Best 7 Health Benefits of Catnip

how to make catnip tea for cats

The catnip is popular among cat lovers, because of its effect on felines. But, catnip provides many health benefits for humans. It can provide them relaxing effects and alleviates digestive ailments, due to its active compounds. It is a perennial plant which typically grows 25 – 40 cm tall or roughly about 10 – 16 inches. It is believed that this plant has originated from Europe and it was only introduced to American soil when European settlements were established. Nowadays, this plant is cultivated as a common garden plant and it is usually found in barnyards, fencerows and pastures. [1]

It has heart – shaped leaves with serrated edges that emit a minty odor when either bruised or crushed. The small flowers of catnip grow in clusters and their color can range from white to lavender. It can be transformed into different products with various uses. It can be sold dried or as a tincture or tea. The dried catnip can be sprinkled on scratching posts and pet beds to encourage your cat to use these items. Also, some pet toy companies use the catnip as filler to keep cats interested in their toys. It should be avoided by pregnant women, because using it or ingesting it can stimulate the uterus. [1]

It can trigger a miscarriage or early labor, so you should not use the catnip when you are pregnant or if you are planning to conceive [2]. Also, It can be risky for people who suffer from kidney or liver disorder, particularly if they consume it in form of tea. Here are some health benefits of catnip:

Catnip help in menstrual aid

It has been used for years to promote better menstrual flow. It can help to lessen the abdominal cramps and other discomforts which are usually accompanying the menstrual cycle. [3]

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Catnip help fight off infections

In one study done in 2012 was shown that the catnip has antimicrobial properties, which can be very effective against foodborne pathogens, like Salmonella and Shigella. Also, It works through its bacteriostatic and bactericidal activities. [4]

Promote relaxation

There are some studies done by German scientists in which are shown that the nepetalactone isomers that are found in the catnip function similarly to the sedative components of valerian root. This can help to alleviate the anxiety symptoms and it promotes better sleep quality. When it is consumed in form of tea or juice, can give you a relief from the stress. Also, this can help to reduce the secondary symptoms of chronic stress and it can strengthen the immune system. [5]

Helps with the digestive discomfort

It can be used to ease the tension in the smooth muscles of the stomach. This can help to stop the spasms which are usually causing stomachaches and any digestive pain.

Relieves skin irritation

It has natural repellent properties which are making it ideal for keeping bugs away from gardens when it is kept as an ornamental plant. But, the catnip has organic compounds which are making it ideal for soothing bug bites and relieving the irritation on the skin. You can apply salves or extracts of catnip to the irritated or broken skin, because this can speed up the healing process and it can reduce the inflammation quickly. [6,7]

Anti – inflammatory properties

It has chemical constituents which are possessing anti – inflammatory properties. This means that you can use the catnip as an effective home remedy for aching joints, sprained muscles, gout, arthritis and even hemorrhoids. The topical application or the normal consumption of leaves, juice or tea, can be effective for all of the mentioned health problems. [8]

Speeds up healing

It is inducing sweating, so this is a reason why alternative practitioners are recommending it for the treatment of common cold. In the terms of flu and cold, to clean out the body you need to induce sweating, so the toxins will flush away from your body. This is particularly true in the case of fevers when the lack of sweating before the fever breaks is only keeping the toxins and pathogens in the body.


[1] John Innes Centre. How catnip makes the chemical that causes cats to go crazy. Science Daily. 2018. Retrieved from

[2] Brand G. Chapter 18: Catnip and pregnant women: Some variations in sensitivity to odors. Discovering Odors. 2019. doi:10.1002/9781119687467.ch18

[3] Herron S. Catnip, Nepeta cataria, a morphological comparison of mutant and wild type specimens to gain an ethnobotanical perspective. Economic Botany. 2003;57(1):135-42.

[4] Zomorodian K, Saharkhiz MJ, Shariati S, et al. Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oils from Nepeta cataria L. against Common Causes of Food-Borne Infections. ISRN Pharmaceutics. 2012;2012:591953. doi:10.5402/2012/591953

[5] Bol S, Caspers J, Buckingham L, et al. Responsiveness of cats (Felidae) to silver vine (Actinidia polygama), Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica), valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and catnip (Nepeta cataria). BMC Veterinary Research. 2017;13.

[6] Zhu JJ, Zeng XP, Berkebile D, et al. Efficacy and safety of catnip (Nepeta cataria) as a novel filth fly repellent. Digital Commons @ University of Nebraska – Lincoln. 2009. Retrieved from

[7] American Chemical Society. Catnip repels mosquitoes more effectively than DEET. Science Daily. 2001. Retrieved from

[8] Reichert, William; Villani T, Pan MH, et al. Phytochemical analysis and anti-inflammatory activity of Nepeta cataria accessions. Journal of Medicinally Active Plants 2018;7(1):19-27.


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