Organic Catnip – A Healthy Herb That’s Not Just for Cats

by Sandy Boyd on June 18, 2013

When stocking your pantry with organic herbs, you may not immediately think of having catnip on hand.

A few obvious uses for catnip may come to mind but there are probably a few that you never thought of. Did you realize that it’s a great herb for you too?

For Your Cat
I’m sure this is the first thing that you thought of when you started considering catnip. Of course, this is the best known use for catnip and if you have cats (or even just know someone with cats), its great to have on hand.

Dried catnip can make a cat go a little nuts, so it is a popular filling for toys. You want organic for yourself, so why not for your pets too?

For You*
Catnip isn’t usually used like a seasoning or culinary herb, but you can make a very pleasant tea with organic catnip that has a pretty long list of suspected health benefits.

Catnip may ease respiratory inflammation and the overall symptoms of cold, flu or even bronchitis. This healthy herb may also bring down a fever and relieve mild headaches. It’s anti-inflammatory properties could help with arthritis pain too.

Having a cup of catnip tea before bed can help you relax and fall asleep easier, and it will also reduce the symptoms of PMS if you have a few cups at the right time of the month. Stomach upset and indigestion can be helped with a little catnip tea too. It really is a great herb to have in the kitchen as well as in an herbal medicine collection.

You can make catnip tea by steeping about 1 teaspoon of dried herb in a cup of hot water. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes but 15 would make a healthier tea. Strain out the leaves and add a little flavor (honey or lemon is very nice). Many enjoy the taste of catnip tea on its own so you will have to be the judge on that. Have a cup a day to help keep yourself healthy, or 3 cups when you’re fighting off a cold or other ailment. There is no caffeine, so you don’t have to worry about that.

If you really like the impact that catnip is having on your health, you can go a little further and use the fresh leaves in salads. They have a slightly mint-like flavor so use them sparingly.

Why Bother with Organic Herbs?
Herbs are just like any other fruit or vegetable, and can be heavily contaminated with a huge number of potential toxins or chemicals. Sticking with organic catnip means your tea isn’t going to be tainted with pesticides, herbicides, preservatives or fertilizer residues.

You can usually find loose organic catnip, or catnip as bagged tea. And if you don’t want to buy it, you can always grow your own.

Grow Your Own Organic Catnip
Catnip is a really easy to grow herb, so you can add a few plants to your garden or indoor on a windowsill. It will need full sun and can be grown outside in zones 3 through 9 (so just about anywhere). Plant in early spring and expect your plants to be mature by summer. You can either trim down the whole plant at once or pick leaves just when you need them all through the season.

If you are growing it outside, it can spread quickly so keep an eye on it so it doesn’t take over the garden. And watch out for neighborhood cats. They’ll happy partake of your organic catnip garden whether you like it or not.

(* Nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice, please consult your doctor if you have any questions about how catnip may affect you.)

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