The true wonder of catnip (nepeta cataria)
I have found that catnip is a native plant of
Once the plant is growing nicely, full sun and adequate moisture are all that is needed. D'nip will grow happily in pots on a patio or as a part of the vegetable or flower garden. This amazing little plant is nearly pest-free, so it can be grown organically with ease, which saves our humans from the need of worrying about keeping icky chemicals and stuff out of the reach of everykitty. Once fully established catnip can survive long periods of drought, and being a perennial herb it will keep growing year after year, while affording you all its amazing benefits.
Why should your human plant catnip and risk becoming the local hangout for all the cats in the neighborhood? Because catnip has a multitude of useful applications that can only but benefit most households. This humble little plant is so hated by mice and rats that they will not approach it even when driven by hunger, so if a house is infested with mice or rats, a thick planting of this herb against the walls will quickly eliminate them. Neither mice nor rats will not cross a planting of catnip!
Oh yes catnip is more than just a feline narcotic of the highest grade, or even a pretty lavender/blue flowered little herb to beautify your garden with. In fact it’s only in recent years that scientists have been looking at this most wonderful little plant more fully and learning some of its amazing secrets! You see, the active ingredients in catnip that drives us cats crazy also repels cockroaches, ants, aphids,
There has been research on catnip done in
Additionally it’s been found that mosquitoes hate the aroma of common garden catnip, and not only are the extracts safe, but they are more effective than Diethyl-m-toluamide, or DEET, the chemical used in most commercial insect repellents. So soon the shelves could well be stocked with catnip spray as an ecologically and environmentally sound alternative to this chemical insect deterrent!
The fact is d'nip has long been used in folk medicine to ward off insects, but still most people turn to DEET when they want to be sure they won’t get bitten. But those wonderful researchers at
But the benefits don’t stop there the d'nip smell turns out to be akin to a natural pheromone, a chemical that female aphids produce in order to attract a mate. The components of the scent are so closely related to chemicals in catnip that it should be possible to use catnip to keep aphids off of your roses and other garden plants susceptible to infestation. Oh and it also works as an insecticide and microbial inhibitor too!
It can also be made into a tea which is excellent for a woman’s monthly cramps. Start drinking it before the cramps starts and make it strong. Just steep the fresh or dry leaves for 15 minutes or more before pouring out and drinking. This tea also has a calming effect for children and adults, and all you cats know a calm human is much easier to fuss!
All these amazing benefits from one small plant and that’s even mentioning the fact that cats love catnip! This is because of the nepetalactone it releases when crushed, which stimulates their olfactory (vomeronasal) love receptors, sending many of us felines into ecstatic raptures. Nepetalactone closely resembles a chemical found in the urine of female cats and binds to cat olfactory receptors that are involved in sexual stimulation, including those of large wild cats such as cougars and bobcats. This chemical actually induces orgasmic behaviour followed by a period of resolution. Yes, Skeezix it's kinda like the urges you get when looking at Daisy!
This response is genetically determined; and therefore some of us cats remain unaffected. Which in turn supports the suspicion that nepetalactone is structurally different from the real pheromone. It is not easy to see what selective advantage the plant could gain from stimulating carnivores with what amounts to a recreational drug, and really a cat's response to catnip just amounts to an evolutionary joke or accident. But the benefit to the plant over the past few centuries has been substantial. This little herb that originated in the
So why not beautify the Inner City areas with catnip and cut the rat problem? Why not add a few hanging baskets and pots of catnip to your patio and cut the likelihood of getting a mosquito bite while barbequing or eating outside? Plant it in and around your roses or tomatoes and cut aphid problems down to size. Grow it and brew it up into tea and gain inner calm without the need for Prozac, while warding off cramps too. But most of all grow it and your cat will love you!