Nepeta cataria

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Nepeta cataria
Flowers of the plant
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Asterids
Order:Lamiales
Family:Lamiaceae
Genus:Nepeta
Species:N. cataria
Binomial name
Nepeta cataria
L.[1]
 
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Nepeta cataria
Flowers of the plant
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
(unranked):Angiosperms
(unranked):Eudicots
(unranked):Asterids
Order:Lamiales
Family:Lamiaceae
Genus:Nepeta
Species:N. cataria
Binomial name
Nepeta cataria
L.[1]

Nepeta cataria (catnip, catswort, or catmint) is a species of the genus Nepeta in the Lamiaceae family, native to much of Asia and Europe, and widely naturalized elsewhere.[1] The common names may also refer to the genus as a whole. It is a 50–100 cm tall herbaceous perennial resembling mint in appearance, with greyish-green leaves; the flowers are white, finely spotted with purple.

Contents

Cultivation

Variants include N. cataria var. citriodora (or subsp. citriodora), lemon catnip.

Toxicology

The plant terpenoid nepetalactone is the main chemical constituent of the essential oil of Nepeta cataria. Nepetalactone can be extracted from catnip by steam distillation. [2]

Uses and effects

Humans

Catnip has a history of medicinal use for a variety of ailments.[3] The plant has been consumed as a tea, juice, tincture, infusion or poultice, and has also been smoked.[3] However, its medicinal use has fallen out of favor with the development of more effective drugs.[3] It has also been known to have a slightly numbing effect.[citation needed]

Cats

Nepeta cataria (and other species within the genus Nepeta) are known for their behavioral effects on the cat family, not only on domestic cats but also big cats.[3] N. cataria is used as a recreational substance for pet cats' enjoyment, and catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers. Not all cats are affected by catnip.[3] The common behaviors when cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip are rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming much of the plant is followed by drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Some will growl, meow, scratch, or bite the hand holding it. Some cats will eat dried catnip; often eating too much can cause cats to be aggressive, typically making them hiss.[citation needed]

Pharmacology

Nepetalactone acts as a feline attractant. Roughly half to two thirds of cats will be affected by the plant. [4][5] This chemical enters the feline's nose. [6] Cats detect it through their olfactory epithelium, not through their vomeronasal organ. [7] At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone binds to one or more olfactory receptors. Some[who?] have speculated that it may mimic a cat pheromone, such as the hypothetical feline facial pheromone or the cat urine odorant MMB. However, this has not been tested. Approximately two hours after an exposure, the feline will be sensitive to another dose.[citation needed] The phenomenon is hereditary.[citation needed] There is some disagreement about the susceptibility of lions and tigers to catnip.[8]

Other plants that also have this effect on cats include valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and plants that contain actinidine.[9]

Other

Nepetalactone is a mosquito and fly repellent.[10][11] Oil isolated from catnip by steam distillation is a repellent against insects, in particular mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites.[12][13] Research suggests that, in vitro, distilled nepetalactone repels mosquitoes ten times more effectively than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents,[10][14] but that it is not as effective a repellent when used on the skin.[15]

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Nepeta cataria information from NPGS/GRIN". www.ars-grin.gov. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?25165. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  2. ^ "DIY Kitty Crack: ultra-potent catnip extract". Instructables. June 3, 2007. http://www.instructables.com/id/EMDCESQF2DSDRAG/. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Grognet J (June 1990). "Catnip: Its uses and effects, past and present". The Canadian Veterinary Journal 31 (6): 455–456. PMC 1480656. PMID 17423611. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1480656/. 
  4. ^ http://www.cat-world.com.au/all-about-catnip
  5. ^ Turner, Ramona (May 29, 2007). "How does catnip work its magic on cats?". Scientific American. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=experts-how-does-catnip-work-on-cats. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  6. ^ Siegel, Ronald K.. Intoxication: the universal drive for mind-altering substances. Inner Traditions / Bear & Company. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-59477-069-2. 
  7. ^ Hart, Benjamin L.; Leedy, Mitzi G. (July 1985). "Analysis of the catnip reaction: mediation by olfactory system, not vomeronasal organ". Behavioral and neural biology 44 (1): 38–46. doi:10.1016/S0163-1047(85)91151-3. PMID 3834921. 
  8. ^ Durand, Marcella (March 4, 2003). "Heavenly Catnip". CatsPlay.com. http://www.catsplay.com/thedailycat/2003-04-14/mind_happycat/heavenly_catnip/heavenly_catnip.html. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  9. ^ Smith, L (2005). "CATNIP". Archived from the original on 20 Jan 07. http://web.archive.org/web/20070120204352/http://www.penmarric.ns.ca/catcare/usefulinfo/catnip.htm. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Kingsley, Danny (September 3, 2001). "Catnip sends mozzies flying". ABC Science Online. http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/health/HealthRepublish_355524.htm. Retrieved February 14, 2009. 
  11. ^ Junwei J. Zhu, Christopher A. Dunlap, Robert W. Behle, Dennis R. Berkebile, Brian Wienhold. (2010). Repellency of a wax-based catnip-oil formulation against stable flies. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 58 (23): 12320–12326 (8 Nov 2010, doi:10.1021/jf102811k).
  12. ^ Schultz, Gretchen; Peterson, Chris; Coats, Joel (May 25, 2006). "Natural Insect Repellents: Activity against Mosquitoes and Cockroaches". In Rimando, Agnes M.; Duke, Stephen O.. Natural Products for Pest Management. ACS Symposium Series. American Chemical Society. http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/ja/ja_schultz001.pdf. 
  13. ^ "Termites Repelled by Catnip Oil". Southern Research Station, United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service. March 26, 2003. http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/news/110. 
  14. ^ Dennis Loney (2001-08-28). "Mosquito Repellents". American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on 26 April 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060426234808/http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/feature_ent.html?id=4acf6768ce1b11d5f2944fd8fe800100. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  15. ^ Chauhan, K.R.; Klun, Jerome A.; Debboun, Mustapha; Kramer, Matthew (2005). "Feeding Deterrent Effects of Catnip Oil Components Compared with Two Synthetic Amides Against Aedes aegypti". Journal of Medical Entomology 42 (4): 643–646. doi:10.1603/0022-2585(2005)042[0643:FDEOCO]2.0.CO;2. PMID 16119554. 

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