What is Catnip
What is catnip: Catnip is a very aromatic, perennial herb that belongs to the mint family. What is catnip used for? This is the herb that cats famously go crazy for! As for humans, it is commonly used to make tea. Catnip tea has a calming or relaxing effect. Catnip is also used in traditional medicine and may be able to treat of host of conditions and illnesses. The herb is native to Europe and Asia and now has over 250 varieties.
Where to Buy Catnip
If you live in Canada, and looking where to buy catnip, you can buy catnip seeds here. Catnip is very easy to grow from seed and it can be grown indoors.
It’s the chemical nepetalactone in catnip that causes cats to go nuts for it. Not all cats though are effected by the herb. Approximately 30% of cats are not affected by it, and the cats that are affected by catnip are affected to varying degrees. When a cat is affected by catnip it may paw at it, lick it, or even hiss at it, and generally go nuts. The cat might lose interest in it, but then in a few hours go through the same ritual again. Catnip is in no way harmful for cats, and they can’t “overdose” on it whatsoever. Cats are attracted to the smell of it so make sure you bruise or crush the leaves. Catnip also affects wild, and large cats such as lions and tigers.
Catnip is also a great herb for human consumption. While catnip has a stimulating affect on cats it has the opposite affect on humans. It is often made into a tea with the leaves and flowers. For hundreds of years catnip has been used as a sedative to help treat insomnia. It is also used to treat gas and digestive problems, scarlet fever, cough, headaches, motion sickness, anxiety, stress, nervousness, and many other problems. Pregnant women should avoid catnip. To prepare catnip tea place 1-2 tablespoons of fresh catnip leaves into a cup, add boiling water, and let steep for 10-15 minutes.
How to Grow Catnip From Seed
Catnip is hardy in zones 3 to 9. The plant can grow over 3 feet tall (1 meter). Catnip will do will in most soil types, but it prefers rich, loamy, and well draining soil. Catnip is propagated by seed, and it is easy to germinate the seeds. Use sterilized black earth mixed with peat moss, water the soil so that it is moist but not soggy, then surface so the seeds. Catnip seeds require light to germinate, so if growing indoors just let them sit on top of the soil. If germinating the seed outdoors lightly cover the seed with soil or peat moss. Catnip prefers moist soil with a pH of 6.1 to 7.8. Catnip grows best under full sun, but it will tolerate partial shade. The seed with germinate in 2-3 weeks. It is easier to start the seeds indoors and then transplant them outside after risk of frost is past.
Growing catnip in your garden is very easy. Once established it requires very little maintenance. Even if you don’t own a cat, catnip makes a great tasting tea, and a nice gift to your cat owning friends. Thank you for reading my article! If you have any questions or information to share, please let me know.
Other Names and Varieties of Catnip
Common catnip, lemon catnip, Greek catnip, catmint, camphor catnip, Japanese catnip, catnep, catrup, catswort, field balm, English catnip, nip, nep.