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Herbology 101 - Herbal Remedies and Herb Information

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Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Photo: Catnip (Nepeta cataria) A hairy aromatic perennial herb having whorls of small white purple-spotted flowers in a terminal spike; used in the past as a domestic remedy; strongly attractive to cats.

Also called: Catmint
Use: leaves, stems and florets.

This plant is easy to grow, like other members of the mint family, and so it makes an excellent container plant. The only requirement is that it likes full sun.

Taken as a tisane (herbal tea), catnip is a standard remedy for respiratory ailments. In addition to its use as a tea, the plant has been consumed as a juice, tincture, infusion. or poultice, and has also been smoked. It has also been known to have a slightly numbing effect.

The active ingredients in catnip are volatile oils and should be used quickly, or the they will evaporate. Chief among the active ingredients is nepetalactone, which is effective as a mosquito and fly repellent (see biopesticides).

Oil isolated from catnip by steam distillation is a repellent against insects, in particular mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites. Research suggests that, in vitro, distilled nepetalactone repels mosquitoes ten times more effectively than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents, but that it is not as effective a repellent when used on the skin.

Nepetalactone also acts as a feline attractant, similar to a cat's sexual scent, and freshly bruised leaves drives them crazy. Other plants that also have this effect on cats include valerian and plants that contain actinidine.

Used for:

  • Congestion
  • Burns, cuts & skin irritations
  • Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema
  • Colic
  • Digestion
  • Antidiarrheal
  • Astringent

Related studies, articles, and news items

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Disclaimer: This content is provided here for informational purposes only. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or treat. Check with a qualified Health Practitioner before using any herbal treatment. Use of these reference pages signifies acceptance of this notice and our Terms and Condition.

Information on this website is for information purposes only.
Please consult a qualified health practitioner before taking any course of action.
Always check for counter-results before deciding on a course of action.

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