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What Happens If A Human Eats Catnip

What Happens If A Human Eats Catnip? What You Need To Know

What Happens if a Human Eats Catnip? We’ve all heard of catnip’s mystical appeal to cats, but what happens when humans nibble? I’ll take you on a fascinating journey into human catnip consumption.

The scientific name for catnip is Nepeta cataria. Cat toys and entertainment have long used it. Cats get euphoric from its aromatic leaves and stems’ nepetalactone. 

The intrigue goes beyond the animal kingdom. We’ve experimented with catnip, raising many questions about its effects on our physiology and psychology.

This article examines what happens when humans eat catnip.

What Happens If A Human Eats Catnip?

Humans will not experience the same effects as cats from eating catnip. Catnip oil connects to a particular receptor in the nose, causing euphoria. 

Humans lack this receptor; thus, we don’t experience the same impacts. In some people, consuming catnip causes modest adverse effects like:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Rash

Eating catnip might occasionally produce more serious adverse effects like:

  • Seizures
  • Allergic response
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

Avoid eating catnip while pregnant or breastfeeding. There is insufficient study to determine its safety for these populations. 

Catnip is safe to eat. However, it may not benefit people.

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a mint (Lamiaceae) from Europe, Asia, and North Africa. This perennial herb grows to 3 feet. The oval leaves smell pungent and attract cats.

The essential oil nepetalactone in catnip binds to cat nose receptors. This increases activity, fun, and relaxation. Some cats roll, massage catnip, or overgroom.

The Effect of Catnip on Cats

Cats react differently to catnip, but the most frequent reactions are:

  • Some cats become exceedingly energetic and lively after being exposed to catnip. They may run, chase their tails, or play with toys.
  • Other cats may relax and sleep after being introduced to catnip. They may purr, groom, or knead their paws.
  • Rubbing and rolling: Many cats rub and roll on catnip. This may be how they mark their territory with catnip.
  • Some cats meow or growl when introduced to catnip. This may be their way of expressing joy or frustration.
  • Some cats chew or eat catnip. This may help them absorb catnip’s active components.

The effects of catnip endure roughly 10 minutes. Rub catnip on the cat’s paws or nose to boost its impact.

Catnip affects two-thirds of cats, although reactions vary. Catnip may not affect some cats, but others may be pretty sensitive. The effects of catnip might also change. An indifferent cat may react to catnip as they become older.

Catnip’s Historical Uses in Traditional Medicine

Traditional medicine has long used catnip. It treats many conditions, including:

  • Stomach cramps: Catnip calms the stomach and intestines. Stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea are treated with it.
  • Indigestion: Catnip relaxes stomach and intestine muscles, improving digestion.
  • Fever: Catnip reduces fevers. Activating the body’s cooling processes is thought to function.
  • Hives: Catnip reduces hive inflammation and itching.
  • Nervous conditions: Catnip calms and relaxes. It treats anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress.
  • Babies and infants can get colic from catnip. It may relieve stomach pain and soothe the system.
  • Menstrual cramps: Catnip relieves cramps. Relaxing uterine muscles may work.

The Chemical Compounds Responsible for Catnip’s Effects

The chemical components in catnip affect cats: nepetalactones. Nepetalactones are iridoid compounds found in many plants. Plants may create iridoids to repel insects.

Nepetalactones bind to cats’ olfactory receptors. This causes a cat’s cerebral response, which might induce various reactions.

Catnip-Infused Products: Teas, Oils, and More

Some catnip-infused products:

  • Tea: Dried catnip leaves steeped in hot water make tea. The effects are peaceful and relaxing.
  • Oil: Catnip oil helps relieve pain and repel insects. Add it to bath water for a pleasant soak.
  • Capsules: Catnip capsules provide the benefits of catnip without tea or oil. They can be given orally for insomnia or anxiety.
  • Pet products: Catnip-infused toys, scratching posts, and beds are available. These products can entertain and relax cats.
  • Cosmetics: Catnip is found in soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Skin-soothing and relaxing qualities are claimed.

Ways That Catnip May Be Beneficial for Human Health

Catnip may benefit human health in these ways:

  • Reduce tension and anxiety: Catnip calms humans. It may benefit anxiety and stress sufferers.
  • Improve sleep: Catnip may help humans sleep. People with insomnia or other sleep issues may benefit.
  • Relieve pain: Catnip may assist people. It may benefit headache, muscular, and other pain sufferers.
  • Antioxidants in catnip may improve the immune system. People who are sick or striving to get sick may benefit.
  • Catnip may alleviate menstruation cramps in women.
  • Relief for babies: Catnip may reduce newborns’ colic.
  • Improve digestion: Catnip may reduce stomach cramps and nausea.
  • Catnip may lower fever by boosting the body’s cooling systems.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Catnip may lessen bodily inflammation.
  • Catnip may fight infection with its antibacterial qualities.

Catnip Safety Tips

  • Start with a modest amount: Give your cat catnip for the first time and see how it reacts. Catnip may affect particular cats more than others.
  • Avoid taking too much: Your cat may vomit or have diarrhea from too much catnip.
  • Catnip can choke small children and pets. Keep non-sensitive pets away from catnip since they may overeat and get sick.
  • Avoid catnip if your cat is pregnant or nursing: There is no scientific proof that catnip is safe for pregnant or lactating cats. Catnip should be avoided in these instances.
  • Those with health issues should not use catnip: If you have allergies or high blood pressure, see your doctor before taking catnip.
  • Select a high-quality catnip product: The market has various options. High-quality, pesticide-free products are essential.

Catnip Tea

Herbal catnip tea is prepared from Nepeta cataria leaves and blossoms. It is a popular beverage in many cultures and has several health benefits.

Making catnip tea requires the following:

  • One teaspoon of dried catnip leaves or flowers
  • A cup of hot water


  • A cup of hot water with catnip leaves or flowers.
  • Let it Sleep for 5-10 minutes.
  • Strain and relish.
  • To taste, add honey or lemon to catnip tea.

Can Catnip Be Addictive?

Catnip is not addictive like drugs or alcohol. No addictive compounds or withdrawal symptoms occur when it is stopped.

However, other people crave catnip or use it more often. This is because catnip may calm and relax, which some individuals like.

Talk to your doctor about catnip use concerns. They can help you identify problematic use and suggest ways to cut back.

What Are the Myths About the Effects of Catnip on Humans?

There are numerous popular fallacies about human health. These myths include:

  • Humans get high from catnip. This is false. Psychoactive chemicals in catnip do not change human consciousness.
  • Catnip causes hallucinations. This also lies. None of the chemicals in catnip cause visual or auditory hallucinations in humans.
  • Catnip induces slumber. Catnip may relax or sleep some people, but not all. The effects of catnip on humans differ.
  • Catnip is addicting. Catnip is not addictive like drugs or alcohol. No addictive compounds or withdrawal symptoms occur when it is stopped.
  • Catnip causes cancer. No scientific evidence supports this claim. Catnip is a harmless herb with centuries-old therapeutic qualities.

How Long Does Catnip Poisoning Last?

Moderate catnip use is safe for cats and humans. Catnip poisoning is rare in people and usually has mild, short-lived symptoms. After eating a lot of catnip, some people may feel nausea or diarrhea, but these symptoms typically go away within a few hours.

Note that catnip affects people differently than cats. Catnip can thrill cats yet calm and sedate some people.

Seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know has severe allergic reactions after eating catnip. However, such occurrences are uncommon.

Catnip and its Potential as an Insect Repellent

Catnip has long been used to repel insects. The insect-repellent potential of catnip is explained here:

  • The Active Compound: Catnip repels insects with nepetalactone. This chemical is in plant leaves, stems, and seeds.
  • Effective against some insects: Catnip repels mosquitoes, flies, and cockroaches. It may be more effective than DEET for some bugs.
  • Action Mode: Nepetalactone affects insect sensory systems to repel them. It hinders carbon dioxide and other chemical cues that bring them to their hosts. Therefore, insects are less likely to land on or bite a catnip-treated human or animal.
  • Application Methods: Catnip repels in several ways. Crush and massage catnip leaves on your skin or clothing, prepare a lotion or oil or waive the oil. Also available are catnip sprays.
  • Duration: Catnip may not repel insects as long as DEET. In insect-heavy locations, you may need to reapply it more often.
  • Safety Concerns: Skin-safe catnip is generally safe. It’s vital to patch test before applying it to a broader area to look for allergic responses. Large amounts of catnip can cause minor sedation. However, this is not a problem when using it as an insect repellant.
  • The effectiveness of catnip as an insect repellent varies by individual and species. Some humans and insects may benefit more from it.


While catnip is most recognized for its effects on cats, it may also help humans. Humans do not experience the same euphoric effects as cats because they lack the nasal receptor. 

Catnip can cause mild side effects like headaches, nausea, and more significant side effects in rare situations.

Catnip has a long history of treating upset stomachs, anxiety, and sleep. Catnip’s active component, nepetalactone, may also repel mosquitoes, flies, and cockroaches.

Catnip may not repel mosquitoes as much as DEET, yet many prefer it owing to its naturalness and safety. Individuals and bug species may respond differently to it. Catnip’s unusual qualities make it an intriguing herb with potential health advantages for humans and pets.

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