Pennywize-CatnipA member of the mint family, Catnip reveals itself as one of the most soothing and mildest wild medicine available today. Recorded usage of Catnip dates back to the 13th Century, where people used Catnip as a medicine cure-all. It comes to no surprise that even some practitioners today still take Catnip for pain, stress, flatulence, restlessness, and nervousness.

Most popularly known for its antispasmodic, relaxant, calming, and sedative properties, Catnip is also strongly anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, as well as having anti-inflammatory, astringent, antidiarrheal, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, and nervine properties. Catnip also contains significant amounts of Vitamin A and B Vitamins.

One of the strongest allies to children, Catnip may be used to treat high fevers (as it is known to relax the body while increasing perspiration), to settle the stomach and soothe children when they are upset. Catnip is the go to herb for children when they are wound up and overwrought. It has a gentle tonic action that helps to calm a child. Catnip infusions and baths help relieve achy muscles that accompany flu and illness. It can also be used externally on the stomach of colicky babies to relax the stomach and help them sleep. Due to its sedative and relaxing properties, Catnip is the perfect remedy to help children relax and sleep better.

Catnip is a mild digestive herb with excellent antispasmodic properties. It is used for stress, tension, and anxiety and is well suited to digestive conditions where these play a contributory role. It can be used for gas, flatulence, dyspepsia, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It may also help ease menstrual cramps.

Catnip, due to its soothing and relaxing properties, helps soothe problems caused by nervousness including anxiety, indigestion and insomnia. Used for its overall calming effect on mind, body and even stomach, many of its uses are stress relieving in one form or another.

Catnip effectively repels insects, according to a study published by the American Chemical Society in August 2001.The chemical Nepetalactone that gives catnip its strong scent repels mosquitoes 10 times more effectively than DEET, the compound used in most commercial bug repellents. While the study researched catnip as an essential oil, catnip tea retains some of the strong aroma of the leaves, so may keep bugs away. Alternatively, use catnip essential oil as a bug repellent.

It is quite well known that cats go crazy for catnip. This is because the essential oil has an aroma that is similar to that of the pheromones that cats secrete. Scientists have ascertained that the feline reaction to Catnip is due to its content of Nepetalactone.

Rigorous scientific study on Catnip has not been conducted, but according to the NYU Langone Medical Center, Nepetalactone is the active ingredient thought to be responsible for the calming effect and stress relieving properties reported from the human consumption of catnip. This ingredient is also thought to be the reason catnip is so effective at treating stomach upset.

Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D. of the University of Maryland Medical Center writes that catnip tea may benefit patients with bulimia nervosa and infant colic. Bulimia nervosa involves eating large amounts of food, then purging or vomiting. Colic occurs when infants cry excessively at about the same time of day at least three days a week, and may result from gas or food intolerance.

The University of Michigan notes that catnip also contains mucilage properties, which can help suppress coughs.

This plant should not be used during pregnancy as it contains Pugelone – which is potentially teratogenic.

Infuse for 15 minutes, or the leaves can be dried and used in the kitchen for culinary uses.

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stinging_nettleDid you know Nettle is one of the most nutritious plants you can eat? Did you also know that it grows all around you? That’s right. Nettle is native to Europe, Asia, North America, and North Africa. Rich in iron, calcium, fiber, chlorophyll, and magnesium, as well as many vitamins, proteins and other minerals, Nettle is used to treat a plethora of different conditions, with amazing success.

Nettle, first of all, is an adaptogen. This means that it helps the body adapt to stress. Furthermore, Nettle is alkalizing, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anti-allergenic, antioxidant, alterative, astringent, anti-rheumatism and is a general body tonic. Due to these properties, in Germany today, Nettle is sold as an herbal drug for prostate disease and as a diuretic. It is also a common ingredient in other herbal drugs for rheumatic complaints and inflammatory conditions.

Nettle’s medicinal properties work on the whole body, strengthening the kidneys, the blood, the immune system and endocrines. In short, Nettle is a plant that gives strength, courage and vitality. Nettle can be taken on a daily basis over a long period of time, even years. My teacher has been drinking it daily for over 15 years. Let me tell you, she looks great!

Due to its high iron content, which increases production of red blood cells, Nettle is used not only to treat anemia, but also to alleviate the tendency to be cold, which is a frequent symptom of this disease.

Nettle reduces the amount of histamine that is produced by the body in response to an allergen. An allergen is a substance such as pollen that may provoke an exaggerated immune response in individuals who are sensitive to it. The release of histamine causes several allergic symptoms; it contributes both to an inflammatory response, as well as causing constriction of smooth muscles.

Nettle, as a bath or compress, can be used to treat skin complaints, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne, as well as arthritic pain, gout, neuralgia, hemorrhoids, and hair problems such as dandruff or an oily scalp. In one case, a woman was able to reverse the early graying of her hair, which was due to mineral deficiency.

Even though Nettle does not have any direct hepatic or carminative properties, it still has a beneficial effect on the digestive system, perhaps because it helps with the absorption of nutrients, as well as having astringent properties. An astringent shrinks and tightens the top layers of the skin or mucous membrane, thereby reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness. Therefore, Nettle is used to treat intestinal and gastric ulcers, as well as chronic conditions of the colon and diarrhea. Due to its high fiber content, Nettle ensures good intestinal elimination, thus helping with the health of the colon, as well as eliminating hormones and other wastes. In Russia, Nettle is used to treat hepatitis as well as inflammation of the gallbladder.

Not only is Nettle the remedy for PreMenstrual Syndrom, it also lowers water retention and relieves sore breasts. Due to its high magnesium content, Nettle lowers sugar cravings, as well as irritability and hypoglycemia. For breastfeeding, know that Nettle is considered a galactagogue which increases the flow of a mother’s milk.

Here are a few others conditions known to have been treated with Nettle:
– Chronic fatigue, lack of energy
– Urinary problems and weak kidneys
– Hemorrhage and heavy menstruations
– Cancer (In Germany, Nettle root has recently been used to treat prostate cancer).
– Hypertension
– Light cardiac edema
– Venous insufficiency
– Hay fever
– Bronchial or allergenic asthma
– Bronchitis
– Blood or mucus in the stool
– Burns
– Wounds, or bleeding wounds
– Dermatitis
– Chronic cystitis

As with most plants, certain people have a harder time digesting Nettle. Trust your body. If it causes bloating, and an unwell feeling, this would be the sign. Either mix with a warming, carminative herb (such as Cardamom, Cinnamon, Holy Basil, Ginger or Lavender), or unfortunately, disregard the use of this plant until different effects take place. Again, it is wise to note, that as with most plants, the location of where the plant was harvested, as well as the state of the soil determines how much mineral potency is available to the plant.

Infuse for 15 minutes, or eat as a green vegetable.

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