Did you know that natural catnip isn't just for cats? This easy-to-grow herbal healer has been used for hundreds of years to cure colds, toothaches, and insomnia. Catnip is a European native that migrated to the United States along with the early settlers. It now grows wild across the country.
Things You Will NeedWhat To Look For When Buying Catnip
Always buy organic catnip to avoid being exposed to any pesticides that may have been used when the plant was grown or dried. Organic catnip is readily available at health food stores and online. The dried catnip should only contain leaves and flowers, with no stems. It should be green, not gray. Gray catnip means it was dried either in the sun, or in a hot place, both of which will destroy its healing properties. It should smell like catnip. It it doesn't, it's probably too old to use.
How To Make Catnip Tea
It's easy to make tea from either dried or fresh catnip leaves and flowers. When using dried herb, use a little less, as it's more concentrated. Use about one teaspoon of dried herb, or two of the fresh leaves to a cup of boiling water. Cover the cup with a saucer and let it steep for ten to fifteen minutes. Strain the leaves out, sweeten to taste with stevia or honey, and drink.
Catnip - An Herbal Insomnia Remedy For Humans
Everyone is familiar with the effects of catnip on our feline friends. Nepetalactone is what causes all this silly behavior in cats, but it has the exact opposite effect on people. Nepetalactone is very similar in structure to the compounds found in valerian, which is a well-known herbal sedative. This is why catnip tea is such an effective herbal insomnia remedy for many people. A cup before bedtime is recommended to help you sleep.
Looking for an Herbal Flu Remedy?
With the start of the flu season, many folks are interested in an herbal flu remedy. Catnip tea is a natural treatment for any respiratory infection, as well as for measles and chicken pox. It works by stimulating sweating, which helps to bring down a fever. Inhaling the steam from this herbal tea is useful for opening blocked sinuses as well. Drink two or three cups a day when you're fighting a cold.
Catnip tea is also effective for digestive problems, including upset stomachs, gas, and diarrhea. A weak catnip tea is an old home remedy for colicky babies, as well. It relieves the pain, and helps the little one to sleep, too.
Traditional Home Remedy for Toothaches
If you're suffering from a toothache, and can't get to the dentist right away, catnip is an old traditional remedy among residents of the Appalachian Mountains. Take a few fresh leaves and tear them up. Apply the leaves directly to the gums and teeth to relieve the pain right away. Dried catnip is effective too, but takes a little longer to work.
Sore Eyes? Catnip Tea Will Help
If your eyes are inflamed from allergies or a cold, make an herbal eyewash from three cups of water and five teaspoons of fresh catnip leaves. Bring the water to a boil, and add the leaves. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for about an hour. Strain the tea, and keep it in the fridge in a clean jar. This can be used in an eye cup several times a day. Or pour some of it on a clean cloth, warm it in the microwave for a few seconds (don't get it too hot), and put the cloth over the eyes. Instant relief!
Remember that catnip isn't just for cats. This versatile herb has a long history as an herbal healer.
Tips & WarningsFor children and babies, catnip extract is probably easier to use. Just add a drop or two of the herbal tincture to a favorite drink.
Catnip is a safe herb to use, but you should avoid it if you're pregnant or have any menstrual problems, because it's known to cause uterine contractions.