Also Known As: Cat nip, Catswort, Catmint, Nepeta cataria
Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their effect on catsâ€”the nepetalactone contained in nepeta binds to the olfactory receptors of cats, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. Catmints are also used in herbal medicine for their mild sedative effect on humans.[unreliable source?]The plant inhibits Calcineurin. and has insect repellent properties.
The genus is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is now also common in North America. Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to grayish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. The flowers are tubular and spotted with tiny purple dots.