Catnip – Nepeta cataria
Sometimes referred to as catswort, or catmint, is a species of the genus Nepeta in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East,central Asia, and parts of China. It is also widely naturalized in northern Europe, New Zealand, and North America. The common name catmint can also refer to the genus as a whole. The names catnip and catmint are derived from the intense attraction most cats have towards them.
Nepeta cataria is a short-lived herbaceous perennial, growing 50–100 cm (20–39 in) tall and wide. It resembles a typical mint family member in appearance by having the characteristic square stem that members of the Lamiaceae plant family have, but with brown-green foliage. The coarse-toothed leaves are triangular to ovate. The small bilabiate flowers can be white and finely spotted with pale purple or pink. They are showy and fragrant. The plant blooms from late spring through autumn.
Nepeta cataria can be brewed to produce an herbal tea. It is also used as a culinary herb for many dishes. Catnip can also be ingested through smoking the herb. It has only a negligible effect on relaxation. Catnip has a history of medicinal use for a variety of ailments. The plant has also been consumed as a tea, juice, tincture, infusion or poultice. However, its medicinal use has fallen out of favor with the development of more commonplace pharmaceutical drugs.
Country of Origin: United States