Catnip is best known for the relaxing and playful effects it imparts on domestic cats in the form of various toys filled with the dried herb for occasional kitty recreation. Catnip is a mildly aromatic perennial also cultivated for support of human wellness and is sometimes used in herbal teas.
The essential oil may be enjoyed in simple diffusion or blended into carrier oils for use on human skin. Catnip essential oil in conjunction with other essential oils imparts a subtle aroma and feel of serenity and repose.
Catnip is native to Europe and is also widely naturalized in North America. The common name ‘catmint’ may also refer to the genus as a whole. The names catnip and catmint are derived from the intense attraction that domestic and some wild felines show towards these plants.
A naturally occurring chemical within Catnip 'terpenoid nepetalactone' is the main chemical constituent of the essential oil of Catnip and it is often extracted by steam distillation. Nepetalactone is a modestly effective mosquito and fly deterrent.