Catnip is effective in resolving stomach problems and also possesses sedative properties. In addition, it is a potent herb that induces sweating and, thereby, helps to bring down fevers. Catnip has a pleasing flavour and mild action that makes this herb an appropriate remedy for colds, flu as well as fevers in small children, particularly when it is used in combination with elderflower plus honey. Catnip possesses distinct anti-flatulent and anti-colic properties and is effective in treating indigestion. In addition, this herb is also useful for alleviating headaches associated with digestive disorders. A tincture prepared with this herb is an excellent rub for treating arthritic and rheumatic joints. When used in the form of salve catnip is effective for treating hemorrhoids.
Till the 13th century, catnip was a very common herb in kitchen gardens in England and there was a time when the leaves of this herb were employed to rub meats prior to cooking them. In addition, catnip leaves were also sliced finely and showered on green salads. Try cutting a few catnip leaves and adding them to your salads and experience their delightful flavour. You may also add freshly chopped or even dried out leaves of this herb to stews, soups as well as nourishing sauces. The fresh as well as dried leaves of catnip may also be used to prepare a stimulating and calming herbal tea. Prepare this herbal tea by adding three teaspoon (15 ml) of the leaves to one cup (250 ml) of boiling water and allowing them to infuse for some time. Otherwise, you may combined dried out leaves of this herb with dried lemon balm or dried mint and add them to your preferred black tea.
Catnip is also used for craft purposes, for instance, you may sew up cat toys and fill those with the smooth dried leaves of this herb to entertain your loved felines.
Although catnip is indigenous to Europe, over the years this herb has been naturalized in several parts of North America. Catnip plants form thick bushes when grown in reasonably fertile soil that has a proper drainage. However, this herb also has the aptitude to thrive in arid, sandy soils. Prior to planting catnip, add a thin layer of compost over the soil. The suggested pH range for catnip is between 4.9 and 7.5. Catnip grows well in semi-shaded locations, but this herb also has the aptitude to thrive in complete sunlight. Catnip can be propagated from its seeds very easily. Ideally, you need to sow the seeds indoors roughly six to eight weeks prior to the last expected date of the spring frost. The seeds should not be sown deeper than 6 mm (1/4 inch) into the soil. Generally, it takes anything between 8 and 10 days for the seeds to germinate. While transplanting the seedlings ensure that you maintain a space of about 30 cm (12 inches) between them. Alternatively, you may also propagate catnip by means of root division best undertaken during the spring or in fall. The cuttings should be made from the cuttings of stem tips or softwood, as the young plant cuttings develop roots comparatively fast - usually only within a week of the cutting. If you are using stem cuttings, ensure that they are roughly 4 inches (10 cm) in length. Prior to transplanting the growths from the root/ stem tip cuttings to your garden, you need to grow them in a damp soil till they have grown to a height of 6 inches (15 cm). Catnip plants possess the aptitude to sow effortlessly all by themselves and, hence, you need to be prepared to get rid of the unnecessary plants. Discard the unwanted plants according to your requirements. If you want the catnip plants to be bushier, you should smidgen the flower buds as soon as they emerge. Although these plants are free from pest invasions, they are vulnerable to root rot and rust. In fact, felines remain the major problem that needs to be tackled by gardeners growing catnip. Therefore, you should enclose the young plants in a wire cage meant for chicken, as it will shield them from cats and allow them to grow without any trouble. It is worth mentioning here that the felines are only attracted to catnip plants when there are broken branches or bruised leaves, which release certain chemicals that draw the cats. Therefore, unless the plants are damaged, cats will not bother them. Provided you are growing catnip indoors, you should ensure that they are potted in damp soil, which is never waterlogged. In addition, you need to provide lime supplements to the soil. A minimum of five hours direct sunlight is necessary for the catnip plants when they are grown indoors. Whenever necessary, cut the plants back, because they have a propensity to become unkempt.
Catnip contains volatile oils including citronellol, geraniol and citral; bitter principle, tannins.
You can prepare a potent catnip tea by brining one cup (250 ml) of water to boil and adding one to two teaspoons of this dried or fresh herb to it. Next, cover the vessel and allow the herb to infuse for about 10 to 15 minutes. For best results, you should drink two to three cups of the tea daily. To treat coughs in children give them 5 ml of catnip tincture thrice daily.
As catnip possesses the aptitude to bring about contractions of the uterine as well as encourage menstruation, it is advisable that pregnant women or those enduring disorders related to their menstrual cycle should avoid this herb. Drinking a cup of tea prepared with catnip works as an excellent nightcap and ensures sound sleep at night, but the diuretic attributes of this herb also mean that it may also disturb your sleep, as you will often feel the urgency to visit the toilet. It is believed that it is possible to smoke dry catnip leaves just as marijuana. However, there is no evidence that shows that catnip also causes intoxication like marijuana. Nonetheless, your doubts may turn out to be real if you find that young associates are found to take an unusual interest in the catnip plants in your garden.
For most excellent results, you should eat raw catnip by adding it to your spring salad or drink a decoction prepared with fresh leaves of the herb. Instead of boiling the herb in water, it is better if you infuse its leaves in hot water for an extended period - ideally you should add three leaves in one cup (250 ml) of hot water. Drink this herbal tea hot to treat diarrhea or colic and consume it cold provided you are using it to treat fevers as well as digestive migraine. Catnip can also be used in the form of an enema to treat intestinal pain. In fact, even children may be administered a catnip enema. To prepare the enema, add two catnip leaves or one flowery top of the herb to 250 ml (one cup) of water, allow it to permeate and subsequently filter the liquid for use. Catnip is a wonderful herbal remedy for extreme nervousness, such as hyperactivity, bronchospasms as well as insomnia. For effective results, use it in the form of an herbal tea or take the mother tincture prepared from the herb after every meal. It is advisable that you add three catnip leaves to 250 ml (one cup) of water and allow it to infuse. Strain the liquid and take it in measures of 10 drops every time. This catnip formula helps digestion, in addition to avoiding flatulence.
While the leaves of catnip can be picked all through the summer, they have a comparatively gentle flavour if you collect the leaves prior to the flowering season of the plants. Ideally, the leaves should be picked early morning soon after the dew has disappeared. If you wish to dry and store the catnip plants for future use, you need to harvest the entire stems along with the young leaves and flowering heads. You should cut the stem leaving about two inches (5 cm) from the ground and dangle them upturned in a shaded place. When the plants have dried out, remove the dry leaves and crush them before storing them in sealed containers. Ensure that you place the containers in a place away from light.
You may strew catmint leaves at all places which are disturbed by rodents or where ever they may exist in your house - in fact, this herb has been traditionally used in the form of a rat repellent. Placing bunches of catnip plants in the duck and hen houses is also said to discourage rats to visit those places.