Originally from Europe and Asia, minty, lemony, potent catnip -- Nepeta cataria -- has long been associated with cats.
Even its Latin-derived cataria means "of a cat."
Catnip's allure is in its volatile oil, nepetalactone. Found in catnip's leaves, stems, and seeds,
it only takes one or two sniffs of that wondrous oil before susceptible felines are licking, chewing, and rolling in kitty bliss.
And research shows that cats big and small adore this weedy, invasive member of the mint family.
Used in traditional medicine in Europe for centuries, catnip was prized for its ability to calm and promote restful sleep.
It is a relaxant and diaphoretic, and was thus helpful in cases of occasional restlessness.
Considered extremely useful for children, it was often used to support healthy digestion and soothe the stomach.
It can be applied externally as a poultice or may be made into a juice too for topical application.
It is mainly the flowering tops, dried for tea or fresh as an essential oil that are used
The leaves and young shoots were added to sauces and stews for flavor (like a mix of mint and pennyroyal).
No known precautions.