I wrote this piece below for an herbology class. I liked it and it has a good amount of citations to prove what I was talking about for the essay. Catnip is a great herb for a variety of different reasons, other than getting your cat high and entertaining youtube visitors! Its not too long, but full of great info. Thanks for reading!
Catnip: Nepeta cataria
Traditional Use vs Researched Use
Catnip Nepeta cataria is usually associated with felines and the entertainment that can be had watching them obtain their euphoric high. Many people do not know that catnip Nepeta cataria is actually good for several ailments of the human body. By using the databases given to ACHS (American College of Healthcare Sciences) students the herb and its information is easily obtainable and is shared here in this reading for you learning and informative enjoyment.
N. cataria has been around a very long time and dates back centuries. It has been used in adults and in children, though modern research suggests limiting its use in children due to potential toxicity in their small bodies. Traditionally, the herb “N. cataria was a familiar herb in English kitchen gardens dating back to the 13th century and was used to treat abnormal growths, respiratory conditions, colic, colds, stomach ailments, nervousness, insomnia, restlessness, corns, hives, and toothaches (globinmed.com, 2011).” These types of ailments also are shown to be improved by N. cataria proved in the research of this herb. According to the monograph in Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database, the herb is responsible for a calming effect that helps insomnia and anxiety similar to valerian root Valeriana officionalis. As with other herbs, it also has effects on gastrointestinal conditions, and headaches. Reportedly, N. cataria has antipyretic and diaphoretic effects on the body which are of great use during times of illness like the flu and colds that come with a fever. Pharmacological effects such as being a diuretic and gallbladder activity stimulator were also reported (Natural Medicine Database, 1995-2013).
An interesting study was done using the N. cataria essential oil in a diluted amount, applied topically to see whether it was good enough to deter female mosquitoes from biting humans. The study concluded that when topically applied, it provided about six hours of protection from the mosquitoes. The essential oil also killed the growing larvae of the mosquitoes (Natural Standard, 2013).
A second study was performed by a different group and is much more detailed in their results when discussing N. cataria as a food additive and preservative. They took hydro distilled essential oils from the herb and in different dilutions proved that the oil kills or inhibits several different types of food borne pathogens. “In the present study, the main causes of food-borne infections including S. aureus, B. cereus, L. monocytogenes, E. coli, Shigella spp. and Salmonella spp. were inhibited by the EOs concentration of 0.125-2μL/mL. The EOs inhibited the growth of all Gram-positive food-borne bacteria at concentrations of 0.125-1μL/mL. Furthermore, the EOs exhibited the bactericidal activity (MBC) for all of the above-mentioned Gram-positive bacteria…” (pubmed.org, 2012).
N. cataria is much more useful than just for felines to obtain a euphoric experience. It’s useful for the sick, as a pesticide, as an antimicrobial, and as a preservative. A traditional use from folklore and from history would have been used for an antipyretic and diaphoretic, along with the use of it as a relaxing agent to help sleep. The research on the herb suggests this is truthful and its relaxing effects are enhanced by other herbs like N. cataria. The newer research as a pesticide and antimicrobial is of great benefit to the human race as different diseases and drug resistant pathogens are starting to take hold. Much more will come about as this herb and many others are researched in laboratories across the planet.
GlobinMed.com. Nepeta cataria- Medicinal Herbs & Plants Database. http://www.globinmed.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83402:nepeta-cataria&catid=73&Itemid=146. 2011
Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database. Catnip Monograph. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=&s=ND&pt=100&id=831&ds=. 1995-2013
Natural Standard. Catnip (Nepeta cataria). http://naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/all/catnip.asp?. 2013
PubMed.org. Zomorodian, Kamiar; Saharkhiz, Mohammad; Shariati, Samaneh; Pakshir, Keyvan; Rahimi, Mohammad; and Khashej, Reza. Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activites of Essential Oils from Nepeta cataria L. Against Common Causes of Food-Borne Infections. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3385634/. June 2012