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CATNIP

Other Names:

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

 Overview
 Uses
 Side Effects
 Interactions
 Dosing
Overview Information

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.

How does it work?

It is thought that the chemicals in catnip have a calming effect.

Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • 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.


Side Effects & Safety

Catnip seems to be safe for most adults. It is UNSAFE when smoked, when taken by mouth in high doses (cups of catnip tea, for example), or when used in children.

It can cause headaches, vomiting, and a feeling of being ill.

Not enough is known about the safety of applying catnip directly to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is UNSAFE to use take catnip during pregnancy. There is some evidence that catnip can stimulate the uterus, and this might cause a miscarriage.

Not enough is known about the safety of using catnip during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side, and don’t use.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Women with PID should avoid using catnip because it can start menstruation.

Heavy menstrual periods (menorrhagia): Because catnip can cause menstruation, it might make heavy menstrual periods worse.

Surgery: Catnip seems to be able to slow down the central nervous system (CNS), causing sleepiness and other effects. Anesthesia and some other drugs used during and after surgery also slow down the CNS. There is a concern that using catnip along with these drugs might slow down the CNS too much. Stop using catnip at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Lithium interacts with CATNIP

    Catnip might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking catnip might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with CATNIP

    Catnip might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking catnip along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
    Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.


Dosing

The appropriate dose of catnip depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for catnip. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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