This quick and easy herbal catnip tea can be made with either fresh or dried catnip, and is a delicious way to use this fast-growing type of mint.
My cat Wally LOVES catnip.
And so, as I was wandering up and down the aisles in my local garden center, I decided to do something nice for the furry fella'.
I bought him a plant.
You guessed it-- a catnip plant!
My little Wally spent a few minutes entranced by the herb, before eventually forgetting it existed.
Sometimes he does get excited again-- for a moment or two-- when I pick him up and remind him that the catnip is still there, waiting for him to enjoy it.
As the weeks passed, the catnip plant continued to grow bigger and bigger, and I knew it needed to be cut back before it engulfed my container garden.
If you also planted catnip this year, or if this perennial herb returns to your garden or property year after year-- trim it back and turn it into catnip tea!
Is Catnip Edible for Humans?
Yes, it definitely is!
Even though it's often used as a cat treat, catnip is a type of mint, and can be treated as an herb.
Catnip tea Health Benefits
Catnip tea has been used to treat a whole range of health problems-- from colicky babies to indigestion to sore throats to headaches to anxiety.
Like many herbal teas, sipping catnip tea can be an excellent way to relax at the end of the day-- especially since catnip is thought to help with insomnia.
Like most herbs, there aren't many scientific studies on catnip, so even though it doesn't seem to have many known side effects-- talk with your doctor before drinking catnip tea medicinally or if you're pregnant.
Where to Buy Catnip
Look in your local plant nursery or garden center-- I've seen it year after year at Lowe's and Home Depot.
It's usually sold right next to the other mints.
If you prefer, you can also buy catnip seeds online.
Make sure to plant catnip in a container-- just like other mint plants, it can be invasive.
How to Make Catnip Tea
I make catnip tea the same way I make fresh mint tea-- I like to walk out into the garden, snip off some catnip, rinse it off, bruise the leaves a little (to release some flavorful oils) and add hot water.
Catnip doesn't have as quite as much flavor as other mints, so I prefer to mix in other herbs (like mint!), along with a little lemon.
Make sure to let the tea steep for at least ten minutes, and then sip and enjoy!
Want more tea ideas? Check out this guide to herbal teas.
Mint Tea Base:
- 20 fresh catnip leaves, use more for extra flavor See Recipe Notes for dried catnip
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey (optional), use more or less to taste
- 2 lemon slices (optional), to serve
Herbal Tea Variations (Choose 1, or Smaller Amounts of Both)
- 2 teaspoons 2-3 sprigs fresh mint, any variety
- 2-3 springs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Rinse catnip leaves (and other herbs, if using), and set aside to dry.
- Bring tea water to a boil. Pour into a teapot or a French Press.
- Crush leaves with your hands to release oil and then add them to the teapot, or add them to the pot and use a cocktail muddler or the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add any additional ingredients (except lemon). Cover pot. Steep 10-15 minutes.
- Serve hot, with lemon if desired. For iced tea: make a larger batch of tea, let the tea cool slightly, and then store in a pitcher or glass jar in the fridge. Use within 2-3 days.
- Stronger tea: Use more catnip
- Dried catnip leaves: Crush them, and use 1 ½ tsp per 8 ounces of water.