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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Medicinal properties | Medical Uses of Catnip.

The leaves of catnip have traditionally been chewed as a remedy for alleviating toothaches. The inhabitants of Southern Appalachia have used it since the eighteenth century as a remedy for cold. Tea made from catnip has been used to relieve intestinal cramps and gas discomforts. Recent researches show that consumption of teas containing catnip has anti-cholinergic effects. Catnip has been used for relief of insomnia and prevention of nightmares, and has a mild anti-spasmodic effect and is used to treat cramps. The juice from the leaves was used to stimulate menstrual flow. It has been used in the treatment of children’s ailments, such as colicky pain, flatulence and restlessness. The herb has also been used as a cold remedy, for hives, as a diaphoretic, a refrigerant and an anodyne. (Please refer to the Dictionary of Modern Herbalism by Mills for further information on these terms.) Poultices made from catnip have commonly been used for toothaches, though they can be applied to any part of the body. They have been applied to sore breasts of nursing mothers and to the neck for tonsillitis

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Catnip not just for cats

Catnip, the mysterious herb that cats love is also an effective herbal remedy for stress. This garden herb is a member of the mint family and is commonly brewed as a tea. It has a delicious fresh minty taste and fragrance and can be served warm or iced. Other names for catnip include catmint, catswort and fieldbalm.Catnip, like every other mint, has a short self life. The volatile oils dissipate quickly. The fresh plant has the highest potency and even one little leaf will be stronger than a whole dried catnip mouse. The old catnip toy probably has lost all aroma and only reminds the cat of its former effect.
Catnip helps to relieve nervous tension, anxiety and sleeplessness and has uses for many other stress related health issues. The dried herb includes flowers, leaves and stems from catnip plants that are cut while in full bloom. Catnip blooms in summer (from June to September) with small white to pale lavender flowers that have fuzzy, grey-green leaves.

Before freeze-up, cut all catnip plants down and after drying them, place all cut parts into a pillowslip. Place it in the place where you want your cat to sleep. It is the only guaranteed way of getting the cat to sleep there. If you have trouble falling asleep, borrow the pillow. It works.
Dried catnip, when brewed as a tea (catnip tea) is calming, promotes relaxation and helps to relieve nervous tension. Catnip tea will help you to fall asleep. All relaxant herbs lose their effect on your system with repeated use. Only use it in an emergency.

How to Make a Cup of Catnip Tea
Place 1 teaspoon of *dried catnip or 1 catnip tea bag into a cup and add 6 oz. boiling
water. Steep for 3 minutes. If using a tea bag, press the bag after steeping to release more flavor. Add honey or other sweetener if desired.
*A tea infuser ball or spoon is a convenient way to brew loose dried catnip to prevent the need for straining

Catnip benefits include:
Stress Relief - A soothing cup of catnip tea is a delicious and relaxing way to relieve nervous tension and calm jangled nerves after a stressful day.
Sleep Aid - Catnip tea enjoyed before bedtime promotes calm and relaxation to ease stress and promote restful sleep.
Digestion Relief - Catnip tea helps to relieve upset stomach and indigestion.
Headache Relief - The calming and muscle relaxation properties of catnip tea can help to relieve tension and migraine headaches.
PMS Relief - Catnip provides muscle relaxation benefits and combined with its calmative and stress relieving properties helps to relieve mentrual cramps and tension associated with prementrual syndrome (PMS).

To keep your cat from destroying the plants, use upside-down wire baskets over the herb. Let the cat chew on the parts which grow through the basket.