The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Nepeta cataria L.
  • Lamiaceae
  • Mint family

Common Names

  • Catmint
  • Catnep
  • Catrup
  • Catswort
  • Chi-hsueh-ts’ao
  • Field balm
  • Nep

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Parts Usually Used

Leaves, fresh or dried
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Catnip is a perennial herb of the mint family. Its erect, square, branching stem is hairy and grows from 3-5 feet high. The oblong or cordate, pointed leaves have scalloped edges and gray or whitish hairs on the lower side. The bilabiate flowers are white with purple spots and grow in spikes; these are small and hooded, and grow in crowded whorls from June to September. The plant has a pleasant, aromatic odor.
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Where Found

Found in disturbed habitats throughout much of North America. Native to Europe. Common inhabitant of hedges and waste places.
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Medicinal Properties

Anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac (for cats), aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, nervine, emmenagogue, sedative (for humans), stimulant, tonic
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Biochemical Information

Acetic acid, biotin, buteric acid, choline, citral, dipentene, inositol, lifronella, limonene, manganese, nepetalic acid, volatile oils, PABA, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur, valeric acid, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12.
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Good-tasting aromatic tea. Old country favorite in England even before oriental tea was introduced there. High in vitamin C. Stimulates the appetite if served cold before meals; aids digestion if served hot after meals. Hot tea also makes a soothing nightcap.

Catnip has been used since Biblical times as a tea; it has a calming effect on humans. It’s extremely exciting and attractive to cats, who are apt to romp in and tear up the plants, which does not effect their health.

From an English herbalist comes the sobering advice that the root of catnip “when chewed is said to make the most gentle person fierce and quarrelsome, and there is a legend of a certain hangman who could never screw up his courage to the point of hanging anybody till he had partaken of it”.

In Colonial times, catnip tea was much used as a substitute for hard-to-get chamomile flowers. Catnip grew like weeds wherever the pioneers lived. Like chamomile, the warm tea was used for infants and children to soothe their stomach (simple colic) and help them sleep. Catnip tea is still very popular among folks living in isolated communities in the Cumberland Mountains, Kentucky and the Ozarks.

Rats are said to be repelled by catnip; so it might be a suitable protective plant around grain crops. In fact, The Herbalist Almanac tells of catnip growing around buildings of old farms because of an old belief that the odor of this plant drove off rats. The plants were set as a barricade around the buildings.

One beekeeper is sold on catnip; claims catnip yields considerable honey. If there is any plant that should be cultivated specially for honey it should be catnip he declares.
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Catnip is one of the oldest household remedies.

Controls fever (catnip enemas reduce fever quickly). Good for colic, colds, flu, inflammation, pain, chickenpox, leaves chewed to relieve toothache, and convulsions. Stimulates the appetite. Aids digestion and sleep. Relieves stress, promotes sweating, relieves painful menstruation, used to promote menstruation. Popular uses in Europe are for chronic bronchitis and for diarrhea.

A tbsp. steeped in a pint of water and used as an enema is soothing and quieting, especially in children, and very effective in convulsions, and for expelling worms in children. Leaves bruised and applied to hemorrhoids eases the pain.
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Formulas or Dosages

Never boil catnip.

Infusion: use 1 tsp. herb with 1 cup boiling water. Steep only; do not allow to boil. Take 1-2 cups a day.

Tincture: take 1/2 to 1 tsp. at a time.
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Nutrient Content

Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12 and C.
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How Sold

Capsules: take 1 to 3 daily.

Extract: mix 1/2 to 1 tsp. in 1/2 cup warm water and drink as a tea.
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Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

Buy It! Country Home Book of Herbs, Meredith Books, Editorial Dept. RW240, 1716 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309-3023, copyright 1994

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