Common name Catnip

Latin name Nepeta Cataria

Parts used leaves

System affinities

Catnip has an affinity for the nervous and circulatory systems.

Energetics/characteristics/flower essence/dosha

Catnip is a calming sedative.  It also has anesthetic and carminative properties.  It is used to cool the body in cases of fever, anxiety, and tension.  It is often indicated for the pitta dosha who tend to have an excess of heat.

Taste and quality

Catnip is sweet, pungent, and slightly bitter.


Catnip is often indicated for anxiety.  Catnip is also used as an ointment for piles, scabs, scurf and other skin ailments.  It is also taken in cases of cold and fever.

History and lore

Nepeta catataria is thought to have taken its name from the Etrurian city of Neptic (today the town Nepi in the province of Viterbo). The Romans regarded catnip very highly and used it in their recipes and herbal medicines.  In the Middle Ages, Nepeta catataria was known as catmint or ‘nep’. 


Catnip is normally found in dry disturbed sites, roadsides, waste places, old farmyards, and in cultivated herb gardens. In the Southwest it is often planted as an ornamental as it is one of the more drought resistant members of the mint family.

Dosing and formulas