Sometimes called catmint, catnep, catrup, catswort, field balm, and nip, this herb, as we all know, is irresistible to cats. They will search it out, roll over and over in it, and ecstatically spread it everywhere. A member of the mint family, catnip, when brewed in tea, is thought to help support upset stomachs, coughs, colic, spasms, flatulence, and acidity. It can also be tried to help support hysteria, nervousness, and headaches, and as an enema. Originally native to Europe, catnip is now found wild in many parts of the United States.
A small percentage of people react to catnip as a stimulant rather than a relaxant. There has been talk in some quarters that catnip tea should be drunk sparingly. At least one plant expert believes that catnip contains a hallucinogenic substance that affects humans and cats. The Food and Drug Administration, however, does not include catnip on its "hit list."
Plant Facts and Growing Tips
Plant: Perennial, hardy to -30°F (-34°C). Its erect, square, branching stem is hairy, with pointed scalloped leaves that have gray or whitish hairs on the lower side. Flowers are white with purple spots and grow in spikes from June to September. The plant's odor is mintlike, bitter, and pungent.
Height: 2 to 3 feet.
Soil: Moist, rich.
Exposure: Sun or partial shade.
Propagation: Sow seeds 14 inch deep in spring or fall, during the third lunar phase. Plants will self-sow. They can also be reproduced by root cuttings, stem cuttings, and layering.
Care: Thin plants to 12 inches apart. They tend to become scraggly, so cut them back after they flower to keep a neat appearance and to help avoid them from spreading. If there are cats around, you'll want to protect young seedlings until they are large enough to resist damage by enthusiastic felines, who will roll in them and eat them. It's said that cats won't trouble a seeded bed, but will go for transplanted seedlings. Most growers, however, maintain that their cats don't seem to sense the distinction and get to the catnip no matter how it has been planted. Cultivated near eggplant, tomatoes, turnips, and/or radishes, catnip is said to discourage the flea beetles that attack these plants.
Part Used for Tea: Leaves.
Taste: Aromatic, minty.
How to Brew
By Infusion: Use 1 teaspoon dried herb (or 3 teaspoons fresh herb) with 1 cup boiling water. Make sure the mixture is steeped only and not allowed to boil.
User Group Forum
Share your questions and information with the ZooScape community!
Be the first to post!
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover and let steep for 2-4 minutes. Pour into your cup; add milk and sugar to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea itself. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the serving pitcher straining the tea bags. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
End of More Photographs - Catnip (Certified Organic) Tea
* 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."