Health Benefits of Catnip Tea
Most cats will go crazy over catnip or catmint and probably that was how nepeta cataria and nepeta mussinii got its name. Catnip plants are perennial flowering herbs that can grow up to 3 feet. The stems are erect and the leaves are heart shaped. The flowers are white or pale lavender in color and will only bloom at a certain time of the year.
Catnip herb has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It was then used for treating various ailments such as hives, toothache, intestinal gas or flatulence, stomach cramps, the common cold and as remedy for preventing nightmares.
The parts of the catnip plant that produce the healing effects are the flowering tops and leaves. Catnip contains an essential oil called nepetalactone. This is the compound that causes cats to sniff, lick, shake or roll their heads and rub their bodies.
It doesn't produce the same effect on humans but drinking catnip tea can make a person feel sleepy because nepetalactone produces a sedative effect. Nepetalactone also produces an antispasmodic effect and is beneficial as a remedy for stomach, intestine and bladder cramps and spasms. Another benefit of drinking catnip tea is it helps reduce fever because it is a natural febrifuge agent.
Catnip contains thymol which has strong antiseptic properties antibacterial activity. Some studies found that thymol was able to fight strains of staphylococcus aureus and aeromoans hydrophila bacteria.
Catnip essential oil has antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, stomachic, stimulant, astringent and sedative properties. Constituents found in catnip essential oil are citronellal, geraniol, citral, carvacrol, and pulegone. Carvacrol which is also present in oil of oregano and thyme oil has antimicrobial activities. Catnip herb also contains nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc.
Catnip leaf and flower are available as whole and dried herb for making tea, compress or poultice. Catnip extract is also sold in capsules, liquid catnip and essential oil.
To make tea using the dried catnip, place 1 teaspoon in a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain the leaves and add stevia or any sweetener or your choice. If you prefer to use tea bags, place 1 tea bag in a cup of hot water and steep for 3 minutes.
Instead of buying catnip, you may want to consider planting them. Catnip seeds are easily available and you can grow them indoor.