Organic Emily

Medicinal Herb – Catnip


Medicinal Herb Post #20 written on June 25, 2018

Catnip – Nepeta catari

This perennial is part of the mint family. Square stem with alternating and opposing leaves coming off the stems. Don’t confuse it with nettles when foraging in the wild, they look very similar, however catnip has a more broad leaf and not as jagged around the edges.

Catnip calms the nervous system. It’s intoxicating for cats, but also is sedative for humans. It can be used to reduce chronic anxiety, headaches and helps with insomnia and mood swings. It’s very safe and is usually the first go to herb for children who are hyperactive. Catnip is great for clearing up digestive issues like constipation, colic/gas, cramping and bloating. Some lactating mothers have reported that after they drank catnip tea their babies had significantly less colic. It is also safe enough to give to baby on its own too. Catnip is also known as a diaphoretic, an herb that induces perspiration to help break fevers and eliminate waste via the skin. It can also help ease menstrual cramps and for this reason pregnant women should avoid it.

Just today I made a glycerite for bloated/colicky tummies. I used equal parts chamomile, catnip and fennel seeds (freshly ground). I use a 1:1 ratio of glycerine and purified water, covered the herbs by an inch or two, put a lid on it and set it on the counter out of sunlight for 2-4 weeks. Then I’ll strain and keep in an amber bottle stored in the fridge to keep it from growing bacteria. It’s very safe for babies, children and adults.

You could also use it for restless nights or irritable moments by combining chamomile, catnip, lemon balm and valerian as a tea or tincture.




Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, homeschool mom of 7 awesome kids, yoga/pilates instructor, a clinical and master herbalist, licensed massage therapist and soon to be traditional naturopath. She is a very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients, herbal and natural home care product recipes and loves teaching classes on gardening, plant identification and herbal remedy workshops. Check out the events and classes page for more info.

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