Catnip Leaf for Goats: It’s Not Just for Cats!

Did you know that catnip isn’t just for our feline friends? It turns out this herb has some surprising benefits for our goats too! Let’s explore the wonders of Catnip Leaf and how it can support your goat’s health.

Discovering Catnip Leaf

Catnip isn’t just a fun treat for cats—it’s a member of the mint family with a range of medicinal properties.

Benefits for Goats

  • Digestive Support: Catnip can help soothe upset stomachs and promote healthy digestion in goats, making it a valuable addition to their diet.
  • Calming Effects: Catnip can have a calming effect on goats, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, particularly during times of change or transition.
  • Vitamin B Boost: Catnip is a natural source of vitamin B, providing goats with an extra dose of this essential nutrient to support overall health and vitality.
  • Respiratory Health: Catnip is used my respiratory protocol for its specific benefit to the respiratory system in colds, pneumonia or other illnesses.

Goat Dosage Recommendations

  • Dried Leaf: Blend into a respiratory mix such as mullein and nettle or offer plain dried catnip separately from other feeds to allow your goats to self select.

Fun Fact

  • Goatnip?: While not as potent as catnip for cats, some goats may still enjoy the effects of catnip, especially younger ones.

Catnip Can be Wild Foraged

Being a member of the mint family, catnip grows abundantly in the wild. You can probably find a patch near you. It’s identified easily by its specific scent and velvety soft leaves. If you do harvest, do so before it flowers and you can get several clippings of the top few inches.

Where to Buy

We’ve put together a list of sources for all the herbs in my herbal protocols here. We update when we get new information so links should be current. If not, please let me know!

Catnip Research Summary Provided by Consensus

The research topic focuses on the medicinal uses of catnip leaf, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria. Catnip is traditionally recognized for its behavioral effects on cats and has been used in various forms, including teas and extracts, for its potential therapeutic properties in humans.

Key Insights:

  • Catnip tea, a hot water extract of Nepeta cataria, is used as a herbal remedy for various ailments, although statistical data on its usage is limited1.
  • The psychopharmacological effects of catnip, similar to those of marijuana, have been observed in humans using the plant for its psychedelic properties2.
  • Catnip is traditionally used to treat colds, flu, and as a flavoring in foods, with its leaves containing iridoids, tannins, and etheric oils3.
  • Nepeta cataria has demonstrated antidepressant properties in mice, with the apolar extract reducing immobility in behavioral tests5.
  • The volatile compounds in catnip, such as geranyl acetate and citronellol, contribute to its aroma and may influence its sensory and medicinal qualities6.
  • Catnip’s ethnobotanical uses, including treatment for fevers, diarrhea, insomnia, and menstrual issues, are facilitated by its glandular hairs (trichomes) which store secondary plant metabolites7.
  • Nepetalactone, found in catnip, is suggested to have an adaptive function in protecting the plant against phytophagous insects, indicating a potential insect repellent property8.
  • Japanese catnip (Schizonepeta tenuifolia), used in traditional Asian medicine, contains glandular trichomes that produce terpenoids with biological activities9.
  • Behavioral studies on mice indicate that catnip can affect locomotion, stereotyped behavior, and seizure susceptibility, suggesting an amphetamine-like effect and potential for tolerance with long-term use10.


Catnip leaf has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties, with applications ranging from treating colds and flu to potentially having antidepressant effects. The plant’s psychopharmacological effects in humans and its influence on behavior in mice have been noted, as well as its use in flavoring foods. The presence of various compounds, including iridoids, tannins, etheric oils, and terpenoids, contribute to its medicinal and aromatic qualities. Additionally, catnip’s potential as an insect repellent has been suggested. While the exact mechanisms and efficacy of catnip’s medicinal uses require further research, the existing studies highlight its diverse applications and the importance of its secondary metabolites stored in glandular trichomes.

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