Catnip is a member of the mint family which is grayish-white in color and native to Europe and Asia. The heart-shaped leaves and white or pale lavender tubular flower tops are used to make the catnip supplement for a sleep as well as other medical uses. Catnip is also called catnep, catmint, cat’s play, catrup, carwort, nip, nep and field balm, It contains volatile oils, sterols, acids and tannins including monoterpene and nepetalactone which are similar to the valepotriates found in Valerian a popular herbal sedative. Catnip has the opposite effect on people as it does on cats. You may feel cool, calm and collected while your cat is rolling around uncontrollably and experiencing dilated pupils and a rapid heart beat. Nepetalactone can also be used as a repellant for insects such as; cockroaches, termites, mosquitoes and can help your cat repel fleas. Catnip also contains thymol an antiseptic used on the skin and in nasal passages.
Catnip has treated babies and children to relieve restlessness caused by colic and induce sleep. Adults have benefited from catnip to alleviate insomnia, stress, menstrual cramps and relax tension headaches. A cup of hot catnip tea right before bedtime or a pillow stuffed with dried catnip leaves will help insure one ability to fall asleep easy. It also helps prevent nightmares as its sedative action on the nerves adds to its relaxing properties.
Other medical uses for catnip, besides a sleep remedy, are for colds, flu, fever, indigestion, nervous disorders, toothaches and have been applied externally to help heal cuts, scrapes and stop bleeding. It has a diaphoretic effect that increases perspiration without raising the body’s temperature and has an anti-fever effect that leads to its treatment for colds and flu.
Catnip comes as a tea, tonic, poultice, powder, capsule, tablet and flakes depending on what it will be used for. A tea is recommended for treating child’s restlessness, help a baby suffering from colic or adult with occasional insomnia or those experiencing respiratory ailments such as chest congestion, bronchitis or asthma. Tonic for those with indigestion, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or menstrual cramps. People have also made use of this plant to bring about menses in delayed menstruation and increase tone in the uterus. Therefore it is not recommended for pregnant women as it may induce contractions and cause a miscarriage.
Poultice of the leaves and flowers can be applied to reduce swelling from rheumatism, soft-tissue injuries and other inflammatory conditions such as a toothache. You can also use catnip powder on a cotton ball and press it just below the inflamed tooth. In tablet or capsule form to relieve headaches (tension and migraine) and combat sleeping disorders. An oil is used as an insect repellant and also works to treat animals and household items (furniture and carpet) of fleas. Flakes as this herb can be enjoyed as a seasoning or meat tenderizer. In combination with other herbs such as GABA or hops to aid in relaxing and relieving anxiety to induce sleep. Or combined with saffron, it has shown promise to treat scarlet fever and small pox.
How to enjoy catnip tea; 10 teaspoons of catnip per quart of water, steep tea for ten to fifteen minutes. Put you feet up, relax and enjoy. There are no known side effects with recommended dosages of catnip preparations. As stated before it is not recommended for those that are pregnant as it may act to promote uterine contractions. Catnip has diuretic properties; this may increase the frequency and the amount of urination. If you are taking other prescribed diuretics or any other medications it is advisable to discuss with your physician before you take a catnip supplement for sleep or any other herbal supplements. The content provided is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.