By: Elna Botes van Schalkwyk

Yes, that same herb you buy for your cats. It may make them roll on the floor in psychedelic bliss and then race around the house as if their tail was on fire, but it has a calming affect on humans. Catnip works as an anti-spasmodic and mild sedative. However, catnip does not leave you feeling like you just popped a Valium. (If you are taking Valium or any other sedative or muscle relaxant, talk to your doctor before using herbs.) But it does take a bit of the edge off. Think of it as a deep breath of fresh spring air that seeps into your system and coaxes the knots of stress loose throughout your body.

Everyone is different, and MS is different for everyone. Reactions to catnip will vary greatly. Some of you may feel very loose and others may think, "Why am I drinking this green stuff?"

If you have a living catnip plant, take some of the leaves and let them dry. You can use them fresh as well. If you have cats, try to keep them from rummaging in the plant. (Good luck!) When they bruise the leaves, the scent is released and that will only bring them to heights of gloriously destructive ecstasy. (And attract more cats!) Bruising of the leaf takes some of the medicinal juice out of the plant, as well. You'll have to choose: your stress? Or the cat’s fix? Don't want to deal with the fuss of tending to a plant? You can buy natural catnip already dried either at a pet store or a natural food store.

Preparing an infusion for use in a tea or bath:
Boil some water and then pour the hot water over some of the catnip leaves. I have found it easy to make a catnip bath and some tea at the same time. Take a coffee filter and brace it over a plain jar. That way, you don't have to tolerate leaves floating in your bath or tea. For a stronger infusion, mix the hot water and the catnip and then strain it. Once you have done this let it sit and steep for about ten minutes. The water will turn green.
Pour the green brew into your bath or cup and enjoy! Catnip tea is minty, but you need extra sweetening to your taste. Use ½-1 teaspoon catnip each cup of tea. For a bath, I generally use ½-1 cup of dried catnip. (I like 'em strong and green!)

Use in MS:
Calming and relaxing. Catnip has helped me greatly when I have been overstressed or anxious. May help relax muscles. Tea can also help digestion after meals that you know might cause heartburn. It also helps with menstrual cramps.