Nepeta cataria, most commonly known as “catnip” is a plant that causes psychoactive reactions in cats. Owners love giving their cats catnip order to stimulate play. After sniffing or consuming catnip, cats will get high and display silly behavior such as rolling around, vocalizing, rubbing their heads, and becoming more excitable. Catnip turns most adults into playful little kittens again. It is a great way of keeping your cats happy and giving them exercise.
However, catnip is not just for cats! Humans can also greatly benefit from the natural healing powers of catnip. Of course it does not affect us the same way as cats, but still can be highly beneficial.
How to consume
As with any other herb or medication, please talk to your doctor before use.
Unlike cats, I’m sure you would rather not consume catnip by sprinkling it all over your toys or eating pure plant matter. Don’t worry, there are alternative, much more appealing ways to do so!
- Catnip tea — if you are a tea lover, then try steeping a teaspoon or so of dried catnip herb in boiling water. You can use a tea ball or a mesh strainer to remove the plant matter, or you can keep it in your tea. Feel free to add sweeteners such as honey or sugar.
- Infusion — this is similar to tea, but prepared in bulk amounts and requires a longer wait-time. However it will be more potent.
- Tincture — you can easily buy or make your own tincture. This is an alcohol-based or glycerine-based liquid stored in a glass dropper bottle. Place about 20-30 drops under your tongue and hold for 30 seconds before swallowing. Or, you can drop it in a drink or food.
- Smoke or vaporize — less popular than tea or tincture, some may choose to smoke or vaporize catnip. This is less preferred as it may be harsh on your lungs and the smoke may bother you. It all depends on your personal preference. Through this method, you feel the effects faster but will not last as long.
- Capsule — you can buy or prepare your own capsules that contain catnip. Just like a pill, swallow with lots of water.
- Aroma — you can breathe in the smell of catnip plant or dried herb. This still provides benefits but will not be as strong as ingesting.
Benefits for humans
Unlike cats, catnip will not get you high. In high doses, it has been known to cause auditory or visual hallucinations. However you will not experience this with a moderate dosage. The affects are quite similar to CBD, which also does not get you high.
Calmness & relaxation: catnip has been known to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of peacefulness. In higher doses, it can act as a sleep aid and cure insomnia.
Fight against sickness: catnip can reduce fever, reduce coughing, strengthen immune system, and help fight off viruses.
Joint pain relief: those who suffer from arthritis or other joint-related issues can benefit from catnip’s sedative affects.
Mood boost: catnip can lift your mood, promoting happiness and fighting against depression.
Menstrual relief: for women, catnip promotes uterine contractions. This can stimulate a delayed period or ease the pain of cramps. In childbirth, this can also ease the pain and speed up the process. For this reason, pregnant women should not consume catnip.
Like all medicine, catnip comes with side effects you should be aware of.
Diuretic: just like caffeine, diuretics cause frequent urination, water retention, and excessive sweating. Be sure to stay hydrated and have access to a bathroom.
Drowsiness: due to its sedative effects, catnip is better taken in the afternoon or whenever you are trying to relax.
Headaches: some people report headaches, especially if you are not staying hydrated.
Interactions: catnip may have negative interactions with other herbs or medications, especially prescription drugs.