Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus leaf & oil (Eucalyptus globulus)

Eucalyptus globulus, the Tasmanian bluegum, southern blue-gum or blue gum, is an evergreen tree, one of the most widely cultivated trees native to Australia. They typically grow from 30–55 m (98–180 ft) tall. The tallest currently known specimen in Tasmania is 90.7 m (298 ft) tall. There are historical claims of even taller trees, the tallest being 101 m (331 ft). The natural distribution of the species includes Tasmania and southern Victoria (particularly the Otway Ranges and southern Gippsland). There are also isolated occurrences on King Island and Flinders Island in Bass Strait and on the summit of the You Yangs near Geelong. There are naturalised non-native occurrences in Spain and Portugal, and other parts of southern Europe incl. Cyprus, southern Africa, New Zealand, western United States (California), Hawaii, Macaronesia, and the Caucasus (Western Georgia).

Mother Jai blends a wonderful Cold & Flu Tea with eucalyptus globulus leaves.

Other Names: Blue Gum, Blue Mallee, Blue Mallee Oil, Eucalipto, Eucalypti Folium, Eucalyptol, Eucalyptol Oil, Eucalyptus blatter, Eucalyptus bicostata, Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Eucalyptus fructicetorum, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus Leaf, Eucalyptus odorata, Eucalyptus Oil, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus smithii, Fever Tree, Fieberbaumblatter, Gully Gum, Gully Gum Oil, Gum Tree, Huile Essentielle d’Eucalyptus, Huile d’Eucalyptol, Huile d’Eucalyptus, Red Gum, Stringy Bark Tree, Sugandhapatra, Tailapatra, Tasmanian Blue Gum.

Eucalyptus globulus

History of Eucalyptus

The first to use eucalyptus tea to bring down a fever were the aboriginal people of Australia. This plant was only introduced to the rest of the world in the 18th century by a botanist on the Cook voyages to the Australian continent.

Eucalyptus was quickly adopted by traditional Chinese and Ayurveda medicines and, in the 19th century, it began being planted in Europe. By the beginning of the 20th century large plantations of eucalyptus would be found in many countries.

The rapid growth of these trees helped not only to reforest vast areas of land but feed into the growing industries from pulpwood and charcoal to hygiene and cosmetics. In swamp areas the eucalyptus trees helped to drain the soil and reduce cases of malaria.

Uses for Eucalyptus Today

Eucalyptus leaves are still appreciated for their value in teas, inhalations and even for making cough candy. The nectar produced by lovely eucalyptus flowers is made into high quality honey.

As potpourris or stored inside a drawer, leaves are used to scent both clothes and home. You will find many products using eucalyptus oil for its refreshing and antiseptic properties, such as detergents, mouthwash, toothpaste and much more.

Eucalyptus radiata

BENEFITS OF EUCALYPTUS

The therapeutic benefits of Eucalyptus Globulus and Eucalyptus Radiata are quite similar. Both oils are high in 1,8- cineole, with varying monoterpenes. For example, Eucalyptus Globulus is high in 1,8- cineole, with significant amounts limonene, whereas Eucalyptus Radiata is high in 1,8- cineole with significant amounts of terpineol. These constituents lend our Eucalyptus oils to being excellent at supporting respiratory issues. The 1,8- cineole leads Eucalyptus oil to act as an astringent, and an aid to oily skin and acne.

Benefits of Eucalyptus Tea

Eucalyptus leaves are rich in limonene, which is antiviral, eucalyptol, and pinene, which is antiseptic. Apart from the volatile oils, this tea also contains flavonoids and tannins. These elements account for some of the main benefits of this herbal tea.

Treat Respiratory Problems: The most important of all eucalyptus tea benefits is its ability to help speed up the treatment of cold, flus and sore throats. Its antibacterial properties may help treat the cause of your respiratory ailments.

  • Taking this tea may also help to break a fever, bringing high body temperature down. You may even use eucalyptus leaves to create an air purifier, helping to clear the room of microbes.
  • As an expectorant, this tea may help by relieving irritation and disinfecting the respiratory tract. Eucalyptus herbal tea may help to expel phlegm and mucus that is causing chest congestion and making it difficult for you to breathe.
  • This herbal tea may treat all sorts of respiratory ailments such as laryngitis, bronchitis, emphysema and other infections. Gargling with it may even help to heal and calm a bad cough, treating an inflamed sore throat.
  • It also helps with other breathing problems such as allergies, asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis. You may even try using eucalyptus tea to try to reduce snoring. It is worth a try.

Blood Sugar Regulator: Drinking eucalyptus may help to lower blood sugar levels and stimulate the production of insulin. This may help prevent the onset of diabetes. If you already have diabetes then you should speak to your doctor before drinking this tea. A cup of this herbal tea may also improve blood circulation, relieving blood pressure and thus possibly preventing heart disease and other health problems.

Digestive Aid: Eucalyptus tea may be used to improve your digestion by clearing away any bacteria or parasites that may be causing you digestive problems. This herbal tea may be used as a cleansing agent, clearing your intestines of toxins and harmful agents.

It is a refreshing and cooling tea that may begin helping you the moment you take your first sip, as it helps to treat mouth infections, gum disease and even preventing cavities and plaque. It is a great remedy to try when you have mouth sores or just simply bad breath that could have been caused by bacteria.

Infection Fighter: Eucalyptus tea may be used to treat an illness, but it may also be used to prevent the occurrence of future ailments. A cup of this tea may help to give your immune system a boost reducing the chances of you getting sick.

  • Drink daily to help clear up acne, as this is a minor bacterial infection that may be fought using this antibacterial herbal tea. Eucalyptus is said to help detoxify the liver and cleanse the kidneys, resulting in healthier and fresher skin.
  • A cup of eucalyptus tea may be what you need when you have bladder or urinary problems. It is said to help not only treat bladder disease but also clear away infections in the urinary tract. This antiseptic tea may also help fight cystitis.
  • This herbal tea may be able to treat other infections, such as strep throat, E. coli, or yeast infections.

External Uses: Make a cooled eucalyptus infusion to use as a topical treatment for skin infections or inflammation. Use this herbal tea to clear away bacteria or microbes that are causing your problems.

  • As a compress this herbal infusion may be used to help scar wounds and begin the healing process. It may be used on cuts, burns and other wounds that you need help cleaning.
  • When applied topically this tea is also said to make your skin look healthier and feel fresher. You may resort to this tea when you need to get rid of lice or just simply repel insects.
  • You may find relief from muscle pains or joint stiffness by using a warm compress made with eucalyptus tea. This may also apply when the ache is caused by rheumatism or arthritis. The herbal infusion may clear away the inflammation and soothe the area.
  • Tip: Try soaking in a bath infused with eucalyptus tea when your body is aching.

Eucalyptus essential oil is well-loved in the field of aromatherapy. There are around 500 different species of eucalyptus essential oil produced around the world, but these four are the most commonly used:

Eucalyptus globulus: This species is the top choice for creating eucalyptus essential oil, and is the ingredient used for various eucalyptus products as well.

Eucalyptus polybractea: Also known as “Blue Mallee,” it is high in cineole, which is a colorless liquid terpene with an odor similar to camphor.

Eucalyptus radiata: Also known as “narrow-leaved peppermint,” it is known for its refreshing aroma.

Eucalyptus citriodora: Nicknamed the “lemon-scented gum,” it is primarily used in perfume and industrial purposes.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=129596

Benefits and Uses of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Colds and Flu: Basically, Eucalyptus can cleanse the body of micro-organisms and harmful toxins that make you feel unwell. One of the best ways to use eucalyptus oil is to add the essential oil to a diffuser and leave this on all night. You sleep sound as the healing benefits of eucalyptus works its magic. If your cold/flu is more severe then add between 5 to 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of boiling water, cover your head with a towel and inhale for 5 minutes. This should certainly clear your breathing.

Alleviating Pain: Eucalyptus essential oil has been scientifically proven to be particularly effective in alleviating pain, especially joint and muscle pain when topically applied. This is due to the beneficial herbal remedy’s potent compounds with incredibly powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Topical application of eucalyptus oil on the affected area is recommended to offer an almost immediate relief for arthritis, stiff muscles, fibrosis, nerve pain, ache, rheumatism, sprained tendons and ligaments, and lumbago among other types of body pains. Massaging the potent eucalyptus oil on the affected area in a circular motion is considered to be an even more effective treatment strategy.

Repelling Insects: You can now easily do away with irritating pests and insects thanks to the natural herbal remedy’s distinct smell that drives them off. The natural remedy is a potent natural insect repellant that can be used to effectively scare harmful and irritating pests. You can either use the eucalyptus essential oil as a mist in a vaporizer or mix it with your favorite skin care cosmetic cream before topically applying it on your body. This essential oil is mostly used as an effective natural insect repellant by individuals who are allergic to pharmaceutical aerosol products created for the same purpose.

Promoting Good Dental Health: Eucalyptus essential oil is a common natural ingredient used in various toothpaste and mouthwash dental products. This is mainly because of the herbal remedies increasingly potent germicidal and antibacterial properties that are combined with its minty yet quite camphoraceous taste. Apart from playing a major role in improving oral breath, the eucalyptus natural herbal remedy can also be used to treat a wide variety of dental disorders, fight tooth decay, alleviate toothaches and treat both cavities and dental plaque. All these beneficial properties make the essential eucalyptus oil a must-go-to drug for various if not all dental-related issues.

Boosting the Immune System: Various scientific studies show that eucalyptus oil contains potent natural properties and compounds that can be used to enhance the immune system. For instance, when topically applied to the human skin, the essential oil can easily strengthen and stimulate immune cells, thus providing a super protective barrier against common infections.

Macrophages are unique types of body cells that whose main role is to fight and kill infections. Apart from that, the published scientific study also revealed that the natural herbal remedy actively helped the body to strengthen its protective mechanism (immune system) even further.

Treating Respiratory Issues: Eucalyptus essential oil has been scientifically proven to be quite effective in treating a wide range of respiratory issues, especially coughs and colds. The herbal remedy can also be used to offer relief against various sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis symptoms.

Eucalyptus leaves contain potent expectorant compounds that help in removing excess mucus and phlegm from the respiratory tract and sinuses thus actively eliminating thus threatening the existence of pathogens like bacteria that thrive in such environments. The natural herbal remedy’s vasodilating, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties are particularly effective for treating multiple asthma symptoms. All these eucalyptus benefits for breathing are crucial for maintaining a healthy respiratory system.

Alleviating Fever: The eucalyptus plant is often referred to as the “fever” tree due to its amazing ability to reduce body temperature and manage fever. A more effective natural herbal fever remedy can be produced by combining the eucalyptus essential oil with peppermint oil and then spraying it on the sick person’s body. You can also dilute the potent mixture with either water or olive oil when using it on a patient with a sensitive skin.

Diabetes Management: The natural herbal remedy can be used to manage and even prevent diabetes. There are various scientific studies that are still being carried out to explain the eucalyptus essential oil’s significant role in lowering blood sugar levels. Various research findings also indicate that the eucalyptus tree’s leaves can be brewed into a highly potent herbal tea that can be used to prevent and even treat diabetes. Drinking particularly one to two cups of the herbal infusion daily is highly recommended.

It is important to consult your doctor or licensed health practitioner before consuming the herbal remedy or any other natural remedy for that matter to manage your diabetes condition. This is because the essential oil’s blood sugar lowering effect might be dangerous depending on your current diabetes condition. Eucalyptus oil’s vasodilating properties can also lead to an increase in overall blood circulation, which is a major diabetes symptom.

Treating Anxiety, Stress, Depression, and Fatigue: This essential health benefit is attributed to the natural herbal remedy’s potent soothing and sedative effects. Eucalyptus tea is a natural remedy commonly recommended, especially for individuals suffering from chronic stress and anxiety. Apart from that, the herbal remedy’s vasodilation and stimulant properties help to relax blood vessels thus increasing blood flow.

By increasing blood flow to the brain, the herbal remedy actively rejuvenates the entire body system, thus; promoting active behavior. Mental exhaustion can also be alleviated by consuming the eucalyptus natural herbal remedy. You are likely to become slightly sluggish when suffering from any major or minor medical condition. However, you can solve this issue simply by consuming the natural herbal remedy.

Eucalyptus Benefits for Skin: According to the “University of Maryland Medical Centre,” the eucalyptus essential oil has been used to reduce inflammation, treat various skin infections and heal wounds for centuries now. Cineole, citronellal, and citronellol are the main compounds that provide the herbal remedy with its potent antibacterial compounds that are beneficial to the skin.

Eucalyptus oil also contains antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that are particularly effective for treating sores, wounds, burns, abrasions, scrapes and cuts. The herbal remedy can also be made into a healing ointment or salve for treating insect bites and stings.

Wound Treatment: Eucalyptus oil has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that are effective at treating wounds, burns, cuts, abrasions, sores and scrapes. It also can be made into a salve or healing ointment and put on bug bites and stings. Along with acting as a natural pain reliever to the area, it also keeps the area from getting infected, which speeds healing.

Odor Remover: Whether you’re battling smelly shoes or a stinky dog bed, topically wash items to remove odors with a wet rag soaked in eucalyptus oil-infused water, and place outside to dry in the sun. This can prevent odors as well as keep the shape intact! You may also mix it with lemon oil or tea tree oil for an anti-stink spray.

Air Cleanser: Try putting a few drops into your vacuum and clothes dryer filters to freshen them up and sanitize them a little. Also, it’s great for killing mold in your home, and you can mix eucalyptus with other oils like clove and tea tree oil to cleanse the air and maintain a mold-free home.

Spot Remover: Like lemon essential oil, eucalyptus oil is highly effective at removing spots on your carpet, clothes and basically every fabric you have in the house. It even works to get gum off your shoes! Make sure to “test” it on an inconspicuous place first just to make sure the oil doesn’t react strangely with the material you treat. You just don’t know what’s in the synthetic materials nowadays!

Eucalyptus Side Effects: Eucalyptus essential oil in its original state is extremely potent and can be actually poisonous when undiluted, especially for young children. It is important that you consume the herbal remedy in small quantities as it can be toxic when overused. The herbal remedy has also been reported to cause airborne contact dermatitis in individuals with certain levels of allergic sensitivities. Eucalyptus essential oil is also known to interfere with certain homeopathic remedies, hence; it will be wise for you to consult a licensed herbalist before deciding to use it.

By Arnaud Gaillard (arnaud () amarys.com) – Self. Photo de l’auteur., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2411

Recipes with Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Asthma and Bronchitis

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces of dried eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 ounce of dried coltsfoot leaves
  • 1 ounce of dried thyme leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Procedure:

  • Mix all herbs together, and pour 1 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of boiling water.
  • Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Serve and enjoy.

Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Acne

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce of dried eucalyptus leaves
  • 1 ounce of dried dandelion roots and leaves
  • 0.75 ounces of dried licorice root
  • 1 cup of water
  • 0.75 ounces of fennel seeds

Procedure

  • Mix all herbs together and pour 1 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of boiling water.
  • Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Serve and enjoy.
  • Alternatively, you can use the tea as a facial wash. Simply let the tea cool to a comfortable temperature first before applying to your skin.

Eucalyptus Tea Recipe for Head Colds

Ingredients:

  • 0.5 ounces of dried eucalyptus leaves
  • 0.5 ounces of dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 ounce of dried peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • Raw, organic honey to taste

Procedure:

  • Mix all herbs together, and pour 1 teaspoon of the mixture into a cup of boiling water.
  • Add honey to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Making Infused Eucalyptus Oil: The great thing about eucalyptus oil is that you can make it in your own home, especially if you have leftovers from making tea. Below are a few things you need to make infused eucalyptus oil:

Ingredients:

  • Kitchen weighing scale
  • 2 ounces of eucalyptus leaves
  • Olive oil or a different carrier oil
  • Crock pot
  • Small-gauge mesh strainer
  • Airtight jar made of dark glass

Procedure:

  • Gently crush the eucalyptus leaves with your fist to release the oil. You may use more or less depending on the size of your crock pot.
  • Place the eucalyptus leaves in the crock pot.
  • Add 1 cup of olive oil for every 1/4 ounce of leaves in the crock pot.
  • Place the lid on the crock pot and turn it on at low heat. Let the mixture steep for 6 hours.
  • Strain the eucalyptus oil through the mesh strainer and into the jar.
  • Seal the jar and date it.
  • Store the eucalyptus oil in a cool, dry spot, where it will remain viable for 6 months. If needed longer, store the oil in the vegetable crisper drawer in your refrigerator, where it will last for about a year.

References:

  1. https://www.edensgarden.com/blogs/news/this-or-that-whats-the-difference-between-our-eucalyptus-essential-oils
  2. http://www.experience-essential-oils.com/uses-of-eucalyptus.html
  3. https://www.therighttea.com/eucalyptus-tea.html
  4. http://www.experience-essential-oils.com/uses-of-eucalyptus.html
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus_globulus
  6. https://www.herbs-for-health.com/eucalyptus-benefits/
  7. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-700-EUCALYPTUS.aspx
  8. https://articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/eucalyptus.aspx
  9. https://woman.thenest.com/eucalyptus-tea-good-for-3699.html
  10. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/eucalyptus.html
  11. https://www.livestrong.com/article/505179-benefits-of-eucalyptus-tea/
  12. https://draxe.com/eucalyptus-oil-uses-benefits/

Cold & Flu Tea

Mother Jai’s Cold & Flu Tea

This time of year, and especially into January, here in Colorado, everyone gets sick, even the healthiest of people. This is due to the wild swings in outdoor temperatures that happen in a cold desert. If we are not prepared and we get caught in a cold wind or a fast snowstorm and we get chilled, our defenses are lowered, and invaders creep in. Viruses and bacteria love the cold, that’s why we make a fever when infected.

Our biggest concern is the ingredients found in over-the-counter cold and flu medicines. Most of these chemical concoctions should not be consumed by a human and yet we willingly take them to feel better. So, we created all-natural herbal blends that are nourishing replacements for OTC chemicals.

Mother Jai’s blog provides information on alternatives to over-the-counter products (OTCs) and commercialized extracts (herbal supplements). Both to help protect you and your family’s healthy future and to help educate everyone on effective natural alternatives. Nature has always had the best remedies.

COLD & FLU TEA (find it here)

Peppermint: relieves headache and pain, strengthens immune system, fights sinus problems, thins mucus, soothes upset stomach, reduces stress and anxiety, stimulates alertness, and freshens breath.

Eucalyptus: decongestant, thins mucus, soothes mucous membranes, opens airways, relieves pain, boosts immunity, and is anti-inflammatory.

Marjoram: tonic (nutrient dense), helps fight infection, removes free radicals, tastes great, and soothing to mucous membranes (prevents over-drying of sinuses that happens with decongestants).

Sage: cough suppressant, antispasmodic, improves immune function, enhances mental clarity and improves concentration, soothes sore throat and upset stomach.

Catnip: calms coughs and anxiety, reduces fevers, affects viruses, and is anti-inflammatory. Can cause drowsiness in large amounts, that’s why Mother Jai uses a small amount in this blend so that the peppermint can prevent that effect.

This tea is a MEDICINE and must be treated as such. It is not good to consume it every day, only during times of illness is this blend most beneficial.

Catnip

Catnip Leaf (Nepeta cataria)

The flowering perennial known commonly as catnip, catmint, or catswort actually has the scientific name of Nepeta cataria, and although most people don’t realize, this treat so commonly reserved for its sedative, calming effects on cats, also has extensive benefits for human beings. It’s native range is quite extensive, stretching across much of Europe and parts of Asia, including China, but it has since become a global export and can be found throughout the world. It is primarily potent due to a certain terpenoid, called nepetelactone, but various other chemical constituents and nutrients also affect various aspects of human health.

Nepeta cataria is a short-lived perennial, herbaceous plant that grows to be 50–100 cm (20–39 in) tall and wide, which blooms from late-spring to the autumn. In appearance, N. cataria resembles a typical member of the mint family of plants, featuring brown-green foliage with the characteristic square stem of the Lamiaceae family of plants. The coarse-toothed leaves are triangular to elliptical in shape. The small, bilabiate flowers of N. cataria are showy and fragrant, and are either pink in colour or white with fine spots of pale purple.

Catnip can be applied topically via the leaves or the essential oil, while catnip tea brewed from the leaves is also popular. The extracts and essential oils are also quite popular. The historical range of catnip uses include teas, juices, tinctures, extracts, salves, and even as an herb to be smoked, in addition to its culinary applications. The various forms of catnip have been used for generations in alternative medicine, and modern research has also shown it to be a reliable treatment for some common maladies.

Health benefits of catnip for humans include:

Stress Relief: The same quality that makes catnip so attractive to cats, namely because it makes them slightly “high” and sedates them, can also apply to humans in a more controlled way. Catnip can provide stress relief and reduce chronic anxiety as an herbal remedy when eaten, consumed in the form of a juice or tea, or when smoked as an herb. This can also help to reduce the secondary symptoms of chronic stress and strengthen your immune system.

Swallowed Emotions: A favorite use for this plant is to address the specific kind of stress and anxiety created in the body when people can’t express their emotions. This is perfect for someone who isn’t able to tell the boss or the in-law just what they’d like to say because it wouldn’t be polite, or good for the family budget.

Sleep Aid: Catnip has been used by people with insomnia or sleep restlessness for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The sedative nature helps to slow down the body’s natural cycles and induce a calm, relaxed state. People are better able to sleep through the night for undisturbed, restful sleep. Many people choose to drink a cup of catnip tea before bed to ensure a refreshing sleep.

Reduces Digestive Issues: Catnip is particularly effective in clearing up digestive issues, especially constipation, excess flatulence, cramping, and bloating. The relaxing, anti-inflammatory effects of catnip’s organic compounds can ease the knots and inflammation in your gastrointestinal system and relieve tightness and discomfort.

Colic: Catnip is a digestive herb. The scent that we get when we rub its leaves between our fingers is evidence of a high amount of volatile oils. This plant chemical is responsible for its ability to calm the stomach of an adult or a nursing child with colic.

Menstrual Cramps: For women suffering from particularly painful menstrual cramps, catnip tea is often recommended as an alternative treatment, because it can quickly relieve those cramps and stresses on the body. Furthermore, the sedative, calming effects of catnip can also soothe other symptoms of menstruation, such as mood swings and depression.

Headache Reliever: Although the exact mechanism isn’t completely understood, catnip has proven to be very effective in the treatment of headaches, even chronic migraines. Rubbing the essential oil on the affected area can work, but drinking catnip tea or rubbing a catnip leaf salve on the temples can also offer quick relief.

Fever: This is one of the most popular herbs for reducing a fever. It is part of a class of herbs called febrifuges. These herbs have the ability to cool the body by inducing a sweat. It is almost never a good idea to interrupt a fever. For the rare times that a fever has been particularly prolonged (your patient is becoming dehydrated and listless) or too high (over 102° for a typically healthy adult, around 104° for a typically healthy child) it can be helpful to have a fever tincture around.

Speeds-up Healing: In terms of colds and flus, one of the fastest ways to clean out the body is to induce sweating and get the toxins flushed from the system. This is particularly true in the case of fevers, when the lack of sweating before the fever breaks is only keeping those toxins and pathogens in the body. Catnip induces sweating, so is often recommended by alternative practitioners for treating the common cold.

Anti-inflammatory Activity: As mentioned above, the chemical constituents of catnip are particularly effective as anti-inflammatory agents. This means that catnip can be effective in the treatment of arthritis, gout, sprained muscles, aching joints, and even hemorrhoids. Topical application or normal consumption of leaves, juice, or tea can be effective for all of these situations.

Treats Skin Conditions: The natural repellent quality of catnip makes it ideal for keeping bugs away from gardens when kept as an ornamental plant, but the organic compounds in the plant make it ideal for soothing bug bites and relieving irritation on the skin. Applying salves or extracts to irritated or broken skin can speed the healing process and reduce inflammation quickly.

Complete Nutrient: Although eating catnip leaves is the least common form of consumption for human beings, catnip actually has a rather impressive collection of nutrients, from beneficial chemicals and unique organic compounds to essential acids, minerals, and vitamins that our bodies need. In other words, the plant can do a lot more than knock out a cat!

Cautions: For people suffering from liver or kidney disorders, the use of catnip may be risky, particularly if you are regularly consuming the tea. Furthermore, pregnant women should avoid catnip, as it can prematurely induce labor. Other than those specific concerns, catnip is generally considered non-allergenic and harmless to users. The high potency of the essential oil should be considered, however, and extracts should always be mixed with carrier oils.

Catnip for Cats

Catnip contains the feline attractant nepetalactone. Nepeta cataria (and some other species within the genus Nepeta) are known for their behavioral effects on the cat family, not only on domestic cats but also other species of cats. Several tests showed that leopards, cougars, servals, and lynxes often reacted strongly to catnip in a manner similar to domestic cats and while lions and tigers can react strongly as well, they do not react as consistently.

With domestic cats, N. cataria is used as a recreational substance for pet cats’ enjoyment, and catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers. Common behaviors cats display when they sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip are rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some growl, meow, scratch or bite at the hand holding it. The main response period after exposure is generally between five and fifteen minutes, after which olfactory fatigue usually sets in.

Cats detect nepetalactone through their olfactory epithelium, not through their vomeronasal organ. At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone binds to one or more olfactory receptors.

Not all cats are affected by catnip; roughly 33% are not affected by the plant. The behavior is hereditary. An early 1962 pedigree analysis of 26 cats in a Siamese breeding colony suggested that the catnip response was caused by a Mendelian dominant gene; however, a 2011 pedigree analysis of 210 cats in 2 breeding colonies (taking into account measurement error by repeated testing) showed no evidence for Mendelian patterns of inheritance, and instead demonstrated heritabilities of h2=0.51–0.89 for catnip response behavior, indicating a polygenic liability threshold model.

Other plants that also have this effect on cats include valerian (Valeriana officinalis) root, silver vine (Actinidia polygama) and Tatarian honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) wood. It has been shown that many cats who do not respond to catnip do respond to one or more of these three alternatives.

Health benefits of catnip for cats include:

  • The chemical compound in the plant that attracts and affects cats is called nepetalactone. It is found in the leaves and stems.
  • Nepetalactone is a stimulant when sniffed by a cat, producing a “high” that is described as being similar to either marijuana or LSD. (How this was determined, I do not know.) And the effects last for about 10 minutes before wearing off and the cat going back to normal.
  • When a cat eats catnip, it acts as a sedative, but when smelled, it causes the cat to go crazy. It is thought to mimic feline pheremones and trigger those receptors.
  • Cats may react to the plant by rolling around, flipping over, and generally being hyperactive.
  • About 50 percent of cats seem to be affected by catnip, and the behavior that results varies widely between individuals, and it is believed to be an inherited sensitivity.
  • And if your cat does have the sensitivity, it will not emerge until your cat is several months old, young kittens are not affected by the chemicals in the plant.
  • Cats may rub against and chew on catnip to bruise the leaves and stems, which then release more nepetalactone.
  • Catnip is safe for cats. If they eat a lot, they may vomit and have diarrhea, but will return to normal given time (and no more catnip).
  • It is also known to help humans, it has been used for its sedative properties in humans for centuries, having similar properties to chamomile and is a very potent mosquito repellent
  • If cats are exposed to catnip frequently, they may no longer respond to it. Some people recommend that it shouldn’t be given more than once every two or three weeks to prevent habituation.

References:

  1. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/catnip.html
  2. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/146/3649/1318
  3. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja01851a019
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