The catnip plant, also known scientifically as Nepeta cataria is an aromatic perennial herb that is known to be original to the Europe, Africa and Asia continents. The plant has however for its medicinal values and other essential importance cross borders to Canada and America. It is a member of the plants’ mint family and contains volatile oil, acids, tannins and sterols. It has become so popular that is now grown widely and marketed as weed especially because its most medicinal components are its dried leaves and flowering tops which makes them suitable for smoking. The plant is normally about two to three feet tall. It has heart shaped but toothed leaves which usually appear greyish in color due to the presence of downing hairs on its surface.
What to use Catnip Plants for
As earlier mentioned, the popularity of catnip plant has grown tremendously for its medicinal properties. That being said, it has been confirmed to be very useful in a number of ways and for a number of things. Let us consider these briefly.
Catnip for cats
Catnip is very useful for both humans and animals. It has a long history of usefulness with cats specifically. In fact, many people believe that catnip is perhaps for cats given its name. It has thus become a common herb that gets cultivated in gardens even though it still grows wildly. When cats consume catnips and it acts as sedative in their system. However smelled it makes cats go crazy mimicking feline pheromones and triggering the receptors, causing cats to behave in a number of ways.
Catnips has been observed to be very attractive to cats. It is a common myth that all cats reacts to catnip. In fact researchers believe that about two third of the feline population will react to the plant, exhibiting a wide range of behaviors as drooling, licking and rubbing of catnip toys. Even the wild cats react to catnip plants.
Cats’ reaction to catnip plant can be traced to a number of significant reasons. It is provided as fresh plants to these feline creatures in containers or as outdoor plants in beds. When used in a container, it is usually a large and heavy enough one which would not get easily tipped over by an overzealous cat. Sometimes to limit access, dried catnip leaves are stuffed in toys so they are sealed out of the way when not in use. Professionals have said that catnips doesn’t have any lasting or prolonged effects on cat’s brain or her body parts. This is in fact why they habituate quickly to it.
Catnip for humans
Catnip doesn’t only work on cats, it performs incredible health function in man. This strong smelling plant is known to have health benefits for man when used as tea. It has calming effects on human body working similarly to valepotriates which is commonly found in herbal sedative, valerian. This improves relaxation and give individuals mood boost against psychological disorders as restlessness, anxiety and nervousness. Tea from this plant is known to stimulate uterine contractions, thus helping women with delayed menstruation get their period. Studies have also found out that catnip tea promotes placenta evacuation following childbirth.
Other uses Of Catnip
Catnip can be used more than for human and cats. The plant contains a certain substance referred to as nepatalactone. This compound is anti-insecticidal and so has made people use catnip plant as natural repellant against insects as spiders, ticks, mosquitoes, cockroaches and other critters in their homes. Gardeners may decide to plant catnip in his garden to prevent certain pests. A study has revealed that intercropping the herb with collard greens reduced flea beetles damage. In fact, the plant will repel animals as rabbit and deer.
Catnips are used as mint recipes in kitchens. It belongs to the mint family and so possess these flavors with a plus of slightly different taste. They are a common herb which could be found whether you grow them intentionally or otherwise.
The positive effects of catnip on human
I have earlier discussed how catnip could be used as drug and sedative by man, but how exactly does this happen and what more benefits can you expects?
Several studies have revealed that humans are usually not in a perfect state of mind every day. This means that we sometimes get affected by negative emotions which weighs us down in form of depression, anxiety, restlessness and nervousness to name a few. Therefore teas from catnip or smoking of the plant could swallow these emotions and control human thoughts. It addresses the specific kind of anxiety created in your body when you cannot express your emotions.
There is absolutely no doubt about Catnip being a digestive herb. The scent that exudes when we rub the leaves between our fingers is an evidence of its high amount of volatile oils. This chemical is responsible for the plant’s ability to ensure calm in the stomach of an adult or nursing child with colic. The catnip tea is particularly a large meal that protects against indigestion.
It is part of the herbs class called febrifuge for its ability to reduce fever. This is achieved by cooling the body to induce sweats. It is never a good idea to interrupt fever but for the little times that fever gets prolonged, causing increase in temperature and dehydration, catnip could be good fever tincture around you.
Smoking of catnip plants
When smoked it works as a slight sedative, providing sense of calm and peace in your body. The effects of catnip however varies in human depending on the ways they are used and administered. It can be taken in form of juice and tea too. In fact, the tea form has been recommended for cough and cold remedy for obvious reasons.
Usage effects and side effects on humans
The effect of this plant has been mentioned a lot in this article including its health benefits. The plant when smoked generally warms the entire body. It produces a sense of calm and relaxation which could sometimes come with mild sense of euphoria coupled with giddiness. Smoking doesn’t have hallucinogenic effects except when mixed with some enhancing types of herbs that could cause dreaming effects. Catnip tea drinkers have said that it sometimes have slight hypnotic effects and so can cause good sleep. It can also help to relax after the day’s work. The potency however depends on how long the plant has been steeped. With a small dose, effects are usually not long-lasting before people return to normal state with possible mild or no hangover. Overall, smoking of catnip produces a good experience.
On the flip, consumption of catnip in whatever form could cause common side effects like headache or nausea. Large doses could cause dizziness after smoking. It is strongly advised that pregnant women should avoid drinking or smoking catnip as it potentially cause uterine contractions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally considers catnip as a plant of undefined safety at the moment, but there has never been any report of toxicity after smoking which makes it suitable.