Catnip Essential Oil
Feline lovers are no doubt familiar with how their pets go crazy for this herb. It is the ultimate cat drug, it stimulates them and makes them act a bit nuts which is always great fun for the family and gives their owners the opportunity for 5 minutes of youtube fame-if viewing figures are anything to go by, then people really do enjoy watching cats go mad.
But did you know that catnip is not only for the cats? And unlike the reaction that our feline friends experience, catnip which is also known as cat mint has a calming and sedative effect on humans.
The catnip plant, botanically known as Nepata Cataria, was native to Europe and certain regions of Asia but it is able to thrive in pretty much any conditions and these days is grown extensively around the globe.
It has a history of use as an herbal remedy especially in Europe where it has been used for centuries to promote calm and to aid digestion. In France, its leaves were added to stews and sauces for flavor and to aid digestion.
While the plant is still popularly used to make herbal teas, it is also harvested these days for its essential oil. Catnip essential oil is derived from the plant’s leaves by steam distillation and is used to treat a wide variety of ailments both physical and mental. It can be used topically and in aromatherapy.
Catnip essential oil has a variety of therapeutic properties which give it a number of potential medicinal uses. Catnip also contains vitamins C and E which is are excellent natural antioxidants. Its chemical composition which includes nepetalactone, citral, linalool and thymol gives it a host of medicinal properties which include the following:
Uses of Catnip Essential Oil
While catnip has traditionally been used to promote calm and ease digestive complaints, it also has a range of other potential therapeutic uses.
It seems surprising that an herb so well-known for exciting our pets would have the opposite effect when used by humans. However, the chemical compound responsible for stimulating our feline friends- nepetalactone -has no discernible effect on humans.
One of the most popular uses of catnip and its essential oil is to calm the mind and deal with feelings of anxiety and stress. It has mild sedative properties making it a good choice for those suffering from insomnia or anxiety issues.
2. Digestive Problems
Catnip essential oil has carminative properties, which basically means that it can help relieve any build-up of gas in the intestines. An excess of gas can be very painful and can lead to very nasty symptoms such as acute stomach pain and even chest pains. Catnip essential oil is said to be an effective way to ease gas and treat any complications naturally.
Due to its stomachic properties, catnip essential oil is also said to be a natural way to keep your digestive system in full working order. It is said to be able to treat a number of stomach complaints such as ulcers and ensure the proper balance of acids and gastric juices in the stomach.
Catnip essential oil possesses both diuretic and diaphoretic properties which mean that it can help the body to excrete unwanted toxins and speed up the detoxification process.
As a natural diaphoretic, catnip essential oil helps promote perspiration which does not sound desirable but profuse sweating is an effective way to get rid of toxins and excess salt from the system especially when you are unwell.
Sweating can even reduce your blood pressure and help rid yourself of fevers. Because catnip essential oil is also diuretic in nature, it can be used to stimulate both the frequency and production of urination.
That makes catnip oil an effective natural alternative for those who have been prescribed diuretics because of the excess build-up of water in their system. It can help your body to remove uric acid and other toxins, regulate blood pressure and even to lose weight caused by water retention.
4. Helps regulate menstruation
Catnip essential oil has emmenagogue properties and although there is no scientific evidence it is said to stimulate hormone secretions which helps regulate menstruation. Women who are suffering from obstruction or irregular menstruation can benefit from catnip oil. It is also said to ease the cramps and pains suffered during menstruation
5. Rejuvenates the skin
If your skin is looking tired and your muscles are getting loose then massaging catnip oil into your body can help. This is because catnip essential oil has astringent properties which have a tightening effect on skin, muscles and even the gums. As with nearly all essential oils, make sure that you dilute catnip oil with a suitable carrier oil before applying it to your skin
6. Inflammatory conditions
Catnip essential oil has anti-inflammatory compounds and is used to help ease joint pains caused by rheumatism as well as other inflammatory conditions.
7. Nervous System
Catnip essential oil can be used as a tonic to aid the nervous system. It is said to be capable of treating a variety of nervous disorders such as vertigo, anxiety related symptoms and shaking limbs. It can also be used to activate the nervous system and combat sluggishness and poor reflexes.
8. Colds and flu
Because of its antimicrobial activity, catnip essential oil can be used to treat common illnesses such as the common cold and the flu.
9. For Cramps and spasms
This oil has antispasmodic properties that can help relieve a number of common complaints like muscular cramps and also other conditions caused by spasms whether they are muscular, respiratory or intestinal.
10. Insect repellant
Catnip oil is not only effective in treating the body and the mind; it can also be diffused in and around the home to get rid of mosquitos and other bugs. There as actually been a fair bit of scientific research into catnip’s effectiveness in repelling insects and it is used as an ingredient in a number of commercial pesticides and insect repellants.
If you do not have a diffuser, you can make your own mosquito spray by adding a few drops of catnip oil to a spray bottle of water. If you add sandalwood oil to the mix, you might get even better results.
- Make sure that you dilute catnip essential oil before applying it directly to your skin. If you want to make a massage blend, then dilute it in the appropriate quantity with your choice of carrier oil.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should always err on the side of caution before using any essential oils as not enough is known regarding its effect on the fetus or young children. There is also some concern that catnip can stimulate the uterus which may result in miscarriage.
- Catnip essential oil can stimulate menstruation so women with pelvic inflammatory disease should avoid using it. It can also make menstruation heavier and therefore worsen already heavy menstruation.
- Because catnip has diuretic effects, those already taking diuretic medications should consult their doctor before using catnip essential oil.
- Because of its sedative effects, it should not be used by those already on sedative medication because it can amplify the sedative effects.
- Catnip might have an adverse interaction with lithium by altering the manner in which the body removes lithium and thereby increasing the amount of lithium left in the body.
Plant Therapy makes a quality Catnip Essential oil
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