When you think of catnip, furry felines probably come to mind. It isn’t just for cats, though. Catnip or Nepeta cataria Linn is a type of mint that cats just happen to love. However, we humans can also benefit from this tasty herb.
As a tea, catnip can be enjoyed just like other hot drinks. It can also treat your body to these five amazing health benefits – if your cat doesn’t get to it first!
1. Promotes Sleep
Can’t sleep? Drink catnip tea. It has a powerful sedative effect just like skullcap and valerian. This remedy also provides a safe, natural alternative to sleeping pills.1
If you don’t like the taste, try adding lemon or honey. You can also combine it with other relaxing teas such as chamomile.
Catnip tea can even help a colicky baby. It will promote calmness and relaxation, so you can get some sleep.2 Make sure to let the tea cool down first, and never give hot tea to an infant.
There isn’t a cure for colic, but catnip tea makes a great herbal remedy.
2. Relieves Muscle Spasms
If you’re prone to muscle spasms, catnip tea will benefit you. It’s a mild anti-spasmodic that can naturally relax those muscles.3
Spasms can happen for a lot of reasons. Often, it’s simply caused by overuse of a muscle during exercise. Dehydration, medicine, and menstruation might also be the culprit.
More serious causes include alcoholism and hypothyroidism.4 Catnip tea is good for calming muscle spasms, but the main problem should be addressed.
3. Treats Gas
Passing gas is normal, but it sure is embarrassing. However, catnip tea is a natural carminative, a drug that relieves gas.5 It can have a therapeutic effect and make you feel so much better.
Flatulence may develop from overeating, food allergies, or lactose intolerance. Even eating too fast can cause it, because you’re more likely to swallow lots of air. You can avoid this by taking your time and refraining from talking. It’s also a good idea to skip specific foods that give you gas.6
4. Promotes Menstruation
Aunt Flo runs on her own schedule. But if you want her to come earlier, catnip tea is your answer. It’s traditionally used to stimulate menstruation, making it a natural emmenagogue.7 This may be useful if you have an event coming up and want to avoid having your period then.
It will also help start a late period. Of course, do check that you aren’t pregnant first. If that’s not the cause, a late period may be caused by sickness, stress, intense exercise, medication, significant life changes, or weight fluctuations.8
Drinking catnip tea will encourage menstruation to start, and hopefully get you back on track.
5. Wards Off Cancer
Catnip may even lower your chances of cancer. According to research in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, there is an association between catnip extracts and cancer cell death. These findings suggest that this herb has cytotoxic chemicals that are powerful enough to have anti-tumor activity.9
Another study in Oncotarget discovered that catnip can regulate the cellular pathways related to cancer. It may be a viable therapeutic agent for lung cancer, along with other chronic conditions.10
You can find dried and fresh catnip at most health food stores. It’s also sold as packaged tea, so you can just steep it and drink. If you’re feeling adventurous, buy a catnip plant or grow it from the seed. This way, you’ll have healthy herbal tea at all times.
|↑1||Skullcap. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑2, ↑5, ↑7||Sarkar, Manisha, Rajat Rashmi, and P. N. Vikramaditya. “Pharmacognosy of Nepeta cataria.” Ancient science of life 14, no. 4 (1995): 225.|
|↑3||Catnip. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service.|
|↑4||Muscle Cramps. MedlinePlus.|
|↑6||Flatulence – Causes. NHS Choices.|
|↑8||Women’s Health. Princeton University, University Health Services.|
|↑9||Emami, Seyed Ahmad, Javad Asili, Shima HosseinNia, Rezvan Yazdian-Robati, Mehrdad Sahranavard, and Zahra Tayarani-Najaran. “Growth Inhibition and Apoptosis Induction of Essential Oils and Extracts of Nepeta cataria L. on Human Prostatic and Breast Cancer Cell Lines.” Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP 17 (2015): 125-130.|
|↑10||Fan, Jiaxin, Yongrui Bao, Xiansheng Meng, Shuai Wang, Tianjiao Li, Xin Chang, Guanlin Yang, and Tao Bo. “Mechanism of modulation through PI3K-AKT pathway about Nepeta cataria L.’s extract in non-small cell lung cancer.” Oncotarget (2017).|