"Catnip? That sounds kinda weird."
Catnip is formulated into all of our smokes. A friend of mine read this on our ingredients list and said, “Catnip? That sounds kinda weird. I mean, it’s catnip…” But catnip's not weird! Here's why...
Catnip is most commonly associated with, of course, cats. It’s the green stuff that we buy at the pet store to sprinkle on scratching posts for our feline friends. Toys have nip inside to encourage playing, and there are even blowing bubbles made with catnip oil (my personal favorite). So, what exactly is catnip anyway? And how does it affect humans?
Photo: Forest & Kim Starr
What is it?
Nepeta cataria is a species of plant commonly known as catnip, catmint, or catswort. In the mint family (Lamiaceae), it's related to well-known culinary herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano. Naturalized and growing wild throughout most of North America, catnip is easy to grow in a garden or pot on the windowsill at home. You may have only seen catnip in its dried and cut form for your cats, but it’s actually a very pretty plant that can grow 2-3 feet tall. Its leaves are light green, fuzzy, semi heart-shaped, and contains whorls (radiating growth pattern that wraps around the stem) of white and/or purple flowers.
How does it affect humans?
Catnip is a nervine, which helps calm nervous tension and is nourishing to the nerves. Herbalist Matthew Wood states that catnip is the mint nervine to give “when in doubt,” meaning it’s a go-to for nervous problems that can't be deduced to a more specific remedy. Catnip, however, has a particular affinity for pain or anxiety that rises upward from the stomach. If you’re the type of person who internalizes your stress and feels anxiety rising in your chest, catnip can be an excellent herbal ally. Personally, I like to work with catnip if I'm experiencing painful, rising gas from something I ate or am feeling nervous about an upcoming event.
Photo: D. Gordon E. Roberton
But you don’t need to fit these criteria to feel benefits from catnip. Catnip is great to ready oneself for sleep and is a mild sedative. I especially like catnip as it helps me to remain still when I may normally be running around the house trying to get things done before bed. It’s a very nice herb to smoke during this time (especially in our Sleepy Smokes) since drinking tea before bed often means I’m waking up a couple times during the middle of the night to pee.
Catnip – it’s not so weird after all! Try it in any of our smokes!