In folk medicine, catnip leaves and flowers are usually steeped to make a pleasant tasting tea. Consumed prior to bedtime catnip tea is widely believed to hasten slumber and aid in achieving a restful nights sleep. It is also employed as a remedy in the treatment of tension and anxiety, and is mentioned as being a useful calmative for hyperactive children.
Some of the most important health benefits of catnip include
- its ability to calm restless sleep
- relieve anxiety and stress
- soothe menstrual pain
- help eliminate eating disorders
- ease stomach discomfort
- speed up the recovery from colds and fevers
- detoxify the body
- reduce inflammation throughout the body
- speed wound healing
In recent years the smoking the dried leaves of this herb has been mistakenly popularized in certain circles in the belief that one can attain intoxicating high similar to that produced by marijuana. This is now generally recognized as untrue, and was based upon a confusing similarity in the physical appearance of the two plants. Catnip is an extremely safe herb, and there are no listed warnings or contraindication.
The historical range of catnip uses include teas, juices, tinctures, extracts and salves.