That title should make it obvious what herb I’m going to write about today: Nepeta cataria, or more commonly known as, Catnip.
Catnip typically conjures up cartoon images of helpless felines languishing about in the sun, looking like someone on a healthy dose of Cannabis…and, in this household, with 10 felines, that image is pretty accurate. I keep a quart-size mason jar in my pantry full of dried catnip; the moment I unscrew the lid, every feline comes running. And the effects are almost instantaneous as even my geriatric felines start rolling around like young kittens, only to nod off into dreamland shortly thereafter. They also like to eat the dried leaves and, as it is very good for them, I allow them to take all they want.
Catnip is a mild sedative and is an excellent remedy for nervousness and hyperactivity in children (m. Tierra 114). It is also a carminative (relieves gas and bloating) and a diaphoretic (induces sweating), helping to ease fevers and colds. However, it is the analgesic properties to which I have lately been putting Catnip to use (M. Tierra 32). Catnip relieves pain. And, as the mammary tumor grows under my Ariel’s right front leg, keeping her comfortable is important. At her age (she’s 16), surgery is no longer an option and, to be honest, I am not overly-confident it is the best course of action anyway. It is highly-invasive and extremely painful for them; I’ve witnessed it time and again. Ditto for many of the orthodox pain-relievers that eventually shutdown the major organs. Fortunately, our vet’s sister is an herbalist and he approves many of the herbal alternatives, carries many of their tinctures in his clinic. She is under his care, just not under the knife. And the Catnip does appear to ease her pain and discomfort. What’s more, it is a lot easier getting her to drink an eyedropper-full of Catnip “tea” than some of the orthodox remedies with their medicinal tastes.
For humans, Catnip tea is very good for easing headaches, toothaches, and the deep-down body aches and pains of fever and flu (Tierra 114). It also tastes good so give it a try. Your cats will love you.
May God bless you & keep you!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article has been presented for educational purposes only; it is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.”
Tierra, Michael. The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books, New York: 1998