Catnip Oil Extraction Methods, Process, Techniques

Catnip oil extraction process

Today, we learn the topic of catnip oil extraction methods, techniques, and process.

What is Catnip oil? Catnip oil is made from the catnip plant (Nepeta cataria), which goes by the name catmint. This member of the mint family grows wild as a weed but could be found in herb gardens as well.  Once oil extracted, the essential oil has a pale yellow or orange color with a slightly minty aroma. Catnip is also called catmint or catnep.

Catnip or catmint is a member of the mint family. What is a catnip plant used for? The use of Catnip plant leaves and flowers in herbal teas was documented at least as early as 1735 in the General Irish Herbal. Medicinally, the Catnip plant has been used to treat intestinal cramps, for indigestion, to cause sweating, to induce menstruation, as a sedative, and to increase appetite.

The Catnip plant is a perennial herb of the mint family. Its erect, square, branching stem is hairy and grows from three to five feet high. The Catnip leaves have scalloped edges and gray or whitish hairs on the lower side. The flowers are the white color with purple spots and grow in spikes from June to September. Catnip is a plant used extensively for human illness and, more recently, in toys for pets. It is a plant with which some veterinarians have small familiarity. How do you use catnip essential oil? To ease occasional muscular head tension, add a small quantity of Catnip essential oil to a carrier oil and apply to the affected area. Add equal parts Catnip and Citronella to water or witch hazel to create a spray for an all-natural aid against bugs. Here is the guide for catnip oil extraction methods.

How to make infused Catnip oil?

A common process used to make catnip oil is a steam distillation of the leaves and flower or buds. However, if you have a Catnip plant at home or live in an area where the plant grows, you can make an oil-based infusion.

  1. Collect Catnip leaves and stems, and chop finely to expose more surface area of the plant.
  2. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with the Catnip plant and then immerse the greens in olive oil.
  3. Heat at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours to three hours in a very slow oven.
  4. Once cooled, strain out the leaves and refrigerate the Catnip oil until further use.
Catnip Plant.
Catnip Plant.

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How does Catnip oil work?

Topically (as an insect repellent): To create natural insect repellent, combine catnip essential oil, natural witch hazel and distilled water or dilute with a carrier oil or aloe vera gel to apply or spray on the skin.

Inhalation via a diffuser: Catnip oil blends well with lemon, mint, lime, eucalyptus, myrrh, citronella and geranium oil. Combine a few drops of catnip oil with any of the above essential oils, add to the diffuser and enjoy.

Cultivation and Harvesting Catnip:

Plant catnip in a place where cats can rub and roll in it without hurting adjacent plants. Some cats like catnip so much that they lie on it, roll on it and chew it to the position of destruction. If you find that to be the case, place some 1- to 2-foot-long bamboo sticks or thin dowels every two to three inches wherever you’re growing catnip to make it impossible for a cat to lie on top of the plant. The Catnip plant grows as a loosely branching, low perennial, which means it will die back in the winter in most areas and then come back in the spring. In a flower bed, plant catnip in front of purple coneflower, which blooms about the same time. The plant bears tiny, white blooms that are not showy. You can grow it in containers. For indoor cats, grow several pots that can rotate between outdoors and indoors. Growing catnip plant requires a lot of light, so you’ll need to move indoor pots back out every couple of weeks and bring in new ones. Also, consider growing catnip plant near the vegetable garden as a way to attract your cat and thereby keep down the rodent population. Harvest Catnip upon flowering, on dry, sunny day time. Late morning is a good time to harvest Catnip after the dew has dried, but before the day heats up. Cut off the entire plant at the base, and hang it upside down, as soon as possible, in a dark, dry, well-ventilated place (for example, an attic).

You can harvest catnip leaves at any time in the growing season. However, the oils that so entrance cats reach their peak when the Catnip plant flowers. You can also harvest the plant flowers and use them as the leaves. To minimize the possibility of the Catnip molding instead of drying, wait until any dew has evaporated before harvesting. This means mid-morning or early afternoon time is the best time of day to harvest.

Cut entire stems at the base of the Catnip plant. This process will provide you with a collection of leaves and flowers to use or dry. Catnip develops quickly and will soon replace any removed plant matter. However, it will replace removed stems quickly than randomly removed the leaves. Early in the season, you can pinch off the tips of shoots to encourage bushy growth for later harvesting. You can use whatever pinch off. Dry the leaves and save it, or use it fresh. It just won’t be quite as strong in scent or effectiveness.

Catnip oil extraction:

How is Catnip oil extracted? Catnip essential oil is extracted from the steam distillation of the fresh or partly dried leaves. 

Steam distillation

What is steam distillation? Steam distillation is a widely used procedure of extracting essential oil or Catnip oil from plant material when the products are temperature sensitive and can be damaged by too high a processing.

In the past, it was a widely used process but has been replaced mostly by vacuum distillation. It remains the most common method of extracting essential oils and perfume components from plant material. It is used by the petrochemical industry to separate various volatile compounds from petroleum. The procedure is simple. Steam is passed through vegetable matter and causes essential volatile oils to evaporate and mix with the steam. This mixture is then passed throughout a condenser and the condensed liquid collected. This condensed liquid is generally water mixed with a small amount of oil and other substances which evaporated from the plant material. The oil collects at the top of the liquid and could be decanted or otherwise collected.

Steam distillation is a separation method which is used for separating a mixture of components which are heat sensitive by using steam. The principle is based on variation in the boiling point of reducing the partial pressure of volatile components. Steam distillation has important application in petroleum refineries, extraction of volatile compounds of plants which were used in perfumery and flavoring industries. Catnip is extracted using steam distillation. The steam distillate content has two parts, essential oil, and distillation water. The steam distillate is subjected to solvent extraction where the secondary essential oil is extracted.

The oil is extracted from the entire plant using a distillation element consisting of a distillation tank, a condenser, and a separator. Freshly harvested grass as such or after cutting into little pieces is loaded into the distillation tank. After closing the lid tightly, steam is entering into the tank. Steam and the oil vapor condense into liquid in condenser & are collected in the separator.

Catnip essential oil extraction

Essential oil yields from the plant population were achieved using a pilot-scale 500-liter portable steam distillation unit. The essential oil of Catnip is difficult to recover as the oil can elute into two fractions, one lighter and the other heavier than water, requiring differential oil collectors. We used a special separator and also capture the essential oil fraction that was heavier than water. Catnip essential oil yields are supplied as both the actual oil collected under the pilot-scale structure used as well as an adjusted total oil yield, which calculates the entire Catnip essential oil yield that could be captured with an efficient recovery system. The composition of Catnip essential oils was determined by using a gas chromatograph (GC) coupled to a mass spectrometer (MS) and flame ionization detectors.

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Cost of Catnip oil:

The cost of Catnip oil is approximately Rs 2,200/Kilogram

Benefits of Catnip oil:

What is Catnip oil used for? Catnip is most famous as a treat for cats to play with, but it has a long history of traditional herbal use. Keep your outdoor space free of annoyances with Catnip plant. To support a restful night’s sleep, Catnip oil can be diffused to promote a relaxing atmosphere.

Catnip essential oil is used for;

Medicine: It is used to have antibiotic and astringent properties.

Insect repellent: Catnip essential oil was shown to be more effective in repelling mosquitoes, the most regular ingredient in pesticides and insect repellents.

This Catnip essential oil was shown to be able to combat cockroaches, termites, dust mites and deer ticks. The only setback about Catnip oil is that it has a short shelf life.

Relieves Spasms: This Catnip essential oil can cure almost all forms of cramps, whether they are muscular, intestinal, respiratory, or any other part. This oil efficiently relaxes muscle pulls and helps to cure spasmodic cholera. Since it is an anti-spasmodic, it cures every other problem related to cramps or spasms.

Eliminates Gases: Catnip oil can help you a lot. This oil effectively removes gases through downward movement (which is safe) and does not let additional gases form. Catnip oil is good for those who are suffering from chronic gas trouble.

Healthy Nervous System: Catnip essential oil acts as a tonic for the nerves and the nervous system. It helps to cure several nervous disorders, including shaking hands, nervousness, vertigo, Parkinson’s disease, convulsions, sluggishness, and a lack of reflexes. Mainly, it strengthens nerves and activates them.

Calms the Nervous System: While Catnip oil makes our feline friends go a little batty, it has the opposite effect on humans. Since it acts as a sedative, this oil can be used to calm the nerves, help with anxiety, and reduce stress.

That’s all folks about catnip oil extraction process.

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  1. I was lucky to find this article because I have developed a recent interest in small-farm based production of catnip oil as a natural mosquito repellent. Your paper is exceptionally helpful for understanding how to approach that process. Plus , the article layout is easy to read. This is very useful and I wish to thank you for that


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