Thursday, July 16, 2009
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Monday, July 6, 2009
A little-known herb. A common weed for some. Many, who do remember it from their childhood days, say their grandmothers grew and, now that they think on it, used it.
I did not grow up around herb usage. I stumbled upon herbs as an adult. But, it was love at first stumble. I am still fascinated by the properties of so many of our herbs. There seems to be many definitions of that term: herbs. But, I find I like this one: whatever plant material that benefits the body. This means edible flowers, veggies, fruits, and mushrooms, too.
But, catnip is an herb not commonly used. I think it should be. Here are the many reasons for thinking so.
Catnip as an Insect Repellant
Catnip is a very effective insect repellant against mosquitoes, other kinds of flies (like gnats and no see-ums), and cockroaches. I find it works just slapping the branch of a catnip plant on my person. However, catnip macerated in an oil works, too; as well as catnip essential oil in a spray (even though it is catnip, do not use this on your cat – they do not process essential oils through their liver very well). Studies back this natural insect repellant claim. Check the following sites out:
There are many, many sites you may explore for more studies of this type. Google catnip studies. You may also be interested in the strewing properties of catnip.
Catnip as a Nervine Tea
The first few books I picked up on herbs indicated Catnip tea would settle the nerves. I had also read bee balm (monarda) tea relaxes the muscles. I thought – what a magnificent pair. So, I made tea from these two herbs many, many times. It is a knockout flavor with a wonderful feeling of contentment when I enjoy this brew. I also think you shouldn’t drink an herbal tea on the run – it is to be enjoyed thoroughly while relaxing and putting our feet up to do so. Now, some say that is what relaxes a person – sitting down to drink the tea. Well, and if it is? I, personally, think the combination of sitting and drinking the tea is what does the trick. They both work toward relaxing our bodies.
My infant son also knows catnip tea. By the dropper, he learned the benefits of catnip on the colon and digestive involuntary muscles – relaxing them so that he could pass gas.
The following sites indicate others who advocate drinking catnip tea. This is also a controversial subject.
Catnip with its side effects
This is a new side of catnip for me. My books only mention women expecting a baby should avoid catnip because of its effect on menstruation. I had a customer who is taking neurontin to check online to see if it is okay to also drink catnip tea. Well, I did, and first I found this:
ith+catnip&source=bl&ots=wFfVNmVRRg&sig=gjRpsuaeOipqJCKRtgY7F3B7WgI&hl=en&ei=AQBSSufmD4OGtgeWjMyyBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6 on page 155 – reads the warning I found the day I researched this for her. Today, I’m trying to find that same site – and I cannot find it after several, several searches. But, instead, I found a few serious sites that back data that there are no serious interactions documented that deal with catnip. See these sites:
http://www.drugs.com/npc/catnip.html (at this site, I checked the interactions page – and none came up.)
http://www.peacehealth.org/kbase/cam/hn-2063002.htm (this site indicates catnip is not very powerful, period.)
So, I have to go back with my gut feeling and say catnip is safe. But, I sure would use low doses if I took other medicines just to be safe. I wonder, too, if we are only pawns in some power game, and really must decide this for ourselves. ?
This is a long blog – and I apologize. Catnip is not a very simple herb. But, it is wonderful. I hope you have a chance to experience it sometime.
Today, I’m listing a new product – Catnip Oil. I macerate my own catnip leaves in extra virgin olive oil and hemp seed oil. When I bottle it, I add a bit of jojoba for a longer shelf life and a thinner application. It is awesome for me in repelling no see-ums. And, this is one the studies seem to back up, esp. for mosquitoes and cockroaches. $8.00 for a 2 fl. oz. glass bottle of pure catnip oil, no fragrance or essential oils added, so that our young people may use it safely, too.