Feb 12, 2014
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Family ► Labiatae, Lamiaceae.

Habitat ► Cultivated in Britain and the USA. Occurs in Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal at 2,000-3,300 m.

English ► Catnip, Catnep, Catmint.

Action ► Leaves and flowers— gentle nerve relaxant and sedative, carminative, antispasmodic, an- tidiarrhoeal, diaphoretic, febrifuge. Used in restlessness, convulsions, nervous headache, colic, early stages of fever, colds and influenza. The herb is to be infused (not boiled).

Catnip contains iridoids, tannins and volatile oil, major components being alpha- and beta-nepetalactone (up to 42%), citronellol and geraniol.

The catnip response in the domestic cat is being attributed to iridoid lac- tones, nepetalactone, dihydronepeta- lactone, iso-dihydronepetalactone and neonepetalactone. Its reputation as a hallucinogen has been disputed, but a few studies have shown behavioural effects, although weak, in young chicks, rodents and cats. (Potter’s New Cyclopaedia.)

Neptalactone is structurally related to valepotriates found in valerian. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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