Catnip calms and relaxes

While at first glance catnip is nothing but a plant with pretty flowers to humans, it seems to have a magical effect on cats. As soon as they get close to the fragrant plant, many house cats become intoxicated, rolling on the ground or shredding the leaves. But the plant also has interesting ingredients for humans: it has a relaxing, digestive, detoxifying and slightly euphoric effect.

Catnip: description and cultivation

Originally from southern Europe and Africa, catnip has also been native to Central Europe since the mid-18th century. The mint family prefers nutrient-rich, dry loamy or sandy soil and loves warmth and light. Catnip grows between 60 and 100 centimeters high.

The green leaves of the plant smell pleasantly of mint or  lemon . The flowers always appear in groups of five, close together, forming a calyx that usually shines in blue-purple, but also in white, pink or yellow. In general, both the leaves and the flowers of catnip are individually different for each specimen.

Catnip is ideal as a garden or balcony plant. It can be grown by cuttings, by dividing the rootstock or by seed. The perennial plant is  winter-resistant  and  very robust .

Effect of catnip on cats

Exactly why catnip has such a strong effect on cats is not yet clear. What is certain, however, is that not all cats react to the scent of the plant.

While some house tigers dance euphorically around the stems, tear and eat the leaves, roll on the floor or spin in circles as if intoxicated with drugs, the scent leaves other cats completely cold.

Especially young, not yet sexually mature or very old cats are usually not very interested in catnip. Nevertheless, the scent  does not seem to have an aphrodisiac effect  , because even neutered cats can be intoxicated by the plant.

However, catnip is not dangerous. On the contrary: Many cat owners fill small bags with dried catnip, for example, and use them as toys for their darlings. However, if you are thinking of planting catnip in your garden, be prepared to see all the neighborhood cats gathered in the flower bed.

Effect of catnip on humans

Catnip can also have a slightly euphoric effect on humans. The dried leaves can be drunk as a  tea  or smoked.

In  catnip tea  , the herb has a relaxing, analgesic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, antipyretic and digestive effect. Catnip tea can also help with insomnia, irritability and nervousness. To do this, pour 0.25l of hot, not yet boiling water over two tablespoons of dried catnip and let it steep for five minutes. The tea tastes refreshing of mint and lemon.

Some people  smoke  dried catnip as a marijuana substitute, with very weak effects. You can smoke the herb either pure or mixed with tobacco. Fresh catnip leaves can be chewed to provide relief from  toothaches .

The leaves are also suitable for an envelope in the event of external injuries.  Catnip is also occasionally used in ointments used to treat problems with  rheumatism  or  hemorrhoids .


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