Catnip (Mao Bo He)
Botanical Name: Nepeta cataria
Catnip is a gentle edible herb that is ideal for treating children’s fevers, but strong enough to be used by adults. It is often used by women to help induce stuck menses.
Below is an overview of catnip, combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of catnip.
Western Name: Catnip
Also Known As: Catswort, Catmint, Field Balm, Ment De Gato
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Uterus, Lungs, Skin
Key Actions: Relaxant, Diuretic, Tonic, Antifungal, Bacteriacide, Sedative, Febrifuge.
Medicinal Uses: Insomnia, anxiety, migraines and headaches, colds, flu, swine flu, hives, and worms. Treats indigestion, colic, cramping and gas. Increases urination and helps move delayed menses. Applied to skin to treat arthritis, hemorrhoids, swelling.
Pin Yin: Mao Bo He
Also Known As: N/A
Meridians: Stomach, Lungs
Key Actions: Releases to the Exterior, Clears Wind Heat, Relieves Stagnant Qi, Reduces Inflammation, Benefits Skin
Medicinal Uses: Colds, flu with headache, chills and fever, sore throat, congestion, wheezing, restlessness, emotional, mental or nervous tension, gas, cramping, dermatitis.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Flowering Top, Leaf
Flavors: Slightly Pungent, Bitter, Cool, Dry
Caution: Considered safe.
History/Folklore: Traditionally used to start menses and aid children’s coughs. Culpeper said, “taken alone or with other herbs in a decoction to bathe in, or sit over the hot fumes thereof; and by the frequent use thereof it takes away barrenness, and the winds and pains of the mother.” Especially effective in cases with congestion and restlessness or delirium. Has been used to treat psychological and physical unrest. Used in cooking to impart a subtle mint flavor. In early colonial times, it was suggested that ingesting catnip would somehow make even the kindest person mean. It was consumed by hangmen to “get in the mood” for performing their job.
Terpenoid nepetalactone is the constituent in catnip that attracts cats and butterflies.
It is a repellent for aphids, squash bugs, mosquitoes, and flies. The plant’s distilled oil repels cockroaches and termites and is considered ten times more effective than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents.
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