Updated: Sep 16
Catnip isn't just for cats! You know the funny things your cat does on catnip? Well, it's estimated that approximately 50 to 70 percent of cats have a sensitivity to catnip that leads to those exciting and hilarious reactions due to their genetics (1). Catnip does the complete opposite to humans. Catnip, also known as Nepeta cataria, is a strong-smelling herb with dark green, oval tooth-shaped leaves with white flowering tops native to Central Europe and belongs to the mint family (2). This herb has medicinal purposes when used in teas, essential oils, and even herbal tinctures.
Benefits of Catnip
May Promote Sleep & Relieve Insomnia
Some health professionals recommend Nepeta cataria as a mild sedative for those struggling with nervous exhaustion or insomnia. Catnip contains nepetalactone, which is similar to valepotriates found in valerian, another commonly used herbal sedative (3). Combining other mildly sedating herbs with catnip like chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, or skullcap can add additional sedative-like benefits (4).
May Relieve Stress & Anxiety
Catnip has a calming and sedative-like effect that may also benefit those struggling with stress and anxiety. Catnip promotes relaxation and can benefit those with chronic stress and anxiety while also supporting overall mental health (5). Some herbalists even use catnip to help calm children with hyperactivity (6).
May Relieve Coughs, Cold, Fevers & Asthmatic Symptoms
Catnip is often used to help manage symptoms of colds like a cough or fever and asthmatic symptoms. Studies have found that Nepeta cataria has antispasmodic and bronchodilatory properties to soothe these symptoms (7). When you combine catnip with other herbs used to treat these symptoms, like licorice root or mullein, the benefits become greater (8). Catnip is also a diaphoretic herb, which means it can help the body sweat out a fever by inducing perspiration and assisting the body in riding infections more quickly (9).
May Reduce Inflammation & Pain
Catnip has anti-inflammatory benefits that help ease pain and inflammation both internally and externally. Catnip has traditionally been used for relieving arthritis, gout, headaches, and aching muscles and can also be used to ease menstrual cramps and gastrointestinal pain (10).
May Help With Gastrointestinal Disorders
Catnip has antispasmodic properties, meaning it can calm indigestion and cramps. Catnip also acts as a carminative, meaning it can relieve gas and help ease constipation and bloating. The anti-inflammatory benefits of the herb calm inflammation in the digestive system and help manage pain (11).
Potential To Be Used For Anticancer Treatment
Recent research has been looking at the potential for Nepeta cataria to be used as an anticancer treatment in humans. Nepeta cataria was essential in anticancer therapy recorded as far back as Traditional Chinese Medicine. One study investigated the effect of total flavonoid extracted from Nepeta cataria L. (TFS) through human lung cancer cell line A549 based on the microfluidic device and Flow Cytometry. They concluded that TFS might be used as a novel therapeutic agent for non-small cell lung cancer in the near future (12).
An insecticidal property is when a substance, or in this case, an herb, can kill, harm, repel or mitigate one or more species of insects (13). One study found that catnip repelled mosquitoes more effectively than DEET (14), which is the toxic ingredient you'll find in most mainstream bug repellants.
⚠️ Warning: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this herb is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything.
Contraindications & Interactions
The mainstream narrative will tell you to avoid catnip due to uterine modulator properties, so it won't cause contractions or loss of baby, but it will act on the uterus to keep it healthy.
Richard Whelan, a trusted herbalist since 1989, has had a single documented adverse reaction with this herb, but none during pregnancy. He states catnip is a highly safe herb that may be freely taken by young or old and during pregnancy and breastfeeding with no concern for toxicity (15).
Products I'd Recommend with Catnip
Earthley's Anxiety Relief is full of adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens help the body manage stress, remain calmer, and gently balance stress hormones. They benefit adrenal function, and healthy adrenals equal a healthier stress response. Combine those with gently relaxing and calming herbs, and you have a recipe for a good day! Anxiety Relief can relieve anxious feelings, improve mental clarity, decrease mild insomnia, and more!
Earthley's Calm and Clarity can help promote an even mood and a clearer mind. It can help your kiddo make it through the school day and help you make it through your work day. We include nourishing herbs high in natural vitamins and minerals and promote mental focus. Symptoms of anxiety and attention disorders may be reduced by taking Calm and Clarity. Feel more focused and have a sense of calm without pharmaceuticals!
Earthley's Infant Tummy Relief is special for little tummies but works for stomach upsets of all ages. It can help relieve pain associated with occasional gas, bloating, and even those pesky hiccups that babies are susceptible to. Unlike traditional gripe water, Infant Tummy Relief is free from artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives.
Earthley's Mama's Tummy Relief supports healthy liver function, banishes bloating and nausea, and promotes gut health. While it was formulated for expecting mamas, it’s also perfect for anyone with a general stomach upset!
Earthley's Natural Balance is made for women struggling with the ups and downs of hormones. This herbal remedy can help steady hormone levels and provide increased energy, calmness, and sleep quality. It is made with all-natural ingredients without those OTC medications that have unwanted side effects.
Earthley's Nourish Her Naturally was formulated specifically for women to fortify, improve, and nurture the female body. This tincture includes herbs packed with vitamins and minerals to help balance hormones, boost energy levels, and promote overall wellness.
Earthley's Postpartum Balance was created especially for mamas to help break down no-longer-needed pregnancy hormones, support hormone balance, and helps to lessen bleeding for an easier fourth trimester.
Earthley's Pregnancy Tea is a nourishing brew to support a healthy pregnancy! Every mom wants to ensure she and the baby get everything they need. Pregnancy Tea can help! This herbal formula contains all the nutrients you may miss in one tea blend.
Earthley's Sleepy Time Herbal Extract combines three powerful yet gentle herbs that promote restful sleep and peaceful nights. This herbal tincture is the perfect natural solution for the whole family.
Earthley's Teeth Tamer naturally soothes pain, drooling, and irritability due to tooth pain. Instead of using harmful medications or synthetic gels with unsafe ingredients and potential side effects, experience the relieving power of herbs. Whether you’ve got a toothache or a teething baby, Teeth Tamer is the best natural solution!