Catnip, nepeta cataria,has been delighting cats
for more than 2,000 years
according to Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs.
I once had catnip planted in a spot along my deck,
and our neighbor's cat Jeannie routinely flattened it by wallowing in it.
She loved catnip, and apparently, she joined a long line of felines
flattening catnip for their own pleasure.
According to Rodale, in 1754, British horticulturist Phillip Miller
wrote a "thoroughly exasperated description of cats rolling on a patch
until it was absolutely flat."
Here's a photo of a cat in Australia reclining in some catnip:
Although I don't love catnip the way Jeannie did,
I have had catnip tea on occasion when I couldn't sleep.
Catnip tea has kind of a hay-like aroma and minty flavor,
and it seems to help insomnia.
It's also supposed to be good for colds.
Rodale says the Romans used catnip as a salad green.
Remember Euell Gibbons,
author of the book Stalking the Wild Asparagus
and 1970s spokesman for Grape Nuts cereal?
This was his suggestion for an "after-dinner mint": candied catnip leaves.
Dip the catnip leaf into beaten egg white and lemon juice.
Sprinkle both sides of the leaf with white sugar
and let dry for about 48 hours.
Store in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container--
preferably away from your cat.