Catnip: the drug for cats with therapeutic virtues

Catnip is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Europe and Asia. It belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Being renowned for its stimulating effect on cats, it is commonly called catnip, cat drug or cat mint. Its scientific name is Nepeta cataria. Apart from being aromatic, catnip is also a medicinal plant with many healing properties. It is composed of tannins, flavonoids, bitter and iridoid principles.

Therapeutic indications of catnip

In herbal medicine, catnip is highly valued for its diaphoretic property. By promoting perspiration, it can lower fever. It is therefore frequently used for treat flu and colds.

Due to its antispasmodic property, it is used to treat problems of the digestive tract and thus allowsimprove digestive comfort. It is particularly used in cases of flatulence, diarrhea and cramps in the stomach and intestines.

Catnip also acts as a general tonic. In case of asthenia, it allows combat physical and mental fatigue and revitalizes the body. In addition, by acting on the central nervous system, it reduces all nervous tension. These include insomnia, stress and anxiety attacks.

In addition, catnip is effective in case of:

  • Rheumatism and arthritis
  • Painful periods
  • Hot flashes in postmenopausal women

In the past, catnip was used to induce childbirth.

The different galenic forms of catnip

In herbal medicine, catnip is mainly used in the form of:

  • Decoction
  • Infusion
  • Mother tincture
  • Essential oil

Modes of use and dosage

Generally speaking, catnip can be given to children as an infusion and tincture. However, the use of essential oil is exclusively reserved for adults.

  • Infusion : infuse for 10 minutes 1 to 2 g of dry extracts in 150 to 200 ml of boiling water, take 3 to 4 cups per day. This preparation is useful for relieving flu symptoms.
  • Mother tincture : dilute 10 to 15 drops of tincture in a drink and consume up to 4 glasses a day
  • Essential oil : dilute 1 or 2 drops in a little honey and take 2 to 3 times a day. To soothe the pain felt in the joints, catnip essential oil can be used pure or mixed with an oily preparation. Then, just gently massage the painful part with the mixture.
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Contraindications and side effects of catnip

Before oral administration in children, it is advisable to first seek the advice of a doctor or therapist. Moreover, thanks to its stimulating effect on the uterus, the use of catnip is prohibited for pregnant women. This is also the case for women with heavy bleeding during menstrual periods.

Consumed in high doses, catnip can also cause vomiting and headaches.


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