CATNIP

CATNIP is a member of the mint family. Most people know that cats - about half of them - enjoy and intoxicating effect from exposure to this herb. (My cat, Fraidy Cat, is totally disinterested in it.) But many people don't know that catnip offers several benefits to humans as well.

Like other members of the mint family, catnip is almost notoriously easy to grow. In fact, you may find it hard to eradicate if you don't keep it in check. Catnip is often planted around the house to deter mosquitoes.

This perennnial herb grows in full sun to partial shade, in zones 3-9.

MEDICINAL

  • Make a tea or infusion to promote sweating, which is beneficial for colds, flu, fever and infectious childhood diseases
  • Tea is also soothing to use to aid in sleep
  • Aids in relieving menstrual cramps, though it has historically been used to bring on menstruation so it should not be used by pregnant women.
  • Helps relieve diarrhea, flatulence, upset stomach

OTHER USES

  • Research has shown catnip to be many, many times more effective for mosquito control than products containing DEET. Crush the leaves (fresh or dried), boil in water, strain then put in a spray bottle. Spray on clothes as it could cause skin irritation.
  • It was dried and smoked in the 1960's for it supposed hallucinagenic effects. I've never tried it so can neither confirm nor deny its psychedelic effects:)

DRYING CATNIP

Tie stems together and hang upside down in a warm, dry & shady area. When completely dry you can crumble the leaves into a jar with an air-tight lid and store out of direct sunlight.