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CATNIP-- Nepeta cataria

Other Names:
Catmint, Catnep, Chi Hsueh Tsao (Chinese), Field Balm  

Click on thumbnail to see pictures for identification.


Botanical Name.
Nepeta cataria

Other Names  
Catmint, Catnep, Chi Hsueh Tsao (Chinese), Field Balm

Parts Used  Leaves. Flowering Tops

Perennial Herb from the Mint (Labiatae) family.

Lactones:   Nepetelactone[induces sleep]

Lipids         Acetic Acid, Butyric Acid 

Minerals: Sulfur, Manganese, Sodium,                  Phosphorus, Magnesium  

Vitamins:    Biotin           Vitamin B6    

                   Vitamin B1             Vitamin A      

                   Vitamin B2             PABA   

                   Inositol                  Vitamin B5    

                   Vitamin B12           Choline         

                   Vitamin B3                      

Volatile Oils: 
Carvacrol, Citronellal,  Geraniol.  Citral.  Limonene    

Other:   Dipenten, Lifronella, NepetalicAcid,                 [nepetol], Pulegone, Tannic  Acids  [tannins]  Thymol  Valeric Acid

Dosage Recommendations
Most herbalists recommend 3 - 12 grams of Catnip per day for therapeutic purposes.  

Internal Applications.
Tea, Tincture, Capsules  

Medicinal Actions
Anodyne, Antibacterial, Antidiarrheal, Antispasmodic, Aromatic, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Emmenagogue, Mucolytic, Nervine, Refrigerant, Sedative, Stomach Tonic, Tonic.

Used in the following internal illnesses

Amenorrhea, alleviates Anxiety, Bronchitis, Chickenpox, Colds, Colic [it “works” by facilitating the expulsion of intestinal gas and by relaxing smooth muscles.  The usual dosage is 1 fluid ounce of a catnip infusion with each feeding.], Diarrhea, Dysmenorrhea, Dyspepsia, Fever, Flatulence, Headache, Hives, Hyperactivity, Hysteria, Indigestion, Insomnia, Measles, Motion Sickness, Catnip alleviates Stress, prevents Convulsions Restlessness, Stomachache, stimulates appetite Teething, Toothache

It is a mild antibacterial.  Chew the fresh leaves for a headache or toothache. 

 It helps stomach aches by calming the nerves. 

 Use it for stress, nervousness.  

This is an excellent herb for children and will help calm them during the trials of teething, colic and restlessness. 

When given for colds and fevers, it helps the person get the rest that they need.

External Medicinal Use

Allergies, Arthritis, Bloodshot Eyes, Bruises, Colic, Eye Inflammation, Hemorrhoids, Hiccups, Insect Bites, Insect Repellent, Pain, Rheumatism, Sprains, Stress, Teething, Toothache


Bath herb for stress, colic and teething.

Compress or poultice for pain, sprains, bruises and insect bites.

Toothache poultice. 

Hair rinse for scalp irritations.

Liniment for arthritis and rheumatism.

Eyewash for inflammation, allergies and bloodshot eyes.

Enema to cleanse the colon. 

Salve for hemorrhoids.

Leaves have been smoked as a euphoric and to stop hiccoughs.

Catnip toys for cats - simply tie some of the dried herb into an old sock.

The scent repels rats and many insects.

Pungent, Bitter, Cool, Dry.

Contra indications and side effect  
No toxicity although smoking the herb is mildly hallucinogenic.

Catmint is a herb of Venus and thus would influence both Libra and Taurus.

Catmint has it major action on the digestive system and also has a relaxing effect through its 3rd and 4th chakra activity.

Doctrine of signatures
Catmint likes wet areas and has a strong aroma which inclines it to stomachic properties.The relaxing qualities may be perceived by the odour but it is more likely that the ancients observed the effect on animals first and then used it for its calming qualities.

The odour seems to affect cats as an aphrodisiac and a euphoric since it's smell is similar to the pheromones that cats secrete.  The genus name, Nepeta, is from Nepeti, a Roman town where this herb was cultivated.  This is a good herb for people who don't like sharing, have a hard time revealing their feelings, and never complain. A belief is that it would make kind people mean, and so the dried roots were fed to hangmen. Grown from seed  and cuttings, but if transplanted the neighborhood cats will devour it; hence the saying, 'If you set it, cats will eat it. If you sow it,  the cats don't know it."