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Information @ a Glance


  • Catnip is a perennial herb of the mint family.
  • Catnip contains volatile oils, sterols, acids, and tannins.
  • Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnips or catmints due to its famed liking by cats—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors.
  • Nepeta cataria is weakly psychoactive, variably eliciting sedation, euphoria, and, in higher doses, nausea.

Cultivation and Growth

  • The plant is easily propagated by seeds, which remain viable for 4 or 5 years, and may germinate erratically.
  • Dry sandy soil is recommended, but the plant also grows well (and bushier) on well-drained, moderately rich garden loam.
  • Catnip is a hardy plant that will grow well in much of North America.
  • Commercial harvesting is carried out at full bloom; when seeds begin to form, the volatile oils have decreased and the plants are past their prime.

Extraction Process

  • The oil of catnip was first extracted using the polar solvent diethyl ether
  • A common conventional method used to extract the essential oil from catnip is steam distillation.


  • Catnip has been used for ornamental and culinary purposes and as a domestic folk-medicine remedy.
  • Aromatic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal. Dried leaves add fragrance to potpourris.
  • Catnip is used to make light yellow dye.
  • Catnip is cultivated as a medicinal plant, bee pasturage, for the essential oil, and for use as a condiment.


  • Producers with creativity and good marketing skills may be able to capture a niche of the pet supplies market, which comprises about 20 percent of the more than $30 billion that U.S. pet owners spend on their animals.
  • Based on 2002 projections from British Columbia, two-yearproduction costs for ¼ acre of catnip in the
    U.S. would be $500 to $600, with harvest and marketing costs of $750 per acre.

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