What other names is Catnip known by?

Cataire, Catmint, Catnep, Catswort, Chataire, Field Balm, Herbe à Chat, Herbe aux Chats, Hierba Gatera, Menta de Gato, Menthe des Chats, Nepeta cataria.

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a plant. The flowering tops are used to make medicine.

Catnip is used for trouble sleeping (insomnia); anxiety; migraine and other headaches; cold and other upper respiratory infections; flu; swine flu; fever; hives; worms; and gastrointestinal (GI) upset, including indigestion, colic, cramping, and gas (flatulence). It is also used as a tonic, for increasing urination, and for starting menstrual periods in girls with delayed onset of menstruation.

Some people apply catnip directly to the skin for arthritis, hemorrhoids, and as a compress to relieve swelling.

Some people also smoke catnip medicinally for respiratory conditions and recreationally for a "high."

In manufacturing, catnip is used as a pesticide and insecticide.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Mosquito repellent. Early research suggests that applying catnip oil or certain catnip chemicals to the skin may help repel yellow fever mosquitos. However, the commercial insect repellents SS220 and DEET might work better.
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
  • Migraine headaches.
  • Colds.
  • Flu.
  • Fever.
  • Hives.
  • Stomach upset.
  • Gas.
  • Anxiety.
  • Arthritis.
  • Increasing urination.
  • Treatment of worms.
  • Starting menstruation in girls.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of catnip for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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