Herbs - Catnip


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Disclaimer: This data is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe or treat specific problems. As with any herb or medication, please consult your Doctor of Naturopath or your Medical Doctor before trying anything new.

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"Nepata cataria"

The part of catnip used are the "tops". This herb has Diaphoretic, Sedative, Carminative, and Nervine properties and useage affects mostly the nerves, as well as the intestines.

Catnip can be prepared or taken as an infusion, a tincture, a fluid extract, or as powdered capsules. Infusion is the prepared favorite in my opinion.

Catnip is a great herb to use on children when they are having spells of nervousness, stomach cramps, & gas. The infusion of catnip is also helpful for headaches when the cause is digestive problems.

People often misunderstand catnip and laugh when I talk about it. All they remember is a mental picture of a cat lying drunk amidst a bed of fresh catnip! Well, catnip is for people too, and has a wonderful calming effect. This herb was also used at my house for night time sleeplessness in my children. Please note that the roots are not used.

An infusion when used as an enema is believed to help expel worms, help with gas, and treat fevers.

Not only is catnip a great medicinal herb, it is a beautiful grey/green plant which I enjoy very much. (Oh, of course so does one my cats!)

Catnip is a perennial herb and is a member of the mint family. It can be found growing wild all over Europe, & North America. The gray-green plant has a lovely mound like shape with a square stem. The leaves are toothed and shaped kind of like a heart. Catnip can grow up to 3 feet high and the leaves are covered with a real fine hair or down.

Even though it is a member of the mint family, Catnip doesn't require the same amount of water that the other mints do. Some growers feel that Catnip has better volatile oil when it is grown in a sandy soil treated once in the spring with a side dressing of rich compost.

Catnip can be grown from seed or root division. To grow from seed, plant in the fall or spring in rows about 1 1/2 feet apart. Thin after the seedlings come up to allow the plant enough room to grow. Plant in full or partial sun.

Catnip makes a great addition to a gray garden, or as a border herb when they are compact planted. To achieve this, keep snipping the tops back to keep a nice bushy appearance.

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Catnip Tea Mixtures

Recipe #1 - Warming Blend

1/8 tspn powdered licorice root
1 teaspoon orange peel
1 teaspoon catnip leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
1 cup water

Steep for 15 minutes in just boiled water. (Do not boil herbs)


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Recipe #2 - Calming

1 teaspoon dried catnip leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers

steep 10 minutes in freshly boiled water. (Do not boil herbs) drink

before bedtime to relax.

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Catnip has a "Spicy" and "Aromatic" Taste.

When I refer to a "Taste", I mean that taste is part of the energetic part of the plant. This goes one step further than just knowing what a plant is good for. Herbs have personal energetics which if understood, can help each individual person figure out just what will work best for them.

An example of this might be a person with a "heat" metabolism. If this individual runs "hot" he/she generally has a fast metabolism, eats lots of red meat, and might live in a warm climate. If he/she were to take "heat" herbs, this could cause an imbalance in his/her system. This person would probably then determine that some "cooling" herbs would help to balance their system.

Below are the definitions of "Spicy" and "Aromatic" Taste herbs.

SPICY: These herbs promote heat internally and helps remove stagnancy in your system. In reasonable amounts they act as a tonic to digestion, help to stimulate metabolism and circulation. Spicy herbs are sometimes indicated during colds, flu, poor digestion & circulation, & sluggishness.

AROMATIC: This is not actually a "taste" so to speak, but is considered an herbal taste because it involves a sense of smell because it comes from plant constituents rich in volatile oils. Aromatic plants help bring blood to the mucous membranes, help to dispel gas by warming and toning the digestive & upper respiratory tracts. The biggest example of this is Peppermint.

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Temperatures Of Herbs

The temperatures of an herb mainly refers to one effect it will have on a persons living body. We all know that "Hot" illnesses such as fever and inflammation have a need to be cooled, and that cold illnesses need warming. Herbs used should be determined by their temperature characteristics in most cases.

The temperature of "COLD" is contractive, which therefore slows down the energy that flows through the tissues and organs. The temperature "HOT" helps spread the blood to the tissues and organs to increase the flow of energy.

Some herbs are "NEUTRAL", meaning they actually have no effect one way or the other.

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Marcia Wilson
Journeywoman Herbalist
The Allways Natural Herb Farm

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