Catnip essential oil is native to Eurasia, although I first came across the plant growing in France, and we still buy it from that same place today! It has the most wonderful lemony aroma while being fresh and lively. Catnip is a perennial plant that is fairly easy to grow. It features spikes of flowers that are either white, pink, or white with purple polka dots. It reseeds itself, so it needs space to grow. If you have any in the garden you will know that it spreads quickly to give good ground cover.
The Catnip plant is popular among cats, and many cat owners will grow it and dry the leaves to place in their cat's toys or scratch towers. The fresh leaves may also be rubbed along the items to release the essential oil, and it makes for a great training tool, so cats know where to scratch. Whether catnip is dried, fresh, or in oil form, a chemical in it called nepetalactone attracts the felines through their sensory neurons. Having said all that, although our current cat Pebbles loves catnip (and the essential oil), our previous cat Minstrel hated it! Catnip essential oil is produced through steam distillation of the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. It is important to know the botanical name of the oil you want to buy as there is also a Nepeta parnassica, which is Greek catnip, and not the same oil at all. The Latin name for Catnip essential oil is Nepeta cataria, with the synonym Catnep. The Catnip plant comes from the Lamiaceae family and is closely related to Melissa, Peppermint and Lavender. Extracted by steam distillation, Penny Price Aromatherapy buy their Catnip essential oil from the Drome region of France and other selected parts of Europe.
The Catnip plant is a short, medium-sized perennial with heart-shaped, gently toothed leaves, which are covered in a soft greyish down. From June the nettle-shaped florets appear in mauve whorls around the leafy stems. The resultant oil of Catnip is a pale yellow liquid with a herbaceous-woody, pungent odour, with soft lemony undertones, not dissimilar to Melissa but generally softer.
Catnip essential oil was traditionally used for helping the nervous system, being used to treat anxiety, stress, apathy and extreme worry. It was used also for digestive complaints, such as indigestion, cleansing the liver, removing toxins from the body and bloating. Catnip essential oil was also used extensively to help balance the menstrual cycle, relieve period pain, calm hot flushes and regulate menstrual flow. The oil was also mentioned in the British Pharmacopoeia for colic and stomach cramps in children.
The properties of Catnip essential oil are extensive, being analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-rheumatic, astringent, emmenagogic (balancing to the menstrual system), nervine and sedative. Used in aromatic practice for chills, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, colic, nervous dyspepsia and flatulence. Catnip can also used for insomnia, stress, tension, PMT, irregular periods, menopausal mood swings and erratic behaviour. How useful does that sound!
The essential oil of Catnip blends well with Lemon, Lavender, Geranium, Clary and Niaouli, and although there are no recorded contra-indications, it is not recommended to overuse it during pregnancy.
Catnip essential oil is powerfully relaxing – just inhaling the aroma deeply will induce a feeling of calm and peace. As the oil is analgesic to the body, so it will also help to relieve pain in the mind, such as feelings of guilt or irritation. A warm bath using a few drops of Catnip essential oil can help to calm and relax mind and body after a stressful day.
Essential oil of Catnip is beneficial to soothe away mental fatigue or exhaustion, stress and tension to rejuvenate and provide mental clarity. It is a good sedative that is mild for those who are suffering from anxiety. Not only that, since it is able to calm your senses, it is great for relieving insomnia and promoting restful, peaceful sleep! If you diffuse around 4-5 drops of Catnip essential oil in a diffuser in the bedroom, you will soon find the effect is calming, sedating and relaxing.
Catnip essential oil has many carminative properties and helps to reduce bloating and discomfort in the digestive system by helping to remove excess gas from the digestive tract. Regular use of the oil also helps to prevent the formation of additional gases from forming.
Catnip oil is also a stomachic, meaning it can help to balance and maintain the stomach and intestines. It stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and bile in the stomach, to ensure the proper breakdown of food and smooth workings of the digestive tract. However, please don’t get carried away and start ingesting the oil – no essential oils should be taken internally without proper, professional guidance. Catnip essential oil will work just as well if it is applied topically to the skin – although to reach the digestive system, apply your lotion to your back as the skin on the back is much more absorbent than the skin on the stomach, so you do get a better result.
Used in this way, Catnip essential oil can help to treat and prevent a whole range of digestion-related problems, such as indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, diarrhoea and sluggish liver. Because the oil is also antispasmodic, it may be used to alleviate spasms, cramps and convulsions that occur within the digestive system.
Another beneficial effect of Catnip essential oil is that it can help to regulate the menstrual flow. This can help with regulating ovulation and so increase chances of becoming pregnant, and also help reduce the likelihood of fibroids, cysts, and tumours caused by obstructed menstrual cycles. Catnip essential oils can also help to give pain relief from cramps, and reduce fatigue and nausea that commonly accompany menstruation.
Since it is a stimulant, Catnip essential oil helps to stimulate a detoxification process within your body. It helps you to perspire and alongside the diuretic properties present in the oil, it works with your body in the detoxification process. Both these actions remove toxic substances from your body, such as urea, uric acid, excess fats, salt and water. This means that Catnip essential oil is especially beneficial to cleanse the liver and kidneys and help prevent diseases or infections, such as liver damage or renal failure.
Because Catnip oil can help the body to detoxify, it can also help the mind to detoxify. Essential oils that cleanse the detox the liver, with have the same effect on the mind. It is common for a depressed person to have a sluggish liver. This can be because depression causes low esteem and therefore usually a poor diet. Which comes first? The junk food toxicity of the liver or the toxicity of the mind that is depression? Either way, having a good diet and time in fresh air, along with plenty of sleep certainly helps both situations, especially if you are using Catnip in your daily routines.
To stay mentally well and physically detoxed, use the vaporiser recipe below:
In a 10ml dropper bottle use-
Blend all the oils well in the bottle and push in the dropper cap. Use up to 8 drops at a time in a vaporiser or use on a tissue to carry round with you when needed. You can also add 4-5 drops to a warm bath.
For an effective period pain-relief lotion, use the recipe below:
In a 100ml jar with cap use-
(30 drops is 1ml from a Penny Price Aromatherapy essential oil bottle)
Put the Blending Cream, Aloe Vera Gel and Arnica in a small basin and whisk together. Add the essential oils and stir well, then transfer to the jar, clean the edges and put the lid on. Use during the day whenever needed on the abdomen and small of the back.
This recipe will help you to keep your digestive system calm and relaxed:
In a 100ml jar use the following recipe-
Put the Aloe Vera Gel into the 100ml jar and stir round to soften. Add the raspberry oil and stir again. Finally add the essential oils in the order they are written in the recipe and stir well. Clean the edges of the pot and put on the lid. Use as needed on stomach areas front and back.
This is a really invigorating way to start your day!
In a 100ml bottle with pump top blend the following recipe-
Put the bath foam into a small bowl and add the essential oils. Stir really well and then, using a funnel, put the blend into the bottle and apply the lid. This can take some time so be patient! Use first thing in your morning shower.
I do hope that you try out the wonderful Catnip essential oil – if you have any questions about Catnip essential oil or the recipes in this Blog please don’t hesitate to contact us.