Botanical name: Nepata cataria
Other names: cataire, catmint, catnep, catswort, chataire, field balm, herbe à chat, herbe aux chats, hierba gatera, menta de gato, menthe des chats, Nepeta cataria
Uses: Sedative, nervine, diaphoretic, carminative, antispasmodic, astringent, etc.
Catnip is a hugely beneficial herb with a long list of wildly diverse uses. It is commonly smoked or brewed as a tea for mild euphoria, to reduce the consumption and unwanted side effects of alcohol, tobacco, and/or cannabis. It is well known for its relaxing effects, gently helping to relieve tension. Because of its mild nature, it is excellent for children with hyperactivity, nervousness, and diarrhoea. It is even known in some locales as “Nature’s Alka Seltzer” for its soothing effects on the stomach and digestion, easing dyspepsia, flatulence, and colic.
Catnip’s ability to promote sweating (diaphoretic) makes it useful at the onset of colds and flu to promote sleep, relieve fever, and allow free perspiration without raising body temperature. Catnip earned its name due to its psychoactive properties in some cats, which can be quite pronounced and entertaining.
The list of reported medicinal benefits of catnip is extremely lengthy and varied. Highlights include:
Colds, fever, and flu
Drug addiction or withdrawal
Harm reduction from cannabis, tobacco, or alcohol
Hiccups and indigestion
Catnip may rarely cause headaches, vomiting, and malaise.
Parents should consult a health professional before administering catnip to children.
Insufficient data exists to classify catnip as safe for women who are breast feeding.
Women who are pregnant should avoid the herb, as there is evidence that it can stimulate the uterus, potentially causing a miscarriage. Similarly, women with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) should avoid using catnip because it can provoke the onset of menstruation. Women with heavy menstrual periods or menorrhagia should be aware that catnip might worsen the condition…
Pre-surgical patients should stop using catnip in any form at least two weeks before a scheduled operation. Catnip has an apparent ability to suppress the central nervous system (CNS), causing sleepiness and other neurodepressive effects. There is a concern that catnip metabolites in the bloodstream combined with anaesthesia and some other drugs used during and after surgery could depress the CNS excessively.