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Ingredient of the week: Catnip/catmint

Food - By Wambui Kuria | November 1st 2020 at 11:45:32 GMT +0300
A combo of catnip and lemon balm makes an excellent soothing calming tea (Photo: Shutterstock)

I do not have a cat, but if I did, I would grow catnip or catmint, a perennial herb from the mint family that derives its name from the reaction cats have to the plant (it contains the essential oil nepetalcataria which gives cats a ‘high’).

‘But what does this have to do with me?’ you may be wondering. Well, this herb has multiple benefits for humans including easing premenstrual symptoms, soothing upset stomachs and easing anxiety and insomnia. It also has antioxidants and antimicrobial properties. Sadly, it has a downside; it can cause headaches and digestive problems.

Besides making tea, the shoot tips and leaves can be used to add flavour to soups, salads and savory dishes though it has a slightly different taste than regular mint. A combo of catnip and lemon balm makes an excellent soothing calming tea.

Recipe: Catnip, lemon balm, lemon zest and chamomile (all dried — best stored in an airtight container and kept in a dark place until when ready to use) add 2-3 spoons in a French press or teapot, pour hot (not boiling) water into it, steep for 10 minutes, strain it then drink. Add honey if desired.

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