Materia Medica – Nepeta cataria


Hearing the word catnip can, often, make one automatically think of a cat high on the feline equivalent of pot brownies. And yes it can make them act high or give them lots of playful energy or sedate them; check out Simon’s cat video in the link below for more information. Besides being used for cats, catnip is helpful for people with its calming property which helps with stress, easing menstrual cramps and it’s also good for headaches. The herb has been regarded for its medicinal uses since Roman times.  In fact, Europeans consumed it as a beverage prior to the introduction of teas from China. 

  • Common Name: Catnip (Catmint)
  • Latin Name: Nepeta cataria
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Areas of Origin: Europe, Southwest and Central Asia
  • Botanical Description: A perennial which can grow 2-3’ in height with square, grayish stems. The leaves and stems are downy which gives them a gray-green appearance. The flowers are white with purple spotting, bloom in spikes-like clusters. 
  • Parts Used: Leaves and flowers
  • Uses: Sleep aid, helps with colds, repels bugs, eases gas/flatulence/bloating, calming for children
  • Actions: Antioxidant, antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, refrigerant, sedative, slightly stimulant, stomachic
  • Preparations: Tea, tincture, oil 
  • Taste: Bitter
  • Safety: Best to avoid during pregnancy. 
  • Contraindications (Plant-Medication Combinations): May interact with sleeping medications. 

Until next time, discover the power of welcoming nature’s healing plants into your life.



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