- Herb of The Week - Catnip March 29, 2014 08:40

            This week, we'll be looking at the properties of the catnip plant. The Latin name for this plant is Nepeta cataria. It's other names include: Cataire, Catmint, Catnep, Catswort, Chataire, Field Balm, Herbe à Chat, Herbe aux Chats, Hierba Gatera, Menta de Gato, Menthe des Chats.

           

            Catnip is an ancient herb that has a long standing relationship with both mankind, and catkind. Growing native in Europe and Asia, it was used by Roman cooks and doctors. Records from England and France show that catnip was used as a hot drink before black tea became popular. European settlers brought catnip to the United States in the 1600's, introducing it to the Native Americans. There are records of the use of catnip from 13 different Native American tribes, who primarily used the herb for treating children. It was used for colic, treating diarrhea, colds and stomach aches.

            Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family. It has a square, hairy stalk with typically green-gray colored heart shaped leaves. Flowers grow in spires, reaching 1/2” in length.             Catnip is easily grown in any garden soul. It does not require the same moisture content as the other mints in its family. Its yield may be increased by dividing plants in the spring, or sowing seeds at the same time frame. Sow in rows, about 20 inches apart, thinning out the seedlings to about the same distance apart as the plants attain a considerable size. They require no attention, and will last for several years if the ground is kept free from weeds. The germinating power of the seeds lasts five years. Catnip is an attractive border plant, especially in conjunction with Hyssop, as the soft blues blend pleasingly. It is also a suitable plant for the rock garden.

            The main effects of catnip are inducing relaxation, reducing fever, helping control bladder function, relieving colic, relieving digestive and menstrual cramping, and as an insect repellent.

            Catnip is usually taken by tea infusion, although it can be taken in a tincture, in food, or in capsule form.

 

            Ailments which indicate treatment with catnip include: Insomnia, Migraine headaches, Cold/flu, Fever, Hives, Upset stomach, Flatulence, Anxiety, Arthritis, Bladder control, Cramps, and Hemorrhoids.

 

            The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

            It is not recommended to take catnip if you are pregnant or breast-feeding; if you are taking a narcotic; or if you are going into surgery.

 

Fact Breakdown:

 

            Latin Name:  Nepeta cataria

 

            Medicinal Actions: Carminative, Tonic, Diaphoretic, Refrigerant, Slightly emmenagogue, especially antispasmodic, mildly stimulating

 

            Indications: Insomnia, Migraine headaches, Cold/flu, Fever, Hives, Upset stomach, Flatulence, Anxiety, Arthritis, Bladder control, Cramps, Hemorrhoids.

 

            Contraindications:  While pregnant or breast-feeding; concurrently with prescription drugs or psychiatric medications; going into surgery.

 

Links:

   

 

Botanical – Catnip

 

              http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/c/catmin36.html

 

 

 Wellness Mama – Catnip

 

              http://wellnessmama.com/4525/herb-profile-catnip/

 

 

 

 

This week we're doing not only one, but two recipes. One for you, and one for the feline/s in your life.

 

For You:

- Catnip Cookies -

Ingredients:

 

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup soy flour

1 teaspoon Catnip

1 egg

1/3 cup of milk

1 tablespoon molasses

2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (Approx 200°C). 

Mix the whole wheat and soy flours and catnip together in a bowl.  

Add in the wet ingredients – molasses, egg, oil, and milk.  

Oil a baking tray and set aside.

Flour the bench slightly and roll mixture the mixture out flat.

Cut into bite-sized pieces, using a sharp knife, pizza cutter or even little cookie cutters if you have some.

Arrange on the tray and then put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Let cool, and store in a tightly sealed container.

 

 

For Your Cat/s:

 

–      Tuna Catnip Kitty Treats -

 

 

Ingredients:

 

1 (5 ounce) can tuna, no salt added and packed in water, drained

1 cup oat flour*

1 large egg

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon dried catnip

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, combine drained tuna, oat flour, egg, olive oil and catnip.

Blend until mixture is smooth. It will be thick but pliable and not terribly sticky.

Roll dough into 1/2 teaspoon balls and place on prepared cookie sheet.

Use a skewer to press an X-shape into each cookie ball. (Optional)

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes until they are dried on top and slightly browned.

Allow to cool completely before offering to your kitty.

Place treats in an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for up to seven days.