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Scientifically known as Nepeta, Catnip or catmint is a flowering plant that has about 250 different species in its family. It is identified by its heart shaped leaves and purple or white flowers. This aromatic flower contains nepetalactone which clings to the olfactory receptors of felines. As a result they experience a temporary euphoria.
Catnip has become a popular herbal medicine. It is known to have a soothing or temporary sedative effect when taken in. Many people who suffer from anxiety or have trouble sleeping take in catnip. Aside from this it is also given to children with colds, flu or cough. It is also known to help lower fever, ease headaches and ease menstrual cramps. Many parents like using this herbal tea because of its mild nature, although it is always best to consult a physician before using this. Many stores carry both dried and fresh catnip. It may also be grown in the garden or backyard without any problems. Some stores also sell catnip tea in packets which are ready for steeping.
How to Use It
There are different ways to make use of catnip depending on what is being treated. Generally, medicinal teas are stronger in nature and take longer to brew. This is because the hot water takes longer to absorb the vitamins and minerals in the plant. It is important to keep the brew covered when boiling it. This will prevent the components from evaporating.
For a basic catnip brew boil 8
oz of water and pour it over one teaspoon of dried catnip. Cover this and let it sit for ten minutes. The catnip leaves may be strained before drinking. For those who prefer a sweeter drink, honey may be mixed in. However, if this is being given to babies, honey should not be put in.
Catnip tea may also be made with other ingredients to help with more specific conditions. To lower fever boil 16 oz of water and pour it over two teaspoons of dried catnip and one teaspoon of vervain. Let the mixture sit for ten minutes and strain before drinking. This mixture will help reduce the fever by causing the body to sweat. This should be taken in regularly until body temperature is lowered.
Other than this catnip can also be used as a natural antacid. It helps reduce stomach-aches and can aid with digestion. Other than this it can also help reduce gas in the stomach and work against diarrhea. To use catnip tea for stomach pains or indigestion, drink a cup or the basic catnip tea before and after meals.
Of course, this is also popularly used for treating flu and colds. To make a tea, boil 16 oz of water and pour it over 1 tsp of dried catnip with a half teaspoon of dried yarrow and angelica. This should be allowed to steep for ten minutes before being strained and taken in. For a more flavorful tea, honey and lemon may also be added to the tea.
Possible Side Effects
Although drinking catnip tea does not have any adverse side effects, it may work as a diuretic. Catnip increases the need for urination. Those taking this in should expect frequent trips to the comfort room to relieve themselves. Also, catnip may induce uterine contractions, so it should not be used during pregnancy since it may induce labor.
Also, those taking in catnip should remember to take it only in the recommended amount. Taking in too much catnip may cause decreased mental alertness, headaches, drowsiness and nausea. Taking in this in directly may also cause drowsiness. It is best taken in as a tea in controlled amounts. It should also not be taken in with prescription drugs or other medications since it can increase the potency of the sedative effect. Those who need to drive or operate machinery may also need to avoid taking this in. Children being given catnip tea are usually given weaker doses and in fewer amounts.