Catnip, a member of the mint family, is a harmless "high" for felines. Although many cats will eat it, scientists say they're reacting to the smell rather than the taste. Felines bite, chew, rub against, and roll in catnip to release the volatile oil trapped in the leaves. Catnip is harvested when this essential oil production reaches its peak, and leaves and fragrant flowers are carefully air-dried to preserve essential oils at their best.
Possible Benefits of Catnip:
A poultice of the leaves and flowers of catmint can be applied to reduce swelling from rheumatism, soft-tissue injuries and other inflammatory conditions.
Catnip is also used as a muscle relaxant and mild sedative, which is why it is often used to relieve the pain of headaches (especially tension headaches.) This also explains its use to combat insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Catnip has a diaphoretic effect (increasing perspiration without raising body temperature) and antipyretic (anti-fever) effects.
About 80% of adult cats -- including lions, pumas, and leopards! -- react to this irresistible, intoxicating, analgesic soporific. The tendency to like or ignore catnip is inherited, and it's true that some cats are immune to its influence.
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Capsule and oral liquid forms of catnip are available commercially and dried catnip may be brewed into a tea. Although dosage for catnip is not standardized, a common recommendation for catnip tea is 1 or 2 teaspoons of the dried aerial parts soaked for about 10 minutes in 1 cup of water that has been allowed to boil and then removed from the heat. Boiling catnip may cause the loss of active ingredients. Catnip is often taken three times a day.
To use topically, dried leaves or flowers of catnip are moistened with warm water to make a poultice, which is applied externally as often as needed. Cooled catnip tea may also be used as a soak or a wash.
Not recommended for use while pregnant.
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