***I am in no way recommending or encouraging the use of catnip for any reason (outside of giving to your cat). There is such a thing as catnip overdose in humans. Don’t be an idiot***

I didn’t have a cat growing up, so everything I know about cats I’ve learned since getting our first cat a few years ago. Cats are weird little creatures and have inspired me to read and observe as much as I can. One thing that got my interest early on was that some people are afraid to give their cats catnip because they are worried they’ll become raging drug addicts. Most cats are already raging food addicts (or at least mine is), so I would be worried too if I thought catnip would add to his list of demands. Luckily, anyone with a computer can find everything they need to know about catnip and how it works.

Here is a super quick sciencey rundown:

When smelled, the active ingredient, nepetalactone, stimulates the olfactory bulb which then stimulates the nervous system in 50-75% of cats over the age of 8 weeks. The stimulation produces euphoric or hallucinogenic effects causing the cat to do things resembling play, predatory, and sexual behaviors. The effects can last up to 15 minutes and has an hour refractory period where the cat cannot be stimulated further.

Mkay… So, I can see how observation can tell us that the cat is enjoying a sense of euphoria after catnip stimulation, but how do we know they’re hallucinating? Turns out, people know from human experience! People have been using catnip for centuries and I found a huge list of “common” uses of catnip ranging from easing toothaches to recreational use that might help explain why your grandma has such a huge stash in her basement.

Catnip for the insane

Catnip was used for people with “nervous problems”. Catnip tea and infusions had a calming effect and were used to treat headaches, hysteria, and insanity. Though, it was said that chewing the root had an opposite effect, stimulating people into a sort of rage.

Catnip for Women’s Health

Catnip was used to aid in women’s fertility. It was used to increase the flow of menstruation (honestly, why??), assisted in childbirth, promoted afterbirth, and a wet mash of catnip was used to ease sore breasts from nursing.

Catnip for Baby

Catnip was used to relieve colic in infants. It was also said to relieve gassiness and the hiccups. Overdoses were reported to cause convulsions and fell out of favor.

Catnip to cure what ails you

Catnip mash was used to ease toothaches, tonsillitis, and hemorrhoid pain. It was a common cold remedy, hive reducer, and was used to both cool a feverish body and to stimulate sweating. It was a common pain reliever for arthritis by reducing painful swelling.

Catnip for common diseases

Catnip infusions were used to calm whooping cough and measles. Catnip tea was used for asthma, yellow fever, scarlet fever, small pox, and jaundice. Catnip was smoked in an effort to relieve respiratory issues, like tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Catnip in the 60’s

I bet you get the idea already, but catnip was commonly used in the 60’s as a recreational drug. It was used in place of and as a filler for marijuana. People reported visual and auditory hallucinations and euphoria. Catnip was given up for the more reliable effects of marijuana.

I’ll say it again…

***I am in no way recommending or encouraging the use of catnip for any reason (outside of giving to your cat). There is such a thing as catnip overdose in humans. Don’t be an idiot***

Source by Amber Ketchum