Herb Notes: The Benefits of Catnip
When most people think of catnip (Nepeta cataria), they think of it as that plant that makes our feline friends get very hyper. But here’s the thing,: catnip isn’t just for cats! Catnip tea and tincture too offers many healing gifts to us humans as well — perhaps the most surprising of all is that catnip calms and relaxes humans.
Yes, that’s right. The leaves and flowering tops of this plant that hypes up cats has a calming effect on our human nervous systems.
Here are 3 surprising catnip benefits for humans:
1. Catnip Benefits: Catnip for Deep Sleep and Relaxation
Catnip is a calming sedative that’s particularly indicated for anxiety paired with restlessness and irritability. Whether you’re feeling jittery from too much coffee or stress, catnip can help calm this excitable, restless state and release tension in the body. You can ingest either catnip tea or tincture to support the nervous system. Just keep in mind that the herb has a bitter/pungent taste that many folks prefer to only briefly taste in tincture rather than savor in tea form.
2. Catnip Benefits: Catnip for Soothing an Upset Stomach
With its ability to relieve spasming and cramping, antispasmodic properties, catnip can ease stomach ache and flatulence. As a mild astringent, catnip can also address mild diarrhea and nausea related to nervous tension. When working with catnip, you can use catnip leaves and the flowering tops for their healing properties.
3. Catnip Benefits: Catnip for Pain and Menstrual Cramps
Just as catnip can ease digestive upset, catnip can also ease muscle tension and cramping. It’s particularly adept at easing smooth muscle cramping in the intestines and uterus. Pairing catnip tincture with ginger makes for fantastic digestive and muscle cramping herbal formula.
Want to learn more about the medicinal benefits of catnip?
Now that we’ve just scratched the surface of the many benefits of catnip, you might be wondering how you can learn more about the medicinal properties of this powerful plant.
Well, here’s the easy way to get additional catnip information: download a FREE deck of our top 12 Herb Notes here. You’ll learn all about catnip, plus 11 other common herbs like cinnamon, aloe, and more.
Free Herb Notes Flashcards
PS… And before I go, I couldn’t help but answer a few frequently asked questions we get about catnip—
How Do I Grow Catnip?
Catnip is a fairly easy medicinal herb to grow that thrives in small containers and larger beds alike. Plus, catnip tends to require less water than other mint family plants. Catnip is hardy to zones 3–9 and prefers lots of sunshine.
One of the biggest threats to your thriving catnip plant is neighborhood cats, who have been known to trample catnip plants with delight. I’ve heard from some folks that growing a catnip plant from seed in your garden rather than transplanting in a store bought start may make cats less likely to overtake your catnip plant.
What Does Catnip Do For Adults?
For adult humans, this calming herb can do all of the things I’ve mentioned above: promote deep sleep, soothe an upset stomach, and ease menstrual cramps. As a plant that soothes digestion and calms the nerves, catnip especially has an affinity for supporting the function of the enteric nervous system.
What is Catnip?
Catnip is a medicinal herb in the mint family that has a simultaneously pungent and bitter taste. Though a pungent taste usually means that a plant has warming qualities, catnip is also bitter and has an overall cooling effect on the body. Catnip is most well-known for its affects on cats, but it is also a healing herb that herbalists work with for many human ailments.
When our Border Collie puppy got neutered, the vet told us to “keep him quiet and calm.” Right… Now, any of you who know anything about Border Collies knows this is nigh-on impossible! I did share some catnip with the dog – off and on for about a week. It helped us all keep our sanity! Tea for us humans, herb sprinkled in his food for the dog. It seems that for MOST dogs, catnip has a calming, sedative effect (but, there’s always the exception!).
Its good to know there are some that really care about the health of people
Yes! Thank you for reading and learning more about catnip. :)
does catmint have the same properties as catnip in terms of therapeutic benefits? I have a few plants and am wondering if I can use the leaves for tea. Elehna
Hi Elehna, there are many plant species (especially in the Nepeta genus) that are referred to as catmint. Within this genus, I’m only familiar with catnip (Nepeta cataria), so I don’t have any info on other herbs that could be referred to as catmint. Thank you for your question and I’m sorry to not have more info!
Glad to know you here. My cat has shown me how he loves catnip. Now I enjoy growing and savoring it as a calming tea. Thank you!
Thank you for sharing, Constance! I love that both you and your cat enjoy catnip :)