Catnip - what is worth knowing about it?

cute cat eating fresh catnip in a pot

Catnip is a plant that the vast majority of us associate with cats. This is because it is believed that its distinctive smell It attracts these unique creatures. If you are thinking of planting catnip in your garden, it would be good to learn something about it. It is worth learning about its properties and requirements. Then we will be able to assess whether it is a plant we want to admire and nurture.

Catnip - the most important information

Few people realize that catnip encompasses the near 250 different species. In temperate countries, however, there are only 24 of them. Catnip is a perennial plant that, under the right conditions, can reach a height of up to one meter. It has a small size light green leaves. Flowers are located at the ends of the stems and are colored purple. Due to the numerous essential oils, Catnip is characterized by a beautiful, distinctive fragrance. It is most noticeable on summer sunny days. If you want to feel the aroma of catnip, just crush its leaves in your fingers and then smell your hand. The scent should be really intense.

What properties does catnip have?

Catnip, referred to as naked catnip, occurs naturally in Poland. However, not this one is readily grown in gardens and on balconies. The most commonly used for this purpose is Faassen's catnip, which is characterized by an attractive appearance and smells great. It is this plant that we buy for our cats, because its smell actually arouses the interest of pets. If we care about the herbal properties, we should look at catnip proper. It is primarily found in it:

  • tannins
  • essential oils
  • bitters

Due to the content of the aforementioned substances, catnip proper can be used in natural medicine. The plant is mainly characterized by the effect of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. As a result, it can be helpful in combating various infections, as well as chronic inflammation. This plant can also not be denied actions diuretic, which allows for the efficient removal of toxins from the body. As it turns out, catnip also shows some calming properties. Thus, it may prove useful in treating mild states of excessive emotional tension.

Requirements and cultivation

If you care about growing catnip in the garden, bet on the already mentioned Faassen's catnip. It is characterized by extremely decorative properties. This plant would be best provided sunny position. It is unlikely to feel very comfortable in the shade and may bloom less profusely. As for the substrate, it should be fertile and permeable. The plant can be put directly into the ground, but we can just as well plant it in a pot. Then you will be able to set catnip on the terrace or balcony. This plant is worth pruning regularly, especially after flowering. With such treatments, it will most likely bloom again. We should also remember that catnip is extremely bad at overwatering. So let's water it carefully, especially if the plant was planted in pots.

Uses of catnip

As noted above, catnip can be used in herbal medicine. For this purpose, however, it is primarily suitable catnip proper. However, for ornamental purposes it is used Faassen's catnip. If we want to prepare an infusion from this plant, we can go to an herbal store. There we will buy dried herb of catnip proper, on the basis of which it will be possible to prepare a healthy infusion. If, on the other hand, we care about ornamental catnip, let's try to go to a garden center, where we are sure to find it. We can put dried leaves of ornamental catnip in our pillow. This is because many people find the scent emitted by this plant extremely relaxing. It helps relieve sleep problems, such as insomnia, for example. However, you will need to replace the dried plant from time to time so that the scent still has the intensity that suits you.

Does catnip actually attract cats?

There is really a lot of talk about the fact that catnip is a kind of feline drug. However, how much truth is there in this? This question may be asked primarily by cat owners. In fact, unusual behavior of these animals can be observed if they are near catnip beds. Most often they roll in it and bite it. Sometimes they purr very loudly while doing so. How can such behavior be explained? The answer is not as complicated as it might seem to us on the surface. Well, this plant contains a substance called nepetalactone. The smell of this compound is deceptively reminiscent of cats secreted by them pheromones. Not surprisingly, animals feel extremely comfortable around catnip. Toys for these animals with the addition of dried leaves and flowers of this unique plant are also common. They can be found in almost any pet store. It can also be a good idea to prepare such toys yourself, as long as catnip grows in our garden.

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