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Catnip And Your Health

By Chisom Ibemere

Catnip botanically called Nepeta cataria is known by other names such as catswort, catwort, catmint field balm, odu ngwele (Igbo) and egba owo opolo (Yoruba).

It is an aromatic herb which belongs to the mint family. While it is popularly known for its exciting effects on cats, it offers various nutritional and health benefits when consumed by humans.

Catnip plant has been consumed as a tisane, juice, tincture, infusion, or poultice, and sniff. It can help to relieve indigestion, bloating and stomach discomfort.

It has mild sedative properties and can promote relaxation and help reduce anxiety and stress. It has a calming effect and is sometimes used as a natural remedy to help improve sleep quality and treat insomnia.

Catnip leaf has been used in traditional medicine to alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions, including coughs, congestion, and bronchitis. It is known to relax the uterus and muscles, providing relief from menstrual cramps and discomfort.

Catnip leaf possess antimicrobial properties, potentially helping to fight against certain bacteria and fungi. The compounds in catnip leaf may support the nervous system and help reduce nervousness, tension, and headaches.

Catnip leaf contains antioxidants that help protect against oxidative stress and may contribute to overall health and wellbeing. It reduces ageing due to its anti-inflammatory effects. It has a mild analgesic action, which may provide relief from minor aches and pains.

Catnip is consumed as tea.

Preparation

Bundle catnip into small groups of stalks together and loosely place them upside down in clean paper bags. Hang the bags in a dark, dry place until the plants inside have dried completely. Depending on the temperature of your drying area, this process can take just a couple of weeks to about a month, or even days.

Dried catnip is fragile and crumbly. Use your hands to break the leaves and flowers into small bits. Discard the stems as you go. Now, your dried catnip can be brewed for tea or included in homemade cat toys.

 

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