Catnip: Edible or Poisonous

Catnip is known for its beguiling effect on cats. But can it be given to the cuddly tigers to nibble on or is it poisonous? And: Is it actually edible for humans?

No toxic active ingredients

Catnip does not contain any substances that are harmful to the organism. It is non-toxic for both humans and animals. However, since it can cause intoxication-like states, it should probably be used in doses. In cats, for example, too high a dosage has led to aggressive behaviour.

Catnip as a condiment plant

Already in the Middle Ages the catnip was used. But in most cases their healing power and less their seasoning power was used. In its homeland, Persia, it is used as a spice plant for various traditional dishes.

Catnip can be eaten in different ways. You can snack on the flowers or use them for salads and desserts. They are extremely decorative due to their colour. They taste sweet and slightly minty. The leaves can also be used for smoothies, for example. Especially the varieties with lemon aroma are a welcome change for dishes.

The catnip for tea

The use of catnip for tea is better known in this country. Fresh or dried leaves can be used. Tea is a popular household remedy for various ailments. However, pregnant women should not drink it – except at birth, if necessary – as it promotes the contractions.

The leaves should not be boiled, but poured with hot water. When cooking, the essential oils would evaporate. The brew should be left to brew for 20 minutes. Who wants to relieve physical complaints with the tea, should drink three times daily a cup of it.

Catnip as a medicinal plant

A good side effect of catnip is that it has a positive effect when consumed or drunk as tea. Responsible for this are their essential oils and the alkaloid actinidine. The catnip works:

  • diuretic
  • antipyretic
  • detergent
  • anti-spasmodic
  • welding
  • appetite stimulating
  • antibacterial

Tips & Tricks

Catnip can be used as a tea infusion for example against colds, flu, bronchitis and gastrointestinal complaints.


Text: madeleine