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Catnip: what is it for, what are its effects on humans and cats. Advice on when and how to grow this plant.
Catnip is a herbaceous perennial, its scientific name isNepeta catariaand is famous for its aromatic compounds. It has labiati flowers and belongs to the Lamiaceae family, the same as mint and many other aromatic herbs.
All parts of the plant have a pleasant mint smell, linked to the high concentration of menthol. The smell of this plant attracts and animates the spirit of cats.
Catnip: effects on cats
If it's called catnip, there must be a reason! This herbaceous plant is loved by cats because it is rich innepetalactone, this terpene is imperceptible for the human nose but not for the feline one: it is an analogue of the cat pheromones and has a neuroactive effect towards the feline.
Cats that perceive the smell of nepetalactone are attracted to this herbaceous plant so much that the smell will affect their behavior. If a cat sniffs these leaves, especially if they are freshly cut, they will tend to rub against the stems, roll on them or even lick and chew them. This reaction can last several minutes, after which the cat will lose interest and calm down until it is again attracted by the pheromone analogue.
Catnip: what is it for?
It serves to stimulate the feline! This vegetable can animate the life of cats and trigger very pleasant sensations in the little cat of the house.
Catmint or grass? Even if for us humans, catnip has a smell similar to cat mint, these two plants should not be confused, in fact they do not have the same effect on cats. These are two different species. Both contain menthol and for this reason they seem similar to the human sense of smell, but it is not as stimulating for feline friends. For more information on the cat mint I refer you to the page: how to grow mint
Catnip: effects on humans
According to thefolk medicine, catnip is considered a good natural remedy in case of stress and insomnia, thanks to its antispasmodic properties, catnip is considered a remedy for menstrual cramps, contractures and intestinal pain. It is rich in menthol.
Is it possible to smoke? Catnip as a drug
L'dry catnipit is used to make cigarettes with milder effects than marijuana. We do not advise you to try! In theory, smoking catnip shouldn't cause addiction as this vegetable does not contain alkaloids. Catnip as a mild drug is used for allegedly euphoric and, at the same time, relaxing effects.
Catnip: where to buy
L'dry catnipyou can buy it in herbal medicine, where it is offered chopped or in dried leaves. They are not missingpet-shopoffering dry catnip bags for domestic cat recreation.
Amazon can also be a good solution for those wonderingwhere to find dried catnip. At "this Amazon address", for example, a bag of dried catnip can be bought at a price of 13.02 euros with free shipping. We have selected this product because it is derived from organic cultivation, therefore pesticide-free and safe to use.
How to grow catnip
This herbaceous plant has a rapid growth and does not exceed 15 cm in height. It has a perennial biological cycle, an erect stem that ends with labiati flowers and ... is very resistant and easy tocultivate.
The plant can be grown easily in any location in Italy, it resists the cold well enough to grow even in the snow. Therenepeta catariait can be grown in a simple pot or in the garden, working the soil in order to remove solid clods. If cultivated in pots it can be sown or planted in containers rich in universal soil. It does not require special care.
Who prefersgrow catnipcan easily start from seeds. Those who sow indoors can continue at any time of the year. Those who want to grow catnip in the garden or in the vegetable garden, perhaps to create flower beds where cats can have fun, will have to wait for the ideal period for sowing which goes from March to September in the north of Italy and, all year round, in the Central-Southern Italy. In reality, even in the north, it could be sown in winter, however germination times become slower.
For growing in pots, a tray at least 15 cm high is enough, so as to provide the herbaceous plant with a broad enough substrate to promote the growth of the root system.
Where to buy icatnip seeds? Also in this case you can take advantage of the online purchase, on “this Amazon page” a bag of catnip seeds can be bought for 5.23 euros with free shipping. You can also find catnip seeds at specialized garden centers and the most well-stocked agricultural consortia.