Catmint (Catnip), the herb so attractive to domestic cats, has few culinary uses. With its gently curved spikes of heart-shaped, gray-green leaves and clusters of white or pale blue flowers, it is, however, an attractive addition to a border.
The plant, an herbaceous perennial, is native to Asia and Europe, and was widely used in self-help supplements. In his Herball, Gerard recommends it for colds, coughs, chest complaints, and nervousness.
The plant grows to a height of up to 3 feet. with a spread of 15 inches. It has a straggly habit, and is liable to be squashed flat by cats rolling on it. Indeed, to preserve plants from this fate, it may be necessary to protect them with wire netting.
Catmint can be grown from seed planted in spring or summer in good fertile soil in partial shade, or by root division or cuttings taken in spring.
How to Use
The fresh leaves, which have a very strong aroma, can be used sparingly in salads.
The pungent smell of catmint inhibits its use in cosmetic preparations, however a handful of the leaves in a bath will support an itchy skin while an infusion, used as a hair rinse, soothes scalp and promotes growth. Two tablespoons each of dried rosemary and catmint simmered for 10 minutes in 2 cups of water, steeped for two hours and then strained and added to ½ cup of cider vinegar makes a good conditioning final rinse for dark hair.
Health-wise,catmint tea can act as an effective tonic for the stomach in cases of infantile colic and diarrhoea. External applications are helpful for minor cuts, abrasions, and bruising.
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."