Nepeta cataria, labiatae. This plant is also know as catmint and catnep. The leaves and the flowering tops are the parts of the plant used.

The leaves and the flowering tops are gathered in summer.

Functions of catnip

Catnip is one of the traditional cold and flu remedies. It:

  • is a powerful diaphoretic when taken as a hot infusion. It also acts as a decongestant. It should be taken at the first sign of a cold or flu.
  • is also of assistance with bronchitis and asthma.
  • has a calming and relaxing effect in babies and children and will relieve restlessness and induce sleep.
  • also has a relaxant effect on the digestive system where it will relieve tension, colic and pain. This again is useful with children and babies.
  • has also been used as an enema for digestive system conditions, such as, inflammatory bowel problems, bowel infections, constipation and diarrhea.
  • will relieve tension headaches when taken as a strong infusion.
  • can be used to relieve period pain as well as tension and stress prior to periods.
  • has antiseptic properties that can be used, as a hot infusion, for sore throats and sinusitis. The antiseptic properties are also useful in skin infections and tissue repair for cuts and abrasions.


Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonsful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

New plants can be grown by:

  • planting the seeds in spring or autumn,
  • taking tip cuttings in the autumn or
  • dividing clumps into three or four pieces in spring.

Catnip will grow in most soils as long as they are well drained. It likes full sun and an open position.


Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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