Nepeta cataria. Catnip.
We all know the effect it has on cats. They sniff it, eat it, roll around on it, and then go to sleep. It has a calming effect.
Did you also know that it can be drunk as a tea to help us sleep or relax? That calming effect works on 90% of humans too (it has the opposite effect on the other 10%). Add a couple of teaspoons of fresh leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried) to a cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes for a nice calming drink when you're stressed. Sweeten with honey or stevia.
Catnip is a relative of mint, but it has a sharper taste. A couple of fresh catnip leaves can be added to salads. Catnip is also purported to aid in digestion.
Like most things, catnip should be consumed in moderation. I won't drink more than 1 cup at bedtime. I might drink 2 cups to help ease a sore throat; I find it helps because I talk for 8 hours a day for my job. Catnip can have a diuretic effect on some people. Do not use if pregnant or have menstrual problems because catnip can increase menstruation in some women.
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