Catnip tea is traditionally believed to have a number of health benefits. It’s used as a home remedy to soothe anxiety, upper respiratory infections, and sinusitis. There is a chemical within catnip called nepatalactone—similar to valepotriates found in the herbal sedative valerian. This is considered to act as a muscle relaxant and lends to catnip tea also being used to relieve symptoms of headaches and a number of stomach complaints, and insomnia. Like many herbs, catnip is also an effective insect repellent.
Making catnip tea is only one way to get the benefits of this tasty herb—but it is a useful and easy one. Follow the steps below to make catnip tea.
Step 1 – Prepare Catnip
Catnip tea can be made from fresh catnip or dried catnip. Home grown, organic catnip is the best option, though there are places where you can buy dried catnip for your tea. If grown at home, be sure to avoid spraying chemicals on your plant.
- To dry catnip, cut stems from your plant and hang them in bunches in a cool, dark area.
- When the leaves are fully dried, separate them from the stems and crumple them into a bag.
- Dispose of the stems.
- Seal the bag and store it in a cool, dark place.
- Fresh catnip leaves can be used whole to make tea, or cut to release more of the oils into the water.
Step 2 – Mix Tea
Place 3 teaspoons of fresh catnip or 1 teaspoon of dried catnip in a mug. Take the water off the heat and add it only after it has stopped boiling. Boiling water is believed to destroy some of the positive effects of catnip.
Step 3 – Let Steep
How long you should let catnip tea steep varies depending on who you ask. Steep longer if you are trying to get the most out of your catnip, shorter if you are just after the flavor. Steeping time should range between 5 to 20 minutes.
Step 4 – Add Flavors
You can add other herbs to your catnip tea, such as other mint varieties or lemon grass. Also, you can add honey, sugar, or lemon juice. Just add a bit to make the flavor to fit your tastes.
Alternate Ways to Drink Catnip Tea
If hot liquids are not appealing to you, try making your tea double strength then putting it over ice. You can place cool tea in an ice cube tray or popsicle mold and place it in the freezer. Catnip tea is safe for children and babies, and frozen is a great way to feed it to them.
Alternate Ways to Use Catnip Tea
Catnip is good for soothing irritation, outside as well as within. Some people create a compress from catnip and apply it directly to the skin for swelling ailments and hemorrhoids. It can be used as an eye wash for allergy irritation, red eyes caused by hangovers, and as a scalp rinse for irritated scalps.
Other Ways to Eat Catnip
Catnip can be used as a flavoring for various foods. Try cutting up leaves and adding them to your salads. Also, you can sprinkle dried leaves into soups or over meats.
Warning: These health statements haven’t been evaluated by the FDA.