Catnip plant varities are very popular in the garden. They are easy to grow and they provide many benefits. These include:
They produce flowers which attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.
The leaves have a pleasant smell when crushed or chewed, but their most valuable use is as a laxative for humans!
Nepetalactone (the active ingredient) acts like a sedative on cats, dogs and rabbits.
It is used in medicines such as cough syrups, antihistamines and even insect repellents.
You may wonder how one could get rid of these plants if they were so useful. One way would be to cut them down; however, it is not recommended because the plant’s roots can cause problems with drainage. Another method would be to dig out the root ball and put it somewhere else. However, digging up the roots can damage the plant.
You might want to consider planting them in pots instead. There are several types of catmint plants available, but there is no single best type. Some catmint varieties grow well in some areas while others do not thrive at all here in your area. Here are some tips on choosing the right variety for your garden:
Choose a variety that grows well in your climate .
Choose a variety that has been bred to bear the traits you prefer.
Choose a variety that blooms at a time of year when you need it to.
Choose a variety that has the characteristics you desire.
The award winning Catnip plant varieties have been bred for their essential oils. They are the most common varieties of catnip plants. The best known is certainly Nepeta Cataria, which has white flowers with purple spots on their upper petals. In order for a plant to be considered genuine catnip, it must contain at least 0.5% of essential oil of nepetalactone.
The best source of this oil is generally considered to be the leaves and stems rather than the flowers. This type of catnip is often used in herbal remedies for humans or as a additive to smoking blends. Other species of catnip plants contain little or no essential oils.
Catnip plants are easy to grow from seeds, but have a relatively short life span. In its first year, it grows rapidly and flowers in late summer or early fall. After this, it slowly dies back, but can remain green until the following spring. They are easily grown from root cutting or division and can be grown in most types of soil as long as it is well drained.
The best soil for catnip is slightly acidic and rich in nitrogen. It grows best in full sun, but can grow in partial shade.
Catnip plants are eaten as a vegetable by humans. When eaten, they produce a soothing effect on the digestive system. They can also be used to help alleviate cold and flu symptoms in humans and act as a mild sedative when smoked or drunk as a tea. They are also sometimes used as an aromatic in herbal medicines and beauty products.
Catnip plants have been used for centuries in traditional Austrian medicine as a remedy for inflammation, headaches and stomach complaints. The essential oils in the plant have also been used to produce plastics, cosmetics, liquid repellents and even certain types of fabrics. Catnip essential oils are also a common ingredient in many artificial insect repellents.
Catnip has long been used as a mild sedative and anti-spasmodic by humans, but it is the essential oil in Catnip that causes this effect on humans and animals. The essential oil contains chemicals that react with smell receptors in the nasal passages to trigger a response in the brain. When a cat smells Catnip for the first time, it will often lick its paws and fling about. Ten minutes later, the cat will begin to drool and sniff the air before beginning to salivate and suddenly rolling around on the floor.
This is caused by the reaction in the brain triggered when the smell receptors in the nose detect the nepetalactone chemicals and send messages to the nerves connected to the muscles and brain.
The genetic mutation in some cats that causes the effect on sensors to switch off after around ten minutes. This is thought to be a mechanism designed to prevent excessive stimulation and damage to the brain caused by the nepetalactone chemicals, because catnip will have no effect on these animals. The reason why some animals are effected and others are not is still not fully understood.
Catnip is generally safe, but possible side effects include increased heart rate, sleepiness, drooling and redness of eyes. There are no recorded cases of overdose and it has little effect on non-cats. It is not known whether the effects are permanent or temporary in individual cats, as some will become inactive after a period of time while others react every time they are exposed to catnip.
Catnip also has an effect on other feline species and on some mammals. African Hunting Dogs, Bobcats, Cheetahs, Panthers, Lions and Tigers are all susceptible to the effects of catnip. It is also known to affect Red Foxes, Coyotes, and Wolves. In these animals, it causes a state similar to that experienced by cats.
It is not known whether other animals, including humans, are susceptible to the effects of catnip.
Catnip oil is used in many commercial products to attract cats and prevent mice infestations. It can be found in certain brands of cat litter and some manufacturers use it as a filling for cat toys. It is also used in herbal remedies for humans.
Catnip has many other uses in industry. The oil can be used as a bug repellent and the plant itself is sometimes used to repel insects. It is also heavily used in the fashion industry for its aromatic oils and attractive smell.
Catnip is not addictive and has no negative side effects, however it is not recommended for cats that are pregnant or nursing.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Evaluation growth and essential oil content of catmint and lemon catnip plants as new cultivated medicinal plants in Egypt by H Said-Al Ahl, NY Naguib, MS Hussein – Annals of Agricultural Sciences, 2018 – Elsevier
Characterization of seed oils of dragonhead (Dracocephalum moldavica L.) and catnip (Nepeta cataria var. citriodora Balb.) by J Domokos, J Peredi, K Halasz-Zelnik – Industrial Crops and Products, 1994 – Elsevier
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Behavioral responses of catnip (Nepeta cataria) by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Anopheles harrisoni, in Thailand by S Polsomboon, JP Grieco, NL Achee… – Journal of the American …, 2008 – BioOne
Nepetalactone and epinepetalactone from Nepeta cataria L. by FE Regnier, EJ Eeisenbraun, GR Waller – Phytochemistry, 1967 – Elsevier
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Catnip,Nepeta cataria, a morphological comparison of mutant and wild type specimens to gain an ethnobotanical perspective by S Herron – Economic botany, 2003 – Springer
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