Catnip originated in Europe, but as of 2011 it may be found growing across North America. A member of the mint family, it is occasionally called catmint. Although it is mostly known for its effect on cats, research indicates it may have beneficial properties for humans in tea form. In fact, there are several supposed health benefits of catnip tea ranging from relieving gas, reducing fevers, and regulating menstrual cycles. Catnip tea is typically made from the leaves, which several people believe work as a relaxant, as opposed to the root, which is said to work as a stimulant.
In Europe, the traditional uses of the tea are for children. Several parents use catnip tea to prevent hives and reduce fevers in their children. It is often also used to lessen the effects of measles and chickenpox. Catnip is often used to relieve gas, and it is so effective that some parents use catnip tea to help relieve colic in infants. In fact, in many European countries, catnip tea is often a go-to remedy for many ailments in children due to its mildness.
The tea is widely used for its gastrointestinal benefits as it is a gastric stimulant. It helps to relieve gas in adults and combats both diarrhea and constipation. Due to the antimicrobial properties of catnip, several people believe catnip tea aids in moving both infections and food through the intestinal systems more efficiently. At the same time, the tea helps to relax the internal muscles and is believed to soothe the system.
Many women use catnip tea to relieve menstrual cramps, but it may also help to regulate cycles as well if used on a regular basis. The tea is often used to stop many other menstrual-related pains. Catnip may also potentially cure morning sickness. Its effect on pregnant women is highly debated, however, so medical advice is strongly recommended before drinking the tea.
Research also indicates there may be several other health benefits of catnip tea. It is frequently used to promote healthy sleep and cure insomnia as well as help with anxiety. Used in tea form, catnip may also treat severe migraines. Several people also claim it may help with asthma, bronchitis and allergies. When the tea is applied to the skin, it may also disinfect cuts and help with bug bites.