Catnip has a well earned reputation for sending cats into states euphoria. 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. About 80% of adult cats 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.
Uses: Add a few fresh leaves to green salads. Either fresh or dried leaves will make a refreshing, possibly therapeutic tea. It was consumed in the form of a tea in Europe before the arrival of true tea from Eastern Asia.
Medicinal Uses: Catnip tea, made preferably from the fresh cut herb, makes an excellent cure for insomnia and hyperactivity. Add honey for flavor. Also is very good for reducing fevers, the miseries of hay fever, and nausea. A small, honey sweetened cup of warm tea is good for calming hyperactive kids. Rural residents of the Ozarks have used mashed fresh catnip leaves as a crude poultice to relieve the pain of aching teeth and gums almost instantly. A strong, cooled catnip tea can be used as a eyewash to relieve inflammation and swelling due to certain airborne allergies, flu and cold and excess alcoholic consumption. Does not cure the hangover, though!!
Then, of course, you can also take the dried, crushed leaves and stuff them into cloth pouches to make wonderful cat toys.
Catnip prefers full sun and average, well drained soil. It is a perennial herb of the mint family that will grow from 3-5 feet tall. Water them routinely. In early spring, cut out last years spent stems to make way for the new ones. You can shear back plants after their first flush of bloom to encourage another flowering cycle. It’s best to protect any plants you have until they are large enough to withstand a cat’s amorous attentions.
75-85 days to harvest from seed when started indoors.
Perennial. ZONES: 3-9
Catnip will grow just about anywhere, but ideally in sandy soil in full sun.
Harvest individual leaves when the plants have become established. Top ¾ of plant may be harvested starting the second year. To dry, hang branches upside down in a well-ventilated, dry location out of sunlight. (And away from cats). Dried leaves are often used inside cat toys: Sew a couple of tablespoons of dried leaves inside a small denim pouch and let the cat have at it!
Also used for a soothing tea (for people).
Grown and shipped in 3-1/2″ Perennial Pots. Also available in plug flats. Check Wholesale listings.