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I’ve grown catmint in my garden for years. This herb, which is closely related to catnip, is considered more ornamental for garden use. Catmint blooms with purplish blue flowers in late spring and summer and thrives in full sun.
Both varieties are members of the mint family and both are attractive to cats. In fact, that’s why I keep this easy to care for perennial in my garden. My three cats love to spend time roaming around the garden and they check out this herb frequently. I’ve seen them rub against the plant and nibble on the leaves.
I’m experimenting with using catmint for a variety of purposes, for the cats. As I worked with the plant, I wondered if its distinctively scented leaves possessed health benefits for people. Of course it does!
Late this afternoon, I experienced my first cup of catmint tea.
Health Benefits of Catmint Tea
The active ingredient in catmint (and catnip) is nepetalactone. It is thought to contribute to the following benefits in humans:
Catmint has a calming effect on the entire body, relieving stress and quieting the body and the mind. This makes the herb beneficial for reducing anxieties and easing restlessness and insomnia. While calming anxieties, catmint strengthens the immune system which helps the body become less reactive to stress.
The plant’s calming effect soothes the stomach as well, relieving nausea, diarrhea, cramping, excess gas and bloating. Because catmint has antispasmodic properties it can even ease tightness in the gastrointestinal tract, eliminating abdominal discomfort.
Catmint’s active ingredient also contains mucilage properties, making is helpful for suppressing coughs. It also relieves congestion. And it speeds up the healing of colds, flus and fevers.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, catmint is effective in healing arthritis, gout, sprained muscles, achy joints and even hemorrhoids. The herb soothes the pain and swelling associated with rashes, hives and bug bites.
Essential oil of catmint can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin as an insect repellent. The oil also soothes skin irritations and improves the healing process. Applied to the temples, catmint essential oil helps to treat headaches and migraines.
**Do not use this herb in any form, if you are pregnant. Check with a doctor before using if you suffer from liver or kidney dysfunctions.
Preparing Catmint Tea
To brew a cup of catmint tea, add several short sprigs of fresh catmint, or two teaspoons of dried herb to a cup and pour in hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes at least. Sweeten with raw organic honey if desired.
Catmint is also available in capsule form, tinctures, essential oils and salves.
I snipped several fresh sprigs from my catmint plant in the herb garden to create my tea.
This plant has a very pleasant, distinctive scent. I can’t quite pin it down, however the scent stirs a memory of a similar aroma. So I was looking forward to seeing how it tasted.
I was not disappointed! The taste is subtly minty with a hint of spiciness. I loved it, actually. In fact, this herbal tea now ranks in my top five favorites, for flavor!
How amazing, that an herb my cats adore has so many health benefits. Catmint tea goes into my afternoon tea rotation. I think I adore it too!
Purchase dried catmint to make your own healing tea, by clicking on photo below.
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