Catnip is famous for its drug-like effect on domestic cats,
but it has a variety of other uses.
The extracted ingredient, iridodial, is used as an attractant for lacewings,
which eat aphids and mites. Another ingredient, nepetalactone, is used
in certain mosquito and fly repellents. People also drank catnip in
herbal tea and would smoke the herb because of its sedative effect,
but the effects are negligible, and consumption has fallen out of practice.
While humans may find dried Nepeta cataria leaves to be
effective when taken as an infusion, to their pet felines,
Catnip Leaf is in fact not a medicinal herb but a narcotic.
Felines have a sense of smell that is far more developed
than that of humans – by a magnitude of several million.
In fact, it has been suggested that felines perceive the scent
in the same way that humans perceive colour.
Just as certain wildcrafted herbs can cause humans to have
visual hallucinations so too do catnip leaf causes your
tabby to experience olfactory hallucinations – which, if
the typical cat response is any indication,
are highly pleasurable, but ultimately harmless.