June 2015
The Herb Lady

Enjoy a Cup of Catnip Tea

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a hardy perennial herb that is easily propagated by seed, cuttings or plant division. It grows well in regular garden soil, in full or partial sun, and with an average amount of water. It can be container grown with minimum success.

This plant will easily reach a 3-by-3-foot size. Of course, I don’t have a garden anymore, but I have enjoyed growing catnip. It produced spiked clusters of pale lavender flowers. (Actually, this was not a very ornamental plant.) As the flowers reached the bloom stage, I cut long branches to dry. It is the grayish, heart-shaped leaves that are reserved for later use.

If there are cats in your neighborhood, it’s advisable to put a protective cage around your catnip plant. Most cats will roll and tumble in catnip like they are intoxicated. Sometimes they will completely destroy the plant. Then again, there are a few cats that completely ignore catnip.

Shortly after I retired from my nursing job, I went through a rather unpleasant period of depression. For the first time since I was 17, I could expect no paycheck. I felt I was a liability instead of an asset to my family. At the age of 55, I was forced to retire due to illness. I gradually regained my health by combining alternative medicine with my doctor’s recommendations.

Evidently my depression was due to my physical condition and change in routine. My husband tried diligently to cheer me up. It began to appear that I would be forced to seek professional help. Then one day I made myself a cup of catnip tea. It didn’t completely "cure" my problem but it definitely helped. I continued to drink catnip regularly. Finally, one day we realized I was "normal" again. Possibly I had just accepted my unemployed status, but the catnip tea didn’t hurt a thing. I have suffered no more from depression.

I once met a lady from Alaska. She told me that catnip was her cure-all. If a child had a stomachache, she gave it catnip tea. For headaches, she gave catnip tea. She swore it worked.

From my herb library I learned that catnip has been used medicinally in Europe and China for over 2,000 years. There is a listing of over 30 ailments for which it is helpful.

Depression often requires professional help. If you suffer from this ailment, don’t hesitate to consult a physician. Someone very dear to me has recently had much success with prescribed medication.

Nadine Johnson can be reached at PO Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577, by calling 866-570-7302, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..