Present in all fifty American states but Florida and Hawaii, the plant nepeta cataria (also known as catnip, catmint, catsword, and field balm) is attributed with a variety of health benefits. A quick search on the internet reveals that it may help to suppress and/or treat cough, headache, sore throat, insomnia, colic, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and miscarriage. Whether or not this member of the mint family can do some or all of that has yet to be confirmed by anyone official. Of course in that same internet search you are likely to come across devotees. (For instance this site offers advice on using catnip to treat colic however I could not find any testaments to catnip’s prevention of miscarriage.)
I decided to try catnip tea as a sleep aid (“a cup of hot catnip tea taken at bedtime insures a good night’s sleep” one website advertises). Whether or not I slept any better than I usually do after drinking I can’t really say. What I can report with certainty is that this stuff tastes terrible.
From experimenting with different teas (and their herbal counterparts) I have to say that whenever the term “earthy” is thrown around, a red flag should go up. In this case, as in others, the term “earthy” actually means “awful”. Best compared to trying to drink old clothing that doesn’t fit, if you really want to use catnip for medicinal purposes, by all means, find a different way to do it.