Catnip – Nepeta cataria
Catnip is a hardy perennial. It can grow from 3 to 5 feet tall! It likes full sun, and can tolerate dry conditions. Left to flower and set seed, it will seed itself all around the garden, and beyond it as well. It is a member of the mint family and has the square stem characteristic of that family. Its blooms are clustered at the top of the stems and are a soft white color. It is a really great plant for attracting bees, and is a must-have for the pollinators in your garden.
Use aerial parts (leaves, stems, and flowers), either fresh or dried. Harvest by cutting back the whole stalk (leaving a few terminal buds at the base of the stalk to regrow). Dry in bunches with stems tied together, or pick off fresh leaves a few at a time to use as needed.
While catnip is a known stimulant for cats, who roll in it, eat it, and otherwise enjoy it, in humans it has the opposite effect. It is calming and soothes nervousness. A good sleepy-time tea, it is a gentle relaxant and digestive aid. Sip it to help settle nerves and anxiety. It is also used in cold and flu remedies, and for feverish conditions.
Catnip tea is gentle enough to use for infants and children, for such ailments as measles, chicken pox, colic, fevers, indigestion, nervousness, headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, and hyper activity.
A nice blend for nervousness in both adults and children, mix it with chamomile and lemonbalm, and steep for 5-7 minutes.