Not all cats care at all about catnip, but if they like it, it applies to house cats, lions and tigers too! It is easy to grow, resistant to deer and drought and acts as a deterrent to rats, mice, mosquitoes, and is used as medicinal aid for humans ails from menstrual problems, to anxiety, and can be used as a tea, a poultice or smoked.
There are cautions that need to be put in place for human use. In spite of its age, there have not been a lot of studies to shed light on possible side effects. One 2011 research study must have been a government grant because it studied the sexual behavior of rats. Sounds strange, but it may help in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
A 2009 Turkish showed that catnip essential oil worked against eleven bacteria species and twelve fungi species, including yeast (Candida albicans).
A 2009 study showed catnip, especially the essential oil, as an alternative treatment of several gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders, such as colic, diarrhea, cough, and asthma. The leaves of catnip are reported as well to help reduce anxiety and induce sleep in a study by Sherry and Hunter (1979).
Globally, studies with catnip could very well help eliminate some horrible tropical diseases. The primary constituent of catnip essential oil is the organic compound nepetalactone that triggers a peculiar response among almost all cats when ingested or inhaled. Hydrogenating nepetalactone yields dihydronepetalactone (DHN) diastereomers, which in turn are effective insect repellents, especially against mosquitoes and flies. At a dosage of 20 mg, catnip essential oil has an average repellency rate of 96% against stable flies and an average repellency rate of 79% against houseflies. This is medically valuable against mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and elephantiasis and fly-borne diseases such as dysentery.
So what does it do for cats?