Catnip is a perennial herb that grows from 36″ to 48″ tall. It’s a medicinal herb and is often used as a tea. As a tea it induces a good night’s sleep, helps treat stomach problems, and is used as a remedy for colds and fevers. Catnip is also loved by cats. The plant is not harmful to cats and they will not “overdose” on it. When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip plants, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr. It’s important to note that not all cats are effected by catnip.
Catnip contains an active ingredient called nepetalactone, it is a very strong repellent to cockroaches and mosquitoes. Mice and rats are also reported to have a strong dislike for it.
How to Grow Catnip
Catnip is a perennial herb and is hardy in zones 3 to 9. Catnip seeds are easy to germinate. The plant prefers full sun but it will tolerate partial shade. Plant it in moist, well-draining soil with a pH of 6.1 to 7.8.
Surface the sow the catnip seeds and press into moistened soil if grown indoors. If grown outdoors lightly cover the seed with soil or peat moss. Keep the seeds and or seedlings moist but never soggy until the plants have at least two sets of leaves. At this point it’s okay if they dry out a little, but not too much. For the best germination results, and to avoid fungus and diseases, start them indoors in sterilized soil, black earth/peat moss mixture. You can transplant them outside after the risk of frost has passed.
Catnip tea is very nutritious and has many medicinal properties. It contains vitamins A, B, and C, and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and sodium. Catnip tea is a mild herbal sedative that can be taken at any time of the day, but it is best taken at night before bedtime. The tea is made from the leaves and flowers of the catnip plant.
How to Make Catnip Tea
The tea can be made from fresh or dried leaves. For dried leaves place one to two teaspoons of dried catnip leaves and flowers into the teacup. For fresh leaves use four to six teaspoons. Boil the water and let it cool for about 5 to 10 seconds before you add it to the tea. Then steep the tea anywhere from 4 to 20 minutes. The longer you let it steep the more medicinal the tea will be.
Catnip Health Benefits
- Antibacterial – helps fight off colds and flu.
- Is a mild sedative – calms nerves and anxiety, relieves stress.
- Can be used to treat stomach problems problems, indigestion and acid reflux.
- Stimulates appetite.
Usually catnip is thought of as something only for cats, but as you can see there are many benefits that it provides to humans. It’s a great herb to grow in your garden and any cats in your neighbourhood will love you for it!