
1 Catnip. Natural Standards Comprehensive Database. Date. 2010 February 10. Retrieved 2013 February 18 from: http://ezproxy.ccnm.edu:2076/nd/Search.aspx?cs=&s=ND&pt=100&id=831&ds=&name=CATNIP&searchid=39719329
2 Kathleen Keeler.[Herbalist] catnip vs catmint (is catmint dangerous). 2007 April 3. Message posting on online thread. Retrieved online 2013 February 18: http://lists.ansteorra.org/pipermail/herbalist-ansteorra.org/2007-April/006662.html 3 Godfrey A, Saunders P, Barlow K, Gowan M. Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine. Volume 1. Toronto: CCNM Press; 2010.
4 Erlich SD. Infantile Colic. 2010 March 31. University of Maryland Medical Center. Article retrieved 2013 February 18 from the University of Maryland: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/infantile-colic-000094.htm
5 Smitherman LC, Janisse J, Mathur A. The use of folk remedies among children in an urban black community: remedies for fever, colic, and teething. Pediatrics. 2005 Mar;115(3):e297-304. Article retrieved 2013 February 18, from the Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/115/3/e297.long
6 Birkett MA, Hassanali A, Hoglund S, Pettersson J, Pickett JA. Repellent activity of catmint, Nepeta cataria, and iridoid nepetalactone isomers against Afro-tropical mosquitoes, ixodid ticks and red poultry mites. Phytochemistry. 2011 Jan;72(1):109-14. Article retrieved 2013 February 18, from PubMed Database: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21056438
7 Feaster JE, Scialdone MA, Todd RG, Gonzalez YI, Foster JP, Hallahan DL. Dihydronepetalactones deter feeding activity by mosquitoes, stable flies, and deer ticks. J Med Entomol. 2009 Jul;46(4):832-40. Article retrieved 2013 February 18, from PubMed Database: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19645285
8 Webb CE, Russell RC. Is the extract from the plant catmint (Nepeta cataria) repellent to mosquitoes in Australia? J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2007 Sep;23(3):351-4. Article retrieved 2013 February 18, from PubMed Database: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17939520
9 Bernier UR, Furman KD, Kline DL, Allan SA, Barnard DR. Comparison of contact and spatial repellency of catnip oil and N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (deet) against mosquitoes. J Med Entomol. 2005 May;42(3):306-11. Article retrieved 2013 February 18, from PubMed Database: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15962779
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Dr. Keila Roesner is a Naturopathic Doctor. When not treating patients she is also an enthusiastic barefoot-strolling, music-loving, yoga-doing kitchen wiz - who also happens to be a wrestling fan.