Catmint

 


NEPETA CATARIA

COMMON NAME : Catmint, catnep

FAMILY  :        Lamiaceae


HABIT / GROWING:

Native to Europe and temperate parts of Asia. Like the garden variety N. x faassenii but flowers white/ pale

pink with red or purple spots rather than lilac.


PARTS USED :   Herb harvested in August when in full bloom.


TRADITIONAL & MODERN USE:

Apparently used as seasoning as well as medicinally in France. The root was supposed to give courage. It has a folkloric reputation as a hallucinogen and a single case is reported of a child, having consumed large quantities, showing signs of CNS depression.


Particularly good as a mild nervine for children. Also used for childhood illnesses and in adults for relief of pain, flatulence and nervous headaches. As a sudorific (causes sweating) it relieves colds, flu & mild fevers by

gentle stimulation of circulation and free perspiration to expel toxins while also reducing upper respiratory congestion. It also relaxes bowel spasm and stimulates digestion to dispel flatulence and colic. The fresh juice can act as an emmenagogue (stimulates the uterus and can bring on menstruation). Externally it can be

applied as a poultice for the relief of painful swellings.


CONSTITUENTS:

·        A bitter iridoid actinidine (also found in Valerian) causes cats to roll around in ecstasy

·        nepetalactone which enhances activity of specific nervous system receptors may contribute to nervous

         system effects, it also repels insects such as mosquitoes.

 

Catmint (Garden variety)  Nepeta faassenii