Herbal Spotlight


Catnip is often found growing in open fields, ditches and waiste areas
Botanical Name 
– Nepeta cataria
Family – Lamiaceae
Common Names – Catnip, Catmint
Description – A member of the mint family, catnip usually grows around 2 to 3 feet tall, but can grow up to 6 feet tall in ideal locations.  It has the typical square stems and alternate leaves of the mint family.  The terminal flower clusters are white or light pink with darker violet or purple markings.  The whole plant is covered with a soft downy felt that makes the plant slightly gray green to the eye, especially on the undersides of the leaves.  The leaves are triangular, lightly heart shaped near the stem and roundly serrated along the edges.  Catnip has a distinctive smell that is minty with an unusual after smell.  Once you’ve experienced it, you won’t forget it.  It’s this peculiar smell that drives cats crazy.
Part used – Arial parts are harvested when just beginning to flower.  Cut the whole above ground portion 2/3 down, leaving 1/3 of the plant untouched.  Tie in bunches and hang upside down to dry.  Once dried discard the stems.
Primary Constituents – Catnip has a varied and complex chemistry that includes nepetalactones, essential oil, caryophyllene, caryophyllene-oxide, rosmarinic acid, humulenes, farnesenes, piperitone, thymol-methyl-ether, camphor and more.
Medicinal Properties – Antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, nervine, sedative, diaphoretic and astringent.
Preparation – Cold Water Infusion, Tincture, Infused Oil, Essential Oil, Infusion
Medicinal use – Catnip is a classic children’s remedy used to treat colds, flu, fever, anxiety, stomachache, restlessness, flatulence, diarrhea, colic and sore throat.  It is safe and effective for children, babies and nursing mothers, although not recommended for when pregnant because it can increase menstrual flow.  For adults catnip works as a gentle relaxing agent to sooth the nerves, settle the digestive system, and relieve cramping due to lower abdominal distress or menstruation.
Internally, Catnip tea or tincture is a gentle and reliable mild sedative effective for children even at their fussiest, when ill or upset.  Mix with fennel for stomach upset or colic, and with spearmint and yarrow during fevers.  Catnip mixes nicely with lavender flowers, chamomile and lemon balm for the fussy and over stimulated.  A nice teething formula can be made as a tincture with chamomile, catnip, lemon balm, lavender and vegetable glycerin given 20 drops as often as every 2 hours to reduce symptoms associated with teething.   The nursing mother can take the tea or tincture to relieve colic for her baby and relieve anxiety and stress for herself.  A tea or tincture taken alone or mixed with peppermint, and rose hips or rose flowers is a lovely remedy for diarrhea for child or adult.
When used externally, catnip is par excellence as an insect repellent.  When mixed with pennyroyal herb and geranium, it will repel just about anything that’s bothering you.  I like to keep it planted around the front yard and leave the volunteers in the garden to deter the mosquitoes, flies and other pests.
Use externally as an oil or in the bath to help with the achy muscles.  The infused oil or a tea infusion as a compress can be used externally on the stomach of colicky babies to relax the stomach and help them sleep.
Preparation Methods & Dosage – The tea is made by steeping 1 tablespoon of herb per cup of boiling water, left covered for 10 to 15 minutes.  Give by the dropper to babies and up to 4 cups per day to older children.  Give 10 to 30 drops of the tincture up to 4 times per day.
Interactions and Counter-indications – Catnip is counter-indicated when pregnant because it can stimulate the menstrual flow.  The essential oil has been known to cause contact dermatitis to small children and those with sensitive skin.
History and Folklore – let’s not forget about the Kitty Cats for which catnip is named.  Catnip has a narcotic effect on our friendly felines that makes them go nuts for it.  Dried catnip is often put into toys and balls for them to enjoy.  By the way if a cat doesn’t like the catnip you purchased, it’s probably old, with its medicinal value diminished.
Babies Colic Tea
-2 parts Catnip
-1 part Chamomile
-1 part Fennel
Mix together and steep 1 tablespoon in 1 cup water.  Leave covered for 10-15 minutes and strain.  Give to infants by dropper or make an herbal compress by soaking a towel or rag in the infusion and placing on the baby’s abdomen.
Romm, Aviva Jill.  Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, Berkley, Ca; Celestial Arts, 2003
Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, revised and expanded edition, Santa Fe, NM; Museum of New Mexico Press, 2003
Gladstar, Rosemary.  Family Herbal, Massachusetts; Storey Books, 2001

Fun Recipes

One of the many things you can do with the rhubarb from your garden.  I made this cake for company a few weeks ago and they asked that it be included in the next newsletter.  Here it is.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 beaten eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups diced rhubarb

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9×13 baking dish
2.  In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cup sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and flour.  stir in eggs and sour cream and mix till smooth.  Fold in rhubarb.  Pour into prepared baking dish and spread evenly.

Strudel Topping
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup flour

cut together the above ingredients until crumbly.  Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake and sprinkle lightly with Cinnamon.
bake in 350 degree oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Thursday Afternoon Market in
Hot Springs SD

Fresh Veggies and Herbs Every Thursday Afternoon

Thursday Market will resume Thursday July 17
From 3:00 to 7:00
On South Chicago Ave Across from Lynn’s Dakota Mart

New Produce Every Week Including

  • Fresh Garden Grown Veggies – this week we will have limited amounts of lettuce, spinach, radishes, rhubarb, and sweet mustard.
  • Selected Handcrafted Herbal Products
  • Herbal Tea
  • Fresh garden grown and wildcrafted herbs
  • Bedding and herb plants
  • And much more

Everything is grown naturally, chemical free. We use heirloom varieties whenever possible.  ALL OFFERINGS are Monsanto and GMO free.

If your looking for something special or need to replenish your herbal supplies, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We make everything in small batches to insure the freshest products possible and want to be sure we have what you need on hand.

Thank you for your support.  Our business continues to grow from your referrals.  Thank you for recommending me to your family, friends and colleagues.

Herbal Calendar

Hope to see you soon!

July 4, 5 and 6
Old Time County Faire
1881 Courthouse Museum
Custer, SD

July 12 – 13
Brookings Summer Arts Festival
Pioneer Park
525 1st Ave
Brookings, 57006

July 19
Pet -A-Palooza
Humane Society of the Black Hills

1820 E Saint Patrick St
Rapid City, SD

July 26
Custer Farmers Market
Way Park (on the corner of 4th and Mount Rushmore Rd
Custer SD

August 2
Chadron Farmers Market
Dawes County Courthouse Lawn
Chadron, NE

Travel News

Wonderful News!  We are expecting an addition to our family and I will be traveling for about 3 weeks to help my daughter with this blessed event.  Daryl will be carrying on in my absence and will have a limited herbal stock and mail order capacity from July 14 through the beginning of August,  (depending on how things go.
Please stop by and support him.  If you need anything please give me a call or drop a line before I leave.  Every effort will be made to meet your needs and have your favorite products either shipped to you or waiting at the Wonderment Gardens booth when you arrive.
Thank you for your kind understanding and support!
Many Blessings