Everybody has heard of catnip, but how many know what it really is? Catnip, also known as catmint, is well known and well-named because felines truly do enjoy the scent it gives off. Cats not only enjoy rubbing their furry little bodies up against the plant, but they eat it as if they are conscious of its medicinal attributes. Catnip is actually a mint, which may account for the attraction of it to cats, but like most other mints it has its use as a herbal remedy for humans too.
Catnip has been used in tea for centuries to soothe nagging respiratory problems. For one thing, catnip tea is a terrific stimulant for the human circulatory system. In addition, it stimulates the sweat glands to produce heavier perspiration which tends to relieve fevers. The decongesting properties of catnip when brewed in tea is such that many people head to the kitchen to make themselves a pot at the first indication of the onset of flu or cold symptoms. It has proven valuable beyond that, however; catnip tea is recommended for those suffering more intense respiratory ailments ranging from asthma to bronchitis.
Of course, there is another big reason why cats may go for catnip and that is the soothing, drug like effect. Catnip does possess some very relaxing qualities and might be worth looking into if you simply have trouble getting to sleep at night. Some people even swear that catnip is a great remedy for nightmares. The relaxing properties of catnip extend beyond merely giving you that peaceful feeling of utter contentment that most cats seem to enjoy, though. There seems to be something particularly good in the chemical makeup of catnip for the human digestive tract and it has long been used as a folk remedy to calm down babies suffering from colic. Some women contend that drinking catnip tea helps to alleviate the intense cramping that accompanies their period. In fact, such is the power of catnip to heal that a great many people would never think of taking Excedrin for a headache when they can boil up some catnip, soak a rag into it and lay it across their forehead.
If the idea of making catnip tea sounds positively atrocious to you, consider that catnip is extremely close to chamomile. If you have ever set down to a cup of chamomile tea, then catnip tea probably won’t be that big a leap. After all, when you think about it, most tea leaves really aren’t something that a normal person would look at and immediately think of soaking in water for a relaxing beverage. Another way to look at it is by looking at cats. How often do you see a cat behaving as if they were under stress? And, I mean come on, being a cat is a pretty stressful job. You’ve always got to be on the lookout for dogs and you’re always banging your head on the wall when the mice you’re chasing runs into the little hole. And don’t even get me started on those little yellow birds that pretend to be all sweet and nice, but are really sadistic jerks. Cats are among the most relaxed animals in the world. Surely, they must be onto something.
I think it’s the catnip.