Although catnip has a stimulating effect on virtually all felines, in humans it is traditionally used as a sleep aid. It has also been used for digestive and menstrual problems, as a uterine stimulant in childbirth, and as a symptomatic treatment for colds. Publications from the late 1960s suggested that the plant, when smoked, produced a psychedelic high not unlike marijuana, but it was later discovered that the researchers had, in fact, mixed up the two plants.
What Is Catnip Used for Today?
Catnip is primarily used by today's herbalists as a treatment for insomnia
Nepetalactone is similar to a class of substances called valepotriates, found in the sedative herb
As yet, there is no real evidence that catnip produces any effect at all in humans. Tests conducted on chicks and rats have produced conflicting results, although high doses of
Catnip tea is most commonly made by mixing 1 to 2 teaspoons (1 to 2 g) of the dried herb, or half that amount of the liquid extract, per cup of water (240 ml), 6
Although comprehensive safety studies have not been performed, catnip tea is generally regarded as safe. However, due to its traditional use as a uterine stimulant, pregnant women should probably avoid catnip. Safety for young children or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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