circleoflifeunlimited Posts: 57 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Growing Medicinals

Catnip has really taken over around here so I want to understand it a bit better.

Of course the kitty's love it. It is awesome to add to tea blends for a subtle mellowing effect. And so much more!

Here is what I found out:

Catnip: Nepeta cataria

Mint family


Said to helps digestion, relaxation, antimicrobial, helpful with cramps, it is a tonic.

Also is antifungal and an insect repellant. Bees love it!

I love herbs that show that they really want to be here! I planted a small plant a couple of years ago and since then it just keeps spreading on its own. Now it is all over the place! The goats don't eat it, so it does not need to be in the fenced garden.

I've been using catnip in teas for a long time. I think I'll experiment with using it as a culinary spice and see how that goes.



  • tammyrichardsmt9
    tammyrichardsmt9 Posts: 109 ✭✭✭

    We love catnip in tea!! Great for relaxing.

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    @circleoflifeunlimited Great way to phase it-"herbs that show that they really want to be here!". LOL And the catnip really wants to be here, love it too.

  • blevinandwomba
    blevinandwomba Posts: 813 ✭✭✭✭

    I have tried it as an insect repellent. It was only mildly effective, but I may not have applied it properly. It just pinch off a piece and rubbed on exposed skin. On the plus side, when I came inside my cats were very affectionate with me.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    Hi @circleoflifeunlimited we just had the showing of home made insect repellants with Julie James - catnip is really awesome as an insect repellant. Yup, you do need to make it into something more than just pinching a bud and rubbing on you... I've purchased from a local herbalist a catnip based repellent and went on a backpacking trip into mosquito heaven... It really worked. You have to reapply more than a DEET based spray, but I'm good with that.

    Let me look for the link to get you access to that video. @Linzi do we have a url for the free showing of how to make an insect repellant? I thought we had a dedicated url for access to that?

  • Leslie Carl
    Leslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    I use to use catnip tea for my baby's colic. It's gentle enough for infants.

  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    My catnip dried up in the 100 degree heat. Hopefully it will come back in cooler weather. Last year I set up shade cloth over my beds to keep things going during the summer but I never got around to that this year and most of the herbs have turned browned. I may set up a new raised bed in partial shade and transplant some there next spring.

  • anectarine1
    anectarine1 Posts: 27 ✭✭✭

    I keep catnip in a pot. My cats love sitting in that pot and nibbling on it. I haven’t tried it in tea yet. Does it need to be dried to use it as a tea or can I use it fresh?

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I keep catnip as a houseplant for my inside-only cats. (I also purchase wheatgrass for them to eat.) I may try making a tea with fresh plant just to see how the cats react!

    FYI: Catnip grown outside gets stressed and concentrates the oils. The cats seem to prefer the stronger stuff.

  • Would love to see the recipe for insect repellent with catnip!

    Catnip (just like most green herbs) can be used both fresh and dried.

    I dry a lot of plants for winter use. Like making salves, medicines, powders for tinctures etc. Keep your dried plant material in an air tight container in a cool dark place to preserve nutrients.

  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    There is a catnip insect repellent recipe at the following website -

  • I used to make an essential oil based spray with catnip oil that was very effective. I'm out of town visiting my brother for a bit but when I return home I will look it up and post it if anyone is interested

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seeker.nancy Please do share that recipe. I grow catnip for my cats anyway -- using it also for myself would be great.

  • dimck421
    dimck421 Posts: 203 ✭✭✭

    I noticed the honey bees are loving the catnip.

  • The bees seem to like any kind of mint. I have I think seven kinds and they like them all. My catnip did not survive last year and I never got around to replacing it this year. How well does it start from seed?

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seeker.nancy I started a bunch of seed in the house successfully. I have had catnip die off outside and show up years later in another part of the yard.

  • Scott Sexton
    Scott Sexton Posts: 42 ✭✭✭

    Catnip is great for digestion, for babies, and for cats. ...and bees. ...and teas. It's usually really easy to grow, from seed or otherwise. But for me, it's been one of those plants that mysteriously refuse to grow in my yard. It seems to be saying, "No, not yet. You have what you need somewhere else. If you need me later, I'll come along."

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    catnip is a mild sedative. gentle tea for baby's for colic and teething. i have in a book that a tincture of fresh catnip with an equal weight of fennel seed in four times their total volume of vodka is very effective treatment for indigestion stomachache and hiccups-one fourth to half teaspoon in water.

    also a mild antispasmodic effect and may help with cramps but may increase menstrual flow there for probably shouldn't be used by pregnant women.

    Also it had a calming affect for dogs. like Valerian for humans

  • greyfurball
    greyfurball Posts: 591 ✭✭✭✭

    I have found a cat's garden has helped me to keep all my outdoor cats out of the regular garden beds.

    Loose soil is an amazing toy box to a cat so I couldn't keep them out until the beds were grown and filled in with foliage. I finally figured out if I made them their own garden (I use catnip, cat mint, cat grass and a few other cat favorites I have found the last few years) and it has worked well. They now have their own garden area to play in and they pretty much leave mine alone.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2020

    @shllnzl I just realized that I never gave you my formula for Bye Bye Bug. It is 8 parts Catnip, 8 parts Geranium, 7 parts Lavender, 7 parts Lemongrass. This is an essential oil based spray I used to make. It was 2% of the blend in 1 oz. of rubbing alcohol (I used organic grain alcohol but as long as it's a very high alcohol content) and 3 oz. distilled water. You could also just put 2% of the total in half vodka/half distilled water. This formula makes a fast drying spray. For my face I sprayed it onto my hands then rubbed it on; I did not want it in my eyes! If you have some or all of the herbs you could make an infusion and then add alcohol or even make a tincture then dilute for use. Hope this helps, it worked well for myself and the people who bought it. (For anyone reading this, please contact me if you wish to make it for sale or share it...this is proprietary info, thanks!)

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    While catnip is very gentle and makes a great herbal medicine for children and babies, it can also be very effective for adults. Great on its own or in combinations for nervousness and stress relief. Its diaphoretic properties make it good for colds and flus. Good for eruptive conditions such as measles and chicken pox, both as a tea, internally, and a wash, externally. Catnip can be a go-to for herbalists who may be treating bloody dysentery (used as an enema). Chamomile is generally thought of for teething babes but catnip or a catnip/chamomile combo is also effective.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seeker.nancy Thanks for the formula. I will make only for personal use.

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    Wow how can your catnip take off? Ours gets so attacked by our kitty cats that it doesn't have a chance. I have to keep it in pots and hide it and bring some out every now and then as a treat for them. Have you sown seed? Or is it self-sown?

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    @seeker.nancy i'm allergic to lavender. so id have to substitute that in your formula. but thanks also what kind of geranium, i have a storks bill or wild geranium would that work.

    @kmartin.mail let it go to seed and it will pop up everywhere! cause its in the mint family

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @kmartin.mail Years ago, I grew a catnip plant in my yard and cut off pieces to bring inside to my cats. The plant died off for some reason.

    A couple of years later, I discovered catnip growing in three different places in my yard, not including those that got mowed with the lawn grasses.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    @nksunshine27 I use rose lavender but you could probably get away with using the wild geranium. The most effective of the oils in this formula are the catnip for mosquitoes and the geranium for ticks. I don't remember it being great for repelling flies. They weren't the issue where I lived so I did not do further research on it.