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Field Balm

  

 

Scientific Names

Nepeta cataria L.

Lamiaceae

Mint family  

 Common Names

Catmint  

Catnep  

Catrup  

Catswort  

Chi-hsueh-ts'ao  

Nep

Parts Usually Used 

Leaves, fresh or dried

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Field Balm is a perennial herb of the mint family. Its erect, square, branching stem is hairy and grows from 3-5 feet high. The oblong or cordate, pointed leaves have scalloped edges and gray or whitish hairs on the lower side. The bilabiate flowers are white with purple spots and grow in spikes; these are small and hooded, and grow in crowded whorls from June to September. The plant has a pleasant, aromatic

Medicinal Properties

Anodyne, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac (for cats), aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, nervine, emmenagogue, sedative (for humans), stimulant, tonic

Biochemical Information

Acetic acid, biotin, buteric acid, choline, citral, dipentene, inositol, lifronella, limonene, manganese, nepetalic acid, volatile oils, PABA, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur, valeric acid, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12.

Legends, Myths and Stories

Good-tasting aromatic tea. Old country favorite in England even before oriental tea was introduced there. High in vitamin C. Stimulates the appetite if served cold before meals; aids digestion if served hot after meals. Hot tea also makes a soothing nightcap. Catnip has been used since Biblical times as a tea; it has a calming effect on humans. It's extremely exciting and attractive to cats, who are apt to romp in and tear up the plants, which does not effect their health. From an English herbalist comes the sobering advice that the root of catnip "when chewed is said to make the most gentle person fierce and quarrelsome, and there is a legend of a certain hangman who could never screw up his courage to the point of hanging anybody till he had partaken of it". In Colonial times, catnip tea was much used as a substitute for hard-to-get chamomile flowers. Field Balm grew like weeds wherever the pioneers lived. Like chamomile, the warm tea was used for infants and children to soothe their stomach (simple colic) and help them sleep. Field Balm tea is still very popular among folks living in isolated communities in the Cumberland Mountains, Kentucky and the Ozarks. Rats are said to be repelled by Field Balm; so it might be a suitable protective plant around grain crops. In fact, The Herbalist Almanac tells of Field Balm growing around buildings of old farms because of an old belief that the odor of this plant drove off rats. The plants were set as a barricade around the buildings. One beekeeper is sold

Uses

Field Balm is one of the oldest household remedies. Controls fever (Field Balm enemas reduce fever quickly). Good for colic, colds, flu, inflammation, pain, chickenpox, leaves chewed to relieve toothache, and convulsions. Stimulates the appetite. Aids digestion and sleep. Relieves stress, promotes sweating, relieves painful menstruation, used to promote menstruation. Popular uses in Europe are for chronic bronchitis and for diarrhea. A tbsp. steeped in a pint of water and used as an enema is soothing and quieting, especially in children, and very effective in convulsions, and for expelling worms in children. Leaves bruised and applied to hemorrhoids eases the pain.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.