CATNIP, Nepeta cataria
There are a number of plants bearing the name ‘Nepeta’. However, only Nepeta cataria is attractive to cats.
Catnip is a hardy perennial herb of the mint family.
Catnip grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet, with downy, light green leaves and small lavender flowers that grow on spikes, just like any other mint.
Catnip grows well in almost any soil but it prefers a moderately rich loam that is well drained. The aroma increases when grown in sandy soil. Catnip will grow in either sun or shade.
Catnip isn’t just for cats, either.
Used in herbal medicine, it has a mild sedative effect on humans.
A recent university study found catnip to be 10 times as effective as Deet at repelling mosquitoes.
Young catnip leaves are edible raw. They have an aromatic mint-like flavor when eaten in salads.
Catnip Herb Tea Recipe:
To 1 cup of boiling water add 2 tsp. dried catnip; steep for 10 minutes. Give warm tea as follows: ½ cup for children, and 1 tbsp. diluted or mixed into milk for babies.
This is supposed to have a calming effect on an agitated child and will diminish nightmares.