Catnip: Get Your Cat Blazed

Some wild catnip started growing in my back yard this summer, and I got pretty excited. It’s pretty easy to recognize because its smell is similar to that of marijuana. The leaves are fuzzy and it has tiny clusters of purple or white flowers blooming out of the tops of the stems. A member of the mint family, catnip not only will have your fuzzy friend harmlessly tripping balls, it also has several medicinal uses for humans.

Nepetalactone is the chemical that will have your cat raiding your fridge and trying to have really deep conversations about life. But it’s not the only chemical in this minty little wonder. According to my personal bible, Prescription for Nutritional Healing (4th edition!) there are a bevy of other chemicals swirling around in there, including: alpha-humulene, beta-elemene, camphor, carvacrol, caryophyllene, citral, citronellal, geraniol, mycrene, piperitone, pulegone, rosmarinic acid, and thymol.

Humulene has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties.

Elemene has shown promise for assisting in the treatment of lukemia and solid tumors. (To be fair, though, the study concluding this has been criticized; I’m personally waiting anxiously to hear of a new study.)

Camphor has been used in products like Vick’s VapoRub, and has been applied on the skin to help with pain and itching.

Carvacrol has demonstrated antibacterial abilities.

Caryophyllene has shown some cancer fighting potential as well as anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties.

Citral smells like lemons. Yay!

Citronellal repels mosquitoes like a motherfucker.

Geraniol has inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells.

Mycrene is used in perfumes.

Pulegone is also used in perfumes. In high levels like those found in penny royal, it’s bad for pets. GOOD THING CATNIP AIN’T PENNY ROYAL!

Rosmarinic Acid has shown antiviral properties, as well as  antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It is also an antioxidant.

Thymol is used as an antiseptic.

Holy shit. That’s a lot of compounds. Traditionally, catnip has been used to repel mosquitoes and to help aid digestion, sleep, anxiety, inflammation, pain, stress, cold and the flu. Clearly unicorns at some point cried out catnip seeds. It also contains calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon and zinc.

Obviously before taking catnip medicinally you need to talk with a doctor or holistic practitioner to determine if you specifically are healthy enough or have any contraindications to taking catnip. Once they’ve deemed you worthy there are a variety of catnip options, varying from enemas (OH GOD WHY) to simple teas. Personally having things up my ass makes me a tad uncomfortable, so I opt for tea. You can buy dried tea commercially or do what I do and harvest a bit of it yourself. You can steep the fresh leaves in near boiling water or do the same for the dried variety.

Cat with a glazed look in its eyes, captioned "Dude... What, what?"

Just don’t forget to share with your cats.

12 replies on “Catnip: Get Your Cat Blazed”

My mom is an herbalist. She has me on catnip as much as possible. It’s a decent way to deal with what I think of as white noise anxiety- the anxiety that is there buzzing in the background all the time, but hasn’t latched on to anything specific. Also, great for those health issues. I’m supposed to have a cup of catnip + Lemon Balm tea every day but I’m not great at keeping on that regimen.

I know a number of people who are on it because they’ve had to quit smoking Marijuana. They smoke the catnip, which again has the anti-anxiety properties that might have an impact on the psychological distress that can come from quitting. This seems to work best, though, for people who were using it to self medicate or who had been on it in a state where MJ was prescribed legally.  It’s not top notch, but it does seem to help people.

Also, before tea came into Britan, catnip tisanes (herbal teas are actual tisanes!) were the equivalent of what tea became. It makes sense, as some people react badly to not having much sun exposure. Having a mild anti-anxiety substance can help. (Though some of my friends wouldn’t have it work- but they are from areas where there is a lot of sunlight, and so their bodies aren’t made for having such low levels of it. One of my friends of indigenous No. Amer descent not only became seriously depressed when she moved to the UK, but lost bone density- but that’s another issue about sun deprivation altogether.)

Celestial Seasonings’ Tension Tamer tea has catnip in it and it’s quite good. I should drink some tonight, really.

The cats I used to have were funny on the nip. One of them wasn’t very active generally, but after chewing up catnip, she’d be rolling around and running through the house like crazy. The other cat was the paranoid stoner — she’d eat the catnip and look at us like, “Wait a minute! Why are you drugging me?! WHAT DID YOU DO?!?! GAAAH!” and she’d hide until it wore off.

I had no clue catnip could help as a mosquito repellent. I really need to fill the yard with it. Well, maybe just the front yard, so the neghborhood cats won’t have to dodge the beagle to get a buzz …

I’m snickering at the idea of my font yard as a flophouse for delinquent pussies :-D

I have two cats, and only one loses hit tiny mind for the nip. He’ll push it all into a pile on the floor and roll in it, then he starts tweaking out. My other cat doesn’t get much from it, but she does suffer the wrath of Atticus when he’s in his IMMA HUNT YOU catnip mode.

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