Part Used: Fresh leaf & flowering top
Catnip (Nepeta cataria), also called True Catnip, Catmint or Field Balm, is a 50–100 cm tall herb resembling mint in appearance, with greyish-green leaves, the flowers are white, finely spotted with purple. Throughout history, this herb has been used in humans to produce a sedative effect. From Europe to China, Catnip had been used medicinally for at least 2000 years. In teas, its pleasant, lemon-minty vapors were considered a cold and cough remedy, relieving chest congestion and loosening phlegm. Old herbalists also praised its ability to promote sweating, a traditional treatment for fever. It is primarily used for cough and insomnia. It is used as a tranquilizer, sedative, digestive aid, and treatments for colds, colic, diarrhea, flatulence, and fever. It has some antibiotic properties. It is used for the treatment of diarrhea and fever.
Catnip is most often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and nervousness. It contains a chemical — known as nepetalactone — that produces a sedating effect in humans. Due to this ability to promote relaxation, Catnip may also be used to help lessen migraine headaches. Because chemicals in it may have muscle-relaxing (antispasmodic) effects, Catnip has also been taken to relieve stomach complaints such as colic, cramps, gas, and indigestion. Although isolated studies in animals and numerous case reports from humans seem to confirm these effects, no clinical studies of humans have been conducted to prove or disprove any medicinal properties of Catnip. Topically, it may also reduce swelling associated with arthritis, hemorrhoids, and soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, when it is used as a topical poultice.
Catnip has a long history of use as a household herbal remedy, being employed especially in treating disorders of the digestive system and, as it stimulates sweating, it is useful in reducing fevers. The herbs pleasant taste and gentle action makes it suitable for treating colds, flu and fevers in children. The leaves and flowering tops are strongly antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, slightly emmenagogue, refrigerant, sedative, slightly stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is also very useful in the treatment of restlessness and nervousness, being very useful as a mild nervine for children.
Drug Digest. http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWho/0,3923,4093%7CNepeta+cataria,00.html