Catnip, like Rosemary- and many other herbaceous plants- is a member of the mint family and has some special effects on cat’s brains.
This article from Scientific American.com discusses the chemical composition of the plant, and its well known properties.
I grew the catnip plant above from seed, and it came back for the last several years. This year it was scraggly & had some strange aphids, but I managed to harvest & dry some for the kitties.
I let this last sad, spindly stalk go to bloom, hoping it would make seeds for next year. I collected a dried seed stalk, and now there is a brown stub of a plant left, with a single green leaf left.
You can see in the picture above some tiny aphid? creatures-not sure what they are. If anyone knows please respond to this post, I am curious what type of creature they are. They have furry butts & appear to be bizarre weirdos. They are on the stem below the blooms. The top of the plant is bent over sideways.
Catnip is useful to humans- similar to other herbs, and is used in tea. This links to an article by a MNN writer which details, (in step number 5), the properties and chemicals involved in the human/catnip process.
Side Note on growing from seed- the following quote from botanical.com may argue against growing this plant from seed:
There is an old saying about this plant:
If you set it, the cats will eat it,
If you sow it, the cats don’t know it.
Hmm…I love old wives’ tales and folklore. There is often some scientific proof that the folk remedy or medicinal use is correct. Please respond anyone who has input on this topic. I would love to hear any reader’s thoughts on this.