Catnip (please don’t confuse with “catnap”) is a member of the mint family. It helps ingestion and reduces intestinal discomfort. Smoking catnip works as a mild sedative, gives a sense of calm and relaxed tranquility. Catnip can create a sense of relaxation, pleasure, and dizziness in animals, and seemingly, can also affect humans in almost a similar way. The catnip has a range of effects on humans and other animals and can be consumed in a variety of ways.
Catnip has long usage in China and some European countries for treating numerous health problems because catnip has some very useful medical properties. During the late 60’s, smoking catnip became very trendy and famous and it was a hallucinogen. People have been using Catnip for thousands of years for teas and tinctures, and people have also been smoking it, similar to smoking cannabis, white sage or mugwort, among others.
What is Catnip?
Catnip (scientific name: Nepetacataria) belongs to the mint family, as I already said. People first found this plant in Europe, though it has spread to other continents even where is it considered an invasive weed. The common name of the plant is fieldbalm and catswort. The plant’s main active ingredient is nepetalactone, a plant terpenoid (an organic chemical) that affects the central nervous system in both cats and humans in two different ways.
Though sometimes we like to state it as “kitty Pot”, Cat’s reactivity to catnip is not universal. It is inherently determined, affecting around 70-80 % of cats, confirmed by Scientific American. If your cat doesn’t appear to like catnip, then make sure you are giving it the original one. If your cat still doesn’t show any reaction, then he or she may be in the rest of 20-30% of cats for whom it is nothing but a regular green plant.
Uses of Catnip
Catnip can be good for digestion; it acts as a sedative, tranquilizer, promoter of menstruation, fruitful treatment for infantile colic etc.
While using this plant as the form of drink (tea), its aromatic flavor is a medicine for cold flue and cough. It provides relief in case of chest burn and also relaxes body muscles. This plant helps sweating, which is the traditional way of treating fever. In case of a toothache, you can use the leaves of this plant. Chewing the leaves of this plant will release the pain. And the smoke of the leaves can cure bronchitis and asthma too.
Some other uses of Catnip may include Mosquito repellent. The early study advises that using catnip oil or certain catnip chemicals to the skin may help deter yellow fever mosquitos.
And also, to treat some medical conditions like
- Migraine headaches.
- Stomach upset.
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
- Increasing urination.
- Treatment of worms.
- Starting menstruation in girls.
How to Take Catnip?
If you want to drink catnip tea, take 25 grams of it, boil for a few minutes in a liter of water and leave for 10 minutes off the stove. Strained and if you want, you can add some honey or sugar. Drink the first cup of tea and wait for a while for the effects before you drink another cup.
For the treatment of colds, flu, and fever, but also to ease digestion, fight flatulence, diarrhea, and colic, taking catnip is good for you. It also plays relaxant and antispasmodic action to combat insomnia, stress and menstrual cramps. It is recommended to pour two teaspoons of dried flowers or two tablespoons of fresh catariadried leaves in two deciliters (equal to two-tenths of a liter) of boiling water. After leaving to brew for 5-10 minutes, filter the plant and drink 1-4 cups a day, if possible between meals. This infusion intake is okay for children too.
Use 10 to 15 drops of catnip tincture in a glass of water or a fruit juice, from 1-4 times a day. The tincture is fine to consumed by children as well, in doses of 1 drop per year of age.
From 1-2 drop of catnip essence mixed with honey up to three times a day. Catnip essential oil is NOT recommended to consumed by children.
Benefits of Smoking Catnip
Human responses to catnip vary based on whether the plant is inhaled or taken as a tea, juice or tincture. Catnip tea is applied to improve feelings of calm and to cure chest congestion and muscle stiffness; some people also notified that catnip tea has a mild hypnotic effect and makes a good evening relaxation and even can be used as a natural sleep herb. Some users who have tried both tea and smoking, report that catnip tea is actually more soothing on the stomach than smoking it. Below we have described some of the key benefits of taking this herb inside your body:
Some people have informed that smoking catnip can work as a purge that helped them to flush out the digestive system in the case of constipation, bloating, cramping or other gastrointestinal dysfunction or discomfort.
The sedative effect of this herb is known to endorse restful and stable sleep. When mixed with damiana or valerian before smoking, catnip may even improve the richness of your dreams.
Enhanced Body Warmth
Anecdotal evidence reports the warming result of catnip; however, it slowly soaks into the body and make the body temperature higher, starting in the throat and neck and then moving down into the chest. This can be comforting on a winter night and can cause sleep quickly.
If you suffer from nervousness, insomnia or any mental disorders, smoking this herb could affect the allayed symptoms. Except for probable time dilation, there are no psychoactive consequences of this herb, but it is helpful to calm a bothered mind after a long day.
Reduction of Toothaches
People chew the leaves and place them in their gum in order to heal toothaches, but smoking catnip may also do.
Smoking catnip is able to stimulate uterine contractions, which is directly linked to menstruation.If you have irregular periods, smoking this herb may assist you to get you back on the track.
The obvious effects of catnip likely to fade in about a couple of hours for a small dose, returning people to their normal state with very less or no significant hangover. So not only can you smoke catnip, but it usually provides quite a pleasing experience overall!
Despite some of its remarkable benefits outlined above, there are also some negative side effects when it is smoked in an excessive amount, such as the following:
There have not been any reports of poisonousness while smoking, but the nepetalactone can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people, and headaches or lightheadedness along with it. Due to the negative effect on uterine contractions of this herb, women while pregnant should not smoke it.
Safety & Precautions
Some people experience a deficiency in coordination and feelings of sleepiness also, which they define as comparable to reasonable liquor drunkenness. Like alcohol, these effects typically depart if you lie down for a while. Catnip may also make it difficult to form complex thoughts temporarily, so plan your evening accordingly if you decide to try smoking catnip for yourself.
For Kids’ Issues
Most probably Catnip is not safe for children if taken orally. There has been one report of a child feeling stomach pain, irritability, and slowness after taking catnip tea.
For Women’s Issues (Menorrhagia, Pregnancy and breastfeeding)
It is possibly unsafe to take catnip during pregnancy. There is some evidence that catnip can stimulate the uterus. Pregnant women should avoid smoking or drinking catnip as this plant can potentially cause uterine contractions. This might cause even a miscarriage.
There is not adequate reliable data about the safety of taking catnip if you are breastfeeding. But its always better to stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Unusually excessive bleeding at menstruation called Menorrhagia. Since catnip can cause menstruation, it might make heavy menstrual periods even worse.
Please ensure, if you are driving or do any activities that need coordination and fast reaction time (outdoor sports, for example), its best to avoid using it, unless until you know how your body responds to catnip.
Catnip is likely to slow down the central nervous system (CNS), can contribute to drowsiness and other negative effects. Anesthesia is used during and after surgery also slow down the CNS too. No wonder that using catnip along with Anesthesia might slow down the CNS at extensive levels. So, you should not use catnip for a minimum of two weeks prior to your scheduled surgery.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID):
Women with PID should avoid using catnip because it can start menstruation.
How to Grow Catnip Plant?
You might want to plant and grow a catnip by yourself. As a long-lived plant, this herbaceous flowering plant is easy to grow and will reappear each year if taken proper care. Keep in mind that catnip requires plenty of room and sunlight to grow and flourish, more like most cats. Once it grows, you will have the most famous house in the neighborhood –especially among the feline population.
The flowers of this herbal plant can be white or lavender in color with purple reddish spots. This plant has a minty type of scent and blooms for 3 or 4 months starting from June to September.
No one needs to be an experienced gardener to grow their own catnip or catmint. Both are really easy to grow, drought-resistant and need very less caring. The plants are hard, growing in either poor or rich soil. If you decide to grow Nepeta for your cat, just ensure you are growing real catnip, Nepeta Cataria. It can be grown in containers too but won’t flourish there as it will if planted on the ground.
Plant catnip in a place where your cats can rub and roll in it without harming neighboring plants. Some cats love catnip so much that they lie and roll on it and chew it as much as they can. If your cat behaves the same, then put some 12 to 24-inch-long bamboo sticks or thin dowels every 3 to 4 inches away inside the plant area to make it impossible for a cat to lie on top of the plant.
For indoor cats, make several containers that you can switch between outdoors and indoors. This plant would want a lot of sunlight, so you’ll need to move indoor pots back out to the outdoor every couple of weeks and bring in new ones.
You may think about growing catnip near the vegetable garden too, as a mean to lure your cat and thus keep away the rodent population from your garden.
The catnip leaves are easy to dry and store for the winter. At the end of the growing season, simply clip stems with leaves and blooms. Lay them flat on a paper towel or hang them somewhere dry out of direct sunlight (and out of reach of your cat too!). This way you and your cat would be able to enjoy the fresh-dried leaves and flowers all the year long.
Catnip plant, as well as usage, reported to be completely legal anywhere in the world except in the UK, the region was announced to ban the herb a few years ago, though it is not confirmed yet. The Food and Drug Administration of the USA has labeled catnip as a plant of ‘undefined safety’. Nevertheless, it has to be noted that there has been no incident of a toxic reaction to this plant. So it is fit for smoking.
Since Nepeta species are clearly not toxic to humans, smoking of catnip can have some common side effects like a headache or nausea. Especially those trying it out for the first time can feel it. But if the dose is large, people may experience dizziness after smoking it.
The suitable dose of catnip depends upon a few factors such as the user’s age, health, and numerous other conditions. At this moment there is not sufficient scientific information to determine appropriate doses for catnip.
You should keep in mind that not all natural and organic products are absolutely safe, and dosages can be vital too. So, be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and check with a doctor or other healthcare professional before consuming catnip.