Catmint (Nepeta cataria)
Catmint is also known as catnip. Grown as a cat treat for many pet owners, few realize the calming benefits this herb can share with people. If you grow this plant in your garden, you may need to put a wire fence around it to protect it from neighborhood cats. They will roll on it until the plant is dead. Cat mint grows fairly tall and it flowers with small beautiful flowers on top of tall spikes that are a blue-lavender color.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Catmint has antibiotic properties and is traditionally used to treat cold and flu. It helps relieve fever and bronchitis. It helps calm stomach upset and can help dispel flatulence and colic. It works well for children with diarrhea. It is a mild sedative and is a good herbal remedy for insomnia, stress and anxiety. It can stimulate the appetite and ease inflammation. Cat mint is also sometimes used for headache and tooth aches. Rheumatism and arthritis can also be affected positively by this herb. It also soothes the muscles of the uterus and helps relieve menstrual cramps. It can also bring on a period.
Externally Catmint can reduce eye swelling and it can control dandruff and other scalp problems. This herb can be made into an ointment for hemorrhoids or a rub for arthritis and rheumatism. It is also a very effective repellent for rodents and insects.
Other Uses Catmint is intoxicating for cats, who love to roll in it, often to the detriment of the poor plant!
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
Leaves, flower tops The leaves and flowering tops are used medicinally in herbal remedies. The parts are harvested in late summer when the plant is in full bloom.
Catmint may produce convulsions and excessive stupor in domestic cats if they are exposed to excessive amounts. Pregnant women should avoid taking this herb internally because it affects the uterus.
Preparation and Dosage
An infusion may be taken three times per day. Just pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried catmint and let it infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink. Tincture can be taken three times a day in a dose of 2 to 4 ml.
This herb should always be infused. Boiling water will dissipate all the helpful volatile oils. The tea can be taken liberally, but if large doses are taken warm, it might cause vomiting.
Some people prefer an injection of the catmint tea for headache and hysteria. The tops can also be made into a conserve to relieve bad dreams.