Catnip–A Beauty and Health Herb


Last month I did a trial using catnip tea for a hair rinse and also as a facial toner.  If you are at all familiar with catnip also known as catmint, it is a herb from the mint family that most cats go crazy over.  I learned about catnip from Ktani on the Long Hair Community.

Catnip tea is known to be a hair conditioner and treatment that protects healthy ends from splitting, while also providing a temporary golden stain for light colored hair.

I noticed that my hair felt much softer than usual and slightly coated when using catnip tea as a hair rinse.  I saturated my hair in catnip tea, then used a conditioning cap over my hair for 30 minutes as a deep conditioning treatment.  Because the herbs release natural oils and my hair is dry and curly, I decided to also use this herbal hair rinse as a leave-in conditioner.  It also aided with detangling my hair.

Catnip tea has been used prior to washing hair by soaking braided hair in a bowl with the tea, as a wash out deep conditioning rinse, as an in between hair wash treatment, and as a leave-in.  Depending on your preferences, hair type, and hair needs there are many ways to incorporate catnip tea into your hair regimen.  Many found that they did not need to use any other conditioner afterwards, although I used a natural oil to maintain extra moisture.

Catnip tea extract is also used for its antioxidant and anti-aging properties in skin care to prevent and soften fine lines and wrinkles while speeding up skin tissue repair.

I noticed that is also decreased pore size when using it as a toner, and found that the minty scent was quite refreshing especially on tired mornings.  I used the remainder of the tea after doing my hair as a toner for the rest of the week.

Finally catnip tea is used for its calming and soothing effects in the body.  Although it excites cats, it is calming to us.  It is great for headaches, relaxing uptight nerves and upset stomach pains, and for respiratory conditions.  It has been the perfect tea for me on stressful days.

To make catnip tea for beauty or a soothing drink, steep 1 tsp of dried catnip leaf and flower with 1 cup of distilled or purified water.  When I use catnip for beauty, I like to steep it as long as possible for up to five hours if I have the time.  I’ve even steeped it overnight on a few occasions.  Catnip is very easy to use and so simple to make.  I always store unused potions in the refrigerator and like to use a spray bottle for easy application.  I purchased organic catnip herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, yet you can also find catnip at pet stores or local natural grocers that carry herbs.

(Note:  It is not advised to use catnip while pregnant.  So please research all new herbs to ensure there is no conflict with pregnancy or medical conditions before using.)

(Image by Dawn Michelle)

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  1. says

    I have never heard of using catnip herb as anything another than something for cats to have fun with. I will say I am a little skeptical to using this as a beauty product for myself.

    How did you discover it?

  2. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Kourtney L,
    I found the information on using catnip for hair on the Long Hair Community from Ktani. I have the link to her forum discussion in the very first paragraph.
    Enjoy your day!

  3. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Cathy,
    Chemical free is definitely the way to go! I would to hear how this works for you. Enjoy your day!
    Best Wishes,
    Dawn Michelle

  4. Janet says

    Why would anyone be skeptical of this plant but not others just because their little world only heard of it being used one way?

  5. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Janet,
    There really is so much to learn about herbs. Thanks so much for your comment and I hope that you are having a wonderful day!
    Dawn Michelle

  6. Renee says

    Hi Dawn Michelle!

    I want to try this in my beauty routine. Just wanted to verify that you didn’t steep it in boiling water like a tea, just distilled room temp. water? Thanks in advance. :)

  7. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Renee, Yes steep catnip in boiling water like a tea then strain after a few hours. Best wishes!

  8. Robyn says

    Actually, keep the water just under boiling for your altitude to protect the oils in the leaves.
    So, boil the kettle, remove from heat and let sit while you set up the catnip, about two minutes. Then the water is purr-fect.

  9. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Robyn, Thanks so much for this tip! So good to know. I’ll be making a catnip spritz later on this week! Happy Holidays!

  10. dee says

    Hullo, I know this is a late posting, but I just ran across your blog while looking for information on harvesting my currently blooming catnip for hair conditioner (and other uses).

    I just wanted to clarify that catnip (Nepeta cataria) and catmint (Nepeta faassenii) are two distinctly different plants, which can be important if you are looking to use a plant for a particular use. And when infusing herbs to extract volatile oils, it is important not to boil them regardless of altitude.

    Thank you for posting this – I couldn’t recall where I’d seen the information this past winter.

  11. Dawn Michelle says

    Thank you Dee for sharing this information and for your comment. Best wishes with everything!

  12. Kim says

    Never thought of using catnip on my hair! We use it here in Florida as a mosquito repellent. There are several studies out now showing it to be 10x as effective as deet.

  13. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Kim,

    Catnip is wonderful for hair! Also thanks for sharing that it is a great mosquito repellent. Best wishes!

  14. Stella says

    When wet my ends look thin & my roots look dry. My hair is shedding alit from small strands to occasionally from the root. I think its products built up, 2 much heat from blow dryer&flat iron too..but its not manageable wet anymore.. it was but I used a diff product & the texture changed.. gonna try your DIY recipe, henna & the catnip tea..

  15. Linda says

    How would you compare catnip to marshmallow root as a detangler Dawn? I love your blog and so appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us all.

  16. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Linda,
    Catnip has great conditioning and softening properties and marshmallow root is very high in mucilage which gives the hair slip. They are both wonderful it just depends on your hair needs. <3

  17. Lynda says

    I am growing my own catnip this year, so I am excited to discover these new uses for it! I was just planning on some tea. 😉 Do you mind telling me what kind of conditioning cap you use?

  18. Dawn Michelle says

    Hi Lynda,
    To be honest I don’t have a specific conditioning cap. If we have a plastic bag around I will use that and sometimes I don’t use a cap at all. A reader had mentioned in the past that using a swim cap works well and is very eco. <3