This post should have lots of you writing in with fun comments from your family.
Nepeta cataria has been used for centuries and was imported into North America from Europe.
Some dogs love it and some cats ignore it. Experts say it only works on cats and maybe people, but anecdotal evidence shows dogs seeking it out and reacting to it as cats do. Large cats like lions, pumas, etc, also enjoy catnip.
Ed, my current cat, only likes the Pet Guard brand of catnip, and asks for it daily.
How Stuff Works says the chemical nepetalactone causes the catnip effect in the brain. Some say it stimulates the sexual area (rats fed catnip had erections), other say a different pleasure center.
Just like anything – food or drugs – each of us is different. Some cats and dogs become sleepy (maybe from the valerian content) while others become hyper and funny.
A lot of research is looking at the insect repelling qualities. ScienceDaily (Aug. 28, 2001) — reported that nepetalactone is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, a chemical that causes some health concerns. Comments please ( just click the “no comments” button – has anyone tried catnip for flea or mosquito control? In 2010, a study made catnip pellets of catnip oil, soy, and paraffin wax, spread in a cattle feedlot. Within minutes, the pellets shooed the flies away, with the repellent action lasting for about three hours. Flies carry disease throughout the world and weaken the cows as well.
Grow catnip – try it for digestive ills, insomnia, depression, bug repelling and just plain fun.