Catnip: it’s not just for driving your kitty a little crazy.
Although its use as a cat crazy-maker is probably the first thing that comes to mind for many, catnip (Nepeta cataria) is actually a useful medicinal plant. Historically, it has been used for a variety of childhood ailments including cough, asthma, and colic. Indeed, research has found its chemical constituents to have spasmolytic and bronchodilatory properties which provide support for this traditional use (see resources below). There’s also evidence for its use as a mosquito repellant which is why I include it in my homemade Bug-a-Bye.
Traditionally, catnip is also chosen to gently lower a fever, settle a tummy, and for its nervine (calming) properties that can help ease little teethers (and their mothers). Catnip, along with chamomile, is an excellent choice to help get through the moodiness that comes along with teething. Baby LF’s molars are coming in right now and she is certainly letting me know!
I’ve been making Baby LF these really easy catnip teethers by dipping washcloths in catnip tea and freezing them. She loves gnawing on them! Plus, they’re really easy to make.
Make a cup of chamomile or catnip tea. Use a tea bag, or 1 tsp of dried herb per cup of water.
Pull them out and give them to your teething child as necessary! Best to wait until a child is eating well on their own before using something like this.
I also give catnip tea to her in a sippy cup. I add 1 tsp. of tea to the water in her cup.
Here’s what’s generally used as a safe guideline for using teas in children:
When the adult (age 12 and over) dose is 1 cup (8 oz.) of tea, the following is recommended for children:
Age — Dosage
Younger than 2 years — 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
2 to 4 years — 2 teaspoons
4 to 7 years — 1 tablespoon
7 to 11 years — 2 tablespoons
Now let’s get in to a general disclaimer. I am not a physician and I am not diagnosing, treating, or prescribing anything to you and your family. It’s important for you to do your own research before giving your child any new food, herb, or supplement. Ask a physician if you have any questions and especially if your child is sick, has a high fever for several days, etc. Thanks.
Additional note: In researching the safety of catnip in children for this post, most resources say catnip is safe for children. I also found a couple references that hinted at ONE report of a child chewing directly on a catnip tea bag and experiencing stomach cramps. Just so you know.