Medicinal uses by herbalists: bruises, piles, head scabs; stimulates sweats; colds; flu; fever; sedative; migraines; menstrual cramps; tension; anxiety; fatulence; indigestion; diuretic; toothache; colic in babies.  [page 370]
Catnip is not just a psychoactive treat for cats, it also has a history of use in traditional herbalism by human beings. Both the leaf and the flower of the plant are used.  The effects can be described by alternative practitioners as blissful, sedating, and tranquil. It's also a member of the mint family. Below i'll talk about the scientific understanding of the plant, and its active constituents.
Catnip contains an alkaloid called nepetalactone, which is a volatile oil similar to that found in the valerian root.[2 page 370] Volatile means its easily evaporated. Having this in mind, it's obvious that it can be distilled and collected.  This alkaloid is a phytochemical which the plant creates. This is how holistic remedies are believed to work. These plants actually create pharmacological alkaloids which demonstrate medicinal qualities( see my citations via scholar.google.com ). Too many people are unaware of this, and that's where I believe the general doubt in medicinal plants originates.
It's very interesting to know that Catnip oil contains the compound iridodial, which attracts lacewings, which eat aphids and mites. After learning this, I decided to use it in a recipe that I came up with for protecting plants in my garden. I combine the Catnip, Wormwood, and Mullein leaf and seed. All of the plants are ground, added to a coffee filter, tied off, and thrown in a spray bottle with 25% alcohol and 75% water. The alcohol extracts these phytochemicals. It can be safely sprayed on plants to protect them from natural predators.
Sense the active oils are volatile and easily evaporate, I want to share with you an effective method for making Catnip tea. Add a drop of oil to the boiler with the water and herb. This prevents the water from boiling over. Cover the boiler with a lid. Bring it to a boil and then immediately lower the heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes. You can also turn it off and set it to the side to cool for about 10 minutes. This will keep the volatile oils in the boiler with the herb. It can also be made into a tincture or added to infuisions to synergize with the properties of similar herbs.
It's my belief that Catnip is like the Marijuana of cats. While they don't smoke it, they surely know what it is. It's a good way to let your cats have fun and live a little. Sense it's in the Mint family, it's most likely good for their stomach. I'm sure it's good for them in some way. All creatures enjoy a natural psychoactive treat I think. On a final note, I'd like to add that my Native American friends use it like any other calming herbs such as Passion Flower, as well as for a natural mosquito repellant! They just mix a tea and tincture together and apply it directly to their skin and clothes. Watch out though, you might get malled by a pack of cats !
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