Friday, May 13, 2011

Catnip Tea

Catnip Tea? Yes, you read it right, catnip tea.  I dry all kinds of herbs and make tea out of them.  One herb that I dry every year is catnip.  When most people think of catnip they think of cat toys and their cats running around like crazy after they ate some or sniffed it.  Catnip has a narcotic effect on cats.  For humans though it has an opposite effect.  Catnip is used as a sedative.  Catnip is in the mint family and can be used to treat upset stomachs, diarrhea, flatulence, and colic.  It also is used in any feverish conditions especially in bronchitis.  I mainly use it as an herbal tea and drink it at night to relax after a long day. 
Catnip tea can be drunk either hot or cold.  I know the English only drink their tea hot, but here in America we enjoy our iced tea.  I drink a lot of herbal teas iced in the summer.  I think the mint teas iced are very refreshing on a hot day. 

In order to make catnip tea you first need to harvest your catnip or a neighbors, wherever you can get some.  Then you dry the catnip.  I used to dry it in my house in my dehydrator set on the herb setting.  My husband who has a lot of allergies used to complain that it smelled like weeds and made him sneeze.  So now I wash it well then hang it up by the stems out in the barn.  Herbs need to be dried at a temperature of about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.  Higher temperatures will destroy the flavor and color of the herbs.  My dehydrator has different heat settings.  So most of my herbs I dry in it.  When they are dry they are still nice and green!!
After the catnip is dry I de-stem and store in gallon zip-lock bags. (If you dry it in a dehydrator you  de-stem the catnip and only place the leaves in the dehydrator.)   You can make it directly into tea or save for a later time.  In Ohio I harvest herbs in the summer and early fall.  We can continue to harvest herbs until frost. 

Now I crush up the catnip in a food processor.  One gallon size bag of catnip will fill up the food processor twice.  Pulse until it is chopped up fine. 

A full food processor will be reduced down to a quarter of the beginning amount. 

Look!! Mittens is begging for some catnip!!

I obliged and gave her some!!

Now you are ready to fill your tea bags.  I buy my press and brew tea bags from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have the best price I could find plus they offer the tea bags in several different quantities.  You can either buy single serving size or a larger size to brew an entire pot.  Look under tea supplies and then click on Press and Brew tea bags.  I fill the tea bags with about 2 teaspoons of tea. 

Once you have as much tea in the bag as you want
 you simply take an iron without steam and press the bag shut!!

Now you have a bag of tea waiting to be brewed. 
 Repeat with the rest of the bags until you run out of catnip. 

I got 43 single serving tea bags out of a gallon bag of dried catnip. 
 Depending on how much catnip you put into each tea bag
 you should get around the same amount.

Store your tea bags in a airtight container labled with the type of tea.

Now Brew some tea and sit back and relax!!


ChupieandJ'smama said...

I may have to plant me some catnip this year. It sounds really good. I love the John Deere cup too ;)

Hansen Family said...

Great post! I love catnip tea too and the kids always love to do those heat/seal bags!

Amanda said...

Hm...this is very interesting. I've never heard of catnip tea. Is there any positive things this does for a body or for health?

Creations by Dina said...

Hi Amanda,
Catnip is in the mint family and therefore is wonderful for your digestive health. Drinking any mint tea after a meal will help aid in digestion. Catnip is also supposed to help with fevers. I have never tried it for this though. I normally drink it at night, catnip is also a sedative and has a great calming effect!