Medicinal Herb Profile: Catnip

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

Latin name: Nepeta cataria

Plant family: Mint (Lamiaceae)

Parts used: Leaves and flowers

Safety: Not recommended for women who are pregnant.


  • The leaves are edible and can be eaten in salads.

  • This herb is a sedative for humans and promotes relaxation and sleep. Make tea of catnip or blend with chamomile for a soothing drink before bed.

  • Catnip is anti-spasmodic, useful for relieving menstrual cramping, calming digestive upsets, and reducing gas.

  • According to Mary Preus, writing in The Northwest Herb Lover's Handbook, "Because of it's diaphoretic (sweat producing) action, catnip is often recommended as a cold and flu remedy. It is mild and safe enough to use to help children through colds and fevers, insomnia, hyperactivity, diarrhea, and the restlessness of teething."

  • Give some to your cat! A stimulant for cats, give them a few fresh leaves at a time, or dry your catnip and make your own cat toys! In the meantime, be sure to store your catnip safely away from your cat.

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