Chinese Herbs: Japanese Catnip


Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. The first traditionally recognized herbalist, Shénnóng, is said to have lived around 2800 BC. There are roughly 13,000 medicinals used in China and over 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in the ancient literature. In this blog post series, I highlight one Chinese herb and its healing properties: Japanese catnip.

Is spring making you sneeze? At our office, here in Wilmington, NC, it’s pollen season! Everything is covered in pollen and many of our patients are struggling with allergy symptoms, but want to avoid the common side effects of conventional allergy medications.

If you are looking for a natural alternative to those allergy medications that make you feel drowsy, a traditional Chinese herbalist might suggest Japanese catnip or Jing Jie. According to traditional herbalists, allergies are related to lung issues and imbalance in the spleen and kidneys. Traditionally, this imbalance has been described as a result of Internal and External Cold or Hot Wind entering the body, which can cause symptoms like chills, colds, and fever.

Used in combination with other herbs, Japanese catnip can help balance the body and reduce allergy symptoms. Despite it’s name, this isn’t the catnip that your feline loves! The herb has a strong, but pleasant aroma, comparable to pine and lavender flowers. It works as a natural antihistamine and improves circulation, which is crucial to balancing the body’s energy or Qi. Because of this calming effect and the herb’s ability to soothe itchiness of the skin, ears, nose, and throat, Japanese catnip is also used for some skin conditions. However, it is not recommended for pregnant and nursing women. If you would like to learn more about Japanese catnip, please make an appointment at our Masonboro Loop Road office in Wilmington, NC.


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