It would be hard to guess how long cats have
known about catnip (Nepeta cataria) but people have appreciated it for at least 2000
years. The plant was familiar to early Roman cooks and physicians and has long been a part
of people's garden and health repertoires. The Plant was introduced to North America for
Europe, where it quickly escaped from the gardens and spread across the continent,
to be used by native Indians and included in their inventory of useful plants. There
is a good reason for its common name. The bruised foliage, whose odor has a strong
mint-like aroma, stimulates cats and makes then "full of life". It is often
enjoyed as a tea for its soothing relaxing benefits.
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