Monday, 26 March 2012

Herb Spotlight: Catnip - Nepeta cataria

So how is Catnip, our cat's favorite herb, useful for humans?

Catnip may put cats into a frenzy but for humans it is a relaxing nervine. That means it helps put you into a calm state. It reduces tension and headaches, as well as soothing menstrual cramps. It relieves nausea or indigestion caused by nerves or tension, as well.

It can help digestion in other ways, too. Catnip is a naturally antacid herb so it helps with heart-burn, and it's bitter which means it helps your organs to produce more gastric juices for digestion. It can sooth IBS, indigestion and flatulence.

It is so gentle that can be given to young children for help with fevers, diarrhea, colic, and calming down hyperactivity. Mothers can drink a tea of this herb to help breast-feeding children sleep (probably a better idea than another folk remedy-- wine)

Catnip is a great source of minerals especially potassium. This is a great quality if you have a fever and are dehydrated as potassium is a water soluble vitamin. Water soluble vitamins can be lost in urine.

How to take it? Try it in a tea, tincture or even in your salad. For a tea:
Cut the top six inches off the plant to harvest. Dry it upside down. Then steep one to two teaspoons if the herb in a cup of hot but NOT boiling water. Boiling water will evaporate some useful volatile oils in the plant.

For tinctures and more on Catnip:

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