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Catnip Tea Side Effects

By Fern Fischer

Catnip has been used to make tea for centuries. Catnip is a member of the mint family, with culinary uses similar to other mints. Although catnip tea has a history of herbal medicinal uses, human consumption of catnip has not been the subject of scientific studies. No interactions with other drugs have been reported. Considered to be a food product, catnip tea is sold in grocery stores, specialty tea shop, and health food stores. Some side effects to catnip tea do exist, however. Drinking more than two or three cups of catnip tea will heighten the side effects.

During Pregnancy

Avoid catnip tea during pregnancy and lactation. Catnip stimulates uterine contractions and may increase menstrual bleeding. Because there is no proof of safety during lactation, avoid drinking catnip tea as long as you nurse. Avoid drinking it if you have an abnormal menstrual condition or if there is a possibility that you may be pregnant.


Catnip tea is a diuretic. It causes frequent urination and increased amounts of urine, so avoid drinking it if you will not have access to a restroom. The diuretic properties also cause heavy perspiration. Catnip tea is a folk remedy for water retention, and was traditionally used for “sweating out” a fever. The diuretic property becomes an undesirable side effect if you drink the tea for relaxation or refreshment.

The diuretic effect of catnip tea will disturb your sleep if you drink it as a sleep aid.


As a treatment for insomnia, catnip tea causes relaxation and drowsiness as a desirable effect. Drowsiness is not desirable if you will be working or operating machinery. If you need to stay alert, save catnip tea for use as a bedtime drink.

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