I didn’t have a cat growing up, so everything I know about cats I have learned since getting our first cat a few years back. Cats are weird little creatures and have inspired me to read and observe as much as I can. 1 thing that got my interest early on was that some people are afraid to give their cats catnip since they’re worried they will become raging drug addicts. Most cats are already raging food lovers (or at least mine is), so I would be worried too if I thought catnip would add to his list of requirements. Fortunately, anybody with a computer can find everything they need to know about catnip and how it works.
Here is a super quick sciencey rundown:
When smelled, the active ingredient, nepetalactone, stimulates the olfactory bulb which then stimulates the nervous system in 50-75% of cats over the age of 8 weeks. The effects can last up to 15 minutes and contains an hour refractory period where the cat can’t be stimulated further.
Mkay… So, I will see how observation can tell us that the cat is enjoying a sense of euphoria following catnip stimulation, but how do we know they’re hallucinating? People have been using catnip for centuries and I found a huge list of”common” applications of catnip which range from easing toothaches to recreational usage that might help explain why your grandma has such a huge stash in her basement.
Catnip was used for people with”nervous problems”. Catnip tea and infusions had a calming effect and were used to treat headaches, hysteria, and insanity. Though, it was said that chewing the origin had an opposite effect, stimulating people into a type of rage.
Catnip for Women’s Health
Catnip was used to assist in women’s fertility. It was used to increase the flow of menstruation (honestly, why??) , assisted in childbirth, promoted afterbirth, and a moist mash of catnip was used to ease sore breasts from nursing.
Catnip for Baby
Catnip was used to relieve colic in infants. It was also believed to relieve gassiness and the hiccups. Overdoses were reported to cause convulsions and fell out of favor.
Catnip to fix what ails you
Catnip mash was used to alleviate toothaches, tonsillitis, and hemorrhoid pain. It was a common cold remedy, hive reducer, and was used to both cool a feverish body and to stimulate sweating. It was a common pain reliever for arthritis by reducing swelling.
Catnip was smoked in an attempt to relieve respiratory issues, like tuberculosis and pneumonia.
Catnip in the 60’s
I bet you get the idea already, but catnip was commonly utilised in the 60’s as a recreational drug. It had been used in place of and as a filler for bud.