The cat is carnivorous, but many felines are literally nepeta cataria in raptures for a very particular plant which, surprisingly, also has beneficial effects on human health. It is the nepeta cataria, also known as catnip or catmint, or even catnip. What are the effects and properties of this vegetable for our cat?
Catnip: nepeta cataria or wheatgrass?
Before discovering the properties of this vegetable that seems to send cats to Heaven, it is useful to make a distinction of catnip. Some cats are attracted to, a plant with an erect and branchy stem that exceeds even the height of one meter. It has heart-shaped and serrated leaves, gray to green in color and hairy in the lower part. The flowers are white with pale blue shades and come together in spikes like those of lavender. The flowering period is between May and August and also attract bees. Instead, some felines prefer wheatgrass or barley grass, or the first sprouts of these vegetables that are similar to common grass, which can be grown all year round. Both types of grass for cats are very simple to grow and require very little care: just a vase with a little soil and constant watering.
Catnip: effects on the cat
Every time the cat approaches the catnip, we see that it sniffs, licks it, touches it with its snout as if to cuddle it, then roll it over and eat it to taste, while the females tend to take on the classic mating movements. As for older felines, this sort of drug will make them come back puppies and jump and play. For us humans, however, it is a sedative and an economic digestive. Also for the cat, it is a very powerful digestive especially for the notorious hairballs: the peristalsis and the digestive function are stimulated by folic acid, very useful to make the cats’ stomach free. Moreover, both for cats and for humans, taking this vegetable promotes the elimination of intestinal gases.
Catnip: not just for cats
In the past, the nepeta cataria was considered effective for treating uterus problems and female hysteria, as well as stimulating fertility. The infusion also served to treat colds, headaches, fever, bruises, and problems caused by poor digestion, as well as having a sedative effect. Wheat or barley grass is also widely used: blended and drunk as a shooting, it cleanses the body in the morning and provides the right amount of vitamins and minerals, as well as stimulating digestion.
Catnip in the kitchen
Here is how to prepare the infusion of catnip, precisely of nepeta cataria: put a teaspoon of chopped leaves of the fresh plant in boiling water, leave to infuse for up to 10 minutes and drink immediately, sweetening to taste. But the nepeta cataria in the kitchen is used above all to flavor meat or game seconds and as a salad dressing. Furthermore, the dried leaves, besides sending the cat into raptures, also serve to flavor tobacco.