What is Catnip?

When planning your garden or container herbs surely you are considering what your favorite plants are, but have you thought about adding catnip for your kitty? What is catnip anyway? Catnip, (Nepeta cataria) also known as “catmint” is named after precisely those that it affects- cats! Although known mainly as a cat “exciter,” catnip is an edible plant that is actually a mint and has a texture similar to sage. It has long been used for its beneficial medicinal properties.

Not sold fresh commercially, catnip is best grown in your garden or a pot and the leaves can also be additional flavor component to a hearty salad. However a more common form of catnip is seeing it dried. Harvest the flowering top part of the plant and dry catnip outdoors by the sun or hanging up in your kitchen. If you have kitties, you’ll need to keep this herb in a safe, out of reach place because if they smell the oil which the herb will give off if bruised or broken, they’ll go to great lengths to get at it.

What is CATNIP and How Does it Work?

Once the catnip is dried, use it as any tea leaf and make a tea out of it. Boil water and then add the catnip leaves, let set for several minutes while the catnip oil releases into the water. The benefits of catnip have long been known and it is used for its mild, yet effective antispasmodic qualities and helpful for problems affecting the gastrointestinal track such as cramps, and diarrhea. Additionally, it is also a go-to plant for people with colds or a cough. It is also beneficial to children with colic.

Catnip Flower Effects and Benefits

Dried catnip for cats is sold in pet stores in plastic packages. Again, the plant oil is what attracts the cats and catnip oil is volatile, meaning it is short-lived. If you get an old batch of catnip, you’ll want to rub the leaves between your fingers to further break up the plant and release the oils for your cats to enjoy. When storing or purchasing catnip, consider putting it in the freezer or the refrigerator to keep the oils intact. With most cats, the effect will be immediate. Watch them start rolling on the floor!

Catnip is an easy to grow plant throughout most of the world and can be enjoyed to both humans and felines. Its multifaceted use makes it a thoughtful plant to consider for your garden. So get some catnip seeds and start planting!

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