How To Make Catnip Tea – For Coughs, Stress & Sleep

how to make catnip tea plus benefits

Like me, you probably only really think of catnip (Nepeta cataria) as a favourite herb of cats.  Those little catnip-stuffed pouches and toys which first send your cat slightly loopy and then into a happy daze.  But turns out there’s also a lot of science behind catnip’s benefits for people too!

So before we look at exactly how to make catnip tea, I want to chat about some of the benefits and the reasons why you might want to drink it.

Catnip tea isn’t necessarily an everyday tea, because it contains a few powerful compounds and there are some precautions to be aware of when drinking it.
But that’s not to take away from its awesome healing benefits, which have a place in any remedy cabinet…

1  Cough Reliever

Catnip has long been used as a traditional cough-relieving remedy and recent scientific research has confirmed these effects.  Indeed a 2015 study found catnip to be an effective bronchodilator, useful in the management of both coughs and asthma [1].
Another study in 2009, also found catnip essential oil to have anti-spasmodic and muscle-relaxing properties, confirming its use in the treatment of respiratory disorders [1a].

2  Stress Reliever

Just as catnip is great for chilling out your cat, so it can work on you too.  Catnip compounds have a tonic effect, so they’re great for easing tension and tension-related headaches [2].  Many herbal formulations contain mixtures of plants such as valerian, chamomile and catnip because of their excellent stress-reducing properties.

3  Sleep Promoter

Similarly because of its gentle relaxing effects, catnip tea can be taken for insomnia and sleep problems.  Particularly if they’re related to anxiety or nervous exhaustion.  This is because catnip contains terpene compounds such as nepetalactone which has mild sedative effects on humans.

4  Good For Oral Health

These nepetalactone compounds have also been found to have good antimicrobial activity against oral pathogens such as Candida and various bacterial species [4].

How To Make Catnip Tea

And so we come to how to make catnip tea.  As with any herbal recipe, always try to use pure, organic, high-quality ingredients, so you know exactly where they’ve come from.  Or ideally, just grow your own catnip in your organic garden (and obviously your cat will LOVE this).


  • 1-2 teaspoons of chopped catnip leaves/stems/flowers (dried or fresh)
  • 1 cup freshly boiled water


  • 1 teaspoon raw, organic honey


1  Pop the catnip in a cup and top up with the water.  Cover the cup, to preserve the heat, and steep for about 10-15 minutes.  (Alternatively, you could steep the catnip in a teapot, then pour through a strainer into a cup.)

2  Once ready, feel free to add extra sweetness in the form of honey, if you prefer.

Precautions To Be Aware Of When Drinking Catnip Tea

Now you know how to make catnip tea, you need to be aware of a few precautions in relation to drinking it:

  • Don’t make your catnip tea from animal catnip, which may not be a pure source of the plant.
  • Catnip is an emmenagogue, which in scientific terms means it can stimulate menstrual flow.  With this in mind, don’t ingest catnip if you’re prone to heavy or painful periods.
  • Don’t take catnip if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Don’t take catnip if you’re already on other sedative medications.
  • Never give catnip tea to children.

Of course, the ultimate way to produce catnip tea, is to grow your own organic catnip plants in the garden.  And it’s easy to source packets of good quality catnip seeds online should you fancy that method.

Alternatively, you can also get ready-made loose catnip tea from Indigo Herbs, or even Alvita’s catnip tea bags, which both make catnip tea-brewing truly effortless.


And for other herbal tea inspiration, check out my highly medicinal Organic Dandelion Tea, this refreshing Citrus Moringa Tea With Mint and the super-healing Original Essiac Tea Recipe.

And don’t forget, let me know how you get on with your catnip growing and tea-making, in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy brewing! x

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