Catnip - Nepeta Cataria - Floral
Blending Note: Middle
Main Benefits: Insect Repellent, Stimulant for Felines
Properties: Relaxant, Insect Repellent, Topical Aesthetic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Rheumatic,
Astringent, Carminative, Nervine, Sedative
Other Producers: Europe, Africa, Egypt
Allergy Warning: Avoid while pregnant.
Catnip was introduced to America around the 18th century. Settlers took plant cuttings with them for food and medicinal purposes when they travelled to the New World and there is a recipe from Massachusetts in 1712 that includes catnip in the list of ingredients. Native Americans also began to use catnip in their medicines and recipes when they came across it. In 1753, Linnaeus described Catnip one of the many species, in his landmark work, Species Planterum. Previously, in 1738, he described it as Nepeta with flowers in a stalked, interrupted spike. Catnip, or catmint as it is sometimes referred to, has been around forever. Cat owners are aware of catnip because of the effect it has on their cat friends, but the catnip plant has a long and varied history throughout the ages. Egyptians love of cats, it is highly likely that they were amongst the first people to give catnip to cats. The Romans also regarded catnip very highly and used it in their recipes and herbal medicines. In Medieval times, catnip was used for all manner of things. In the middle Ages, Catnip was known as catmint or nep.
Catnip is a short-lived plant, growing 50–100 cm tall and wide. It resembles a typical mint family member in appearance by having the characteristic square stem that members of the mint plant family have but with brown-green foliage. The coarse-toothed leaves are triangular. The small bilabiate flowers can be white and finely spotted with pale purple or pink. They are showy and fragrant. The plant blooms from late spring through autumn. Catnip is cultivated as an ornamental plant for use in gardens. It is also grown for its attractant qualities to house cats and butterflies. Traditionally used as an insect repellent. There is more research on the herb, which is a stimulant for felines, and a sedative for humans, and these actions may transfer to the essential oil.
Catnip essential oil is extracted by steam distillation. The oil gets extracted from the leaves and flowers. The aroma is rich, herbaceous, mild floral. The colour of the oil is Pale Yellow/Orange and the consistency is medium. Catnip has a history of medicinal use for a variety of ailments. The plant has been consumed as a tea, juice, infusion or poultice, and has also been smoked. However, its medicinal use has fallen out of favour with the development of more commonplace pharmaceutical drugs. Only 2/3 of cats respond to catnip, although the ability to detect catnip may be inherited.
Insect Repellent, Tea, Infusion