Nepeta cataria – from the Mint family, this herb has been used for 2,000 years to relieve cough and cold symptoms in humans and cause cats to swoon or act a little crazy, depending on whether they smell it or eat it.

Catnip was brought to America from Europe as a medicinal herb.  It is a very hardy perennial and escaped to the wild.  Catnip prefers rich soil, self-seeds profusely and is harvested before flowering for the aromatic leaves.

In addition to its use for colds (induces sweating), young leaves are made into a weak tea that has been used to ease colic in babies.  It is also considered a sedative to ease insomnia and nightmares as well as a digestive aid, like most members of the mint family.

Young Catnip - one of the first plants to come out in spring.

Young Catnip – one of the first
plants to come out in spring.

Most sources state that Catnip grows 3′ – 5′ tall  – this one is almost 7′ tall.

Catnip growing beside a Climbing Rose, competing to be the tallest.

Catnip growing beside a Climbing Rose, competing to be the tallest.

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