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Learn about Catnip

Botanical name: Nepeta cataria
Other names: Catmint

Leaves of this mint-family herb were used in a tea by the early Europeans for cramps, aches, fevers and fits. They also chewed on the leaf for headache relief. The Chinese used it for chest complaints and believed that it attracted good spirits and happiness. Catnip was once smoked to treat asthma and bronchitis.

Catnip tea is an excellent choice for colds and flus, especially in children.  It is a diaphoretic (increases sweating), helping to flush out a fever. It also calms the nervous system, aiding a good nights’ sleep and reducing anxiety, tension and hyperactivity.  It is also used for digestive disturbances such as colic, flatulence, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps. Other uses for catnip include period pain, tension headaches, drug and nicotine withdrawal.

Catnip is smoked for mild uplifting effects, but some humans are more affected than others with excitement and giggling. Gently relaxing, catnip is also a potentiator – increasing the effects of other herbs that it is used with.

Preparation: 1-2 tsp of dried catnip flowers, steep in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Can be drunk freely. 

Reference:  David Hoffman (1995),The New Holistic Herbal, p.189;Michael Tierra (1998),The Way of Herbs, p.114

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