Catnip originated in Europe, from where it spread to America and Africa. It is a member of the mint family and produces dainty white and light pink flowers in spring and autumn. Catnip owes its name to the fact that it is a natural stimulant for cats. Some cats become playful, while others will be very relaxed after smelling the herb. However, not all cats are affected in the same way, so don’t worry if your cat seems oblivious of the herb!
Growing tips :
- Plant catnip in neutral or slightly acidic soil in a spot that receives full sun or just partial shade. Water well, keeping the soil moist, but not soggy.
- Catnip can easily be reproduced from an existing plant. When your plant reaches 40cm high, simply cut off the top section and pull off the bottom leaves. Then place the stalk in a glass of water on a sunny windowsill.
- After two weeks roots will appear and after three weeks you can replant your new catnip plant in the garden.
- Catnip is a natural insect repellent and is used as an ingredient in many organic pesticides.
- Medicinally it can be used to treat anxiety and insomnia, as well as stomach cramps and colic due to the relaxing effect it has on the stomach muscles.
- It is best consumed as a tea (steep a few dried leaves in boiling water), but remember to consult your doctor before using it medicinally.