How to Make Catnip Oil

June 15, 2024

 

Making catnip oil at home is a simple, fun way to spoil your cat and save some cash. If you've ever watched a cat tumble around in bliss with a catnip toy, you know the magic of this herb. Catnip, a plant that's a hit with most felines, isn't just for stuffing into toys — you can turn it into an oil perfect for a rubdown for pain and spasm relief, disinfection, and much more.

This guide is about making your catnip oil that'll bring lots of joy to your furry friend.

What Is Catnip Oil?

Catnip oil is a natural extract derived from the catnip plant, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria. This perennial herb, part of the mint family, is famous for attracting and affecting cats in a uniquely joyful way.

But it's not just a one-trick pony; catnip oil is popular for various uses, both for cats and humans.

Here are some popular benefits of catnip oil:

For Cats:

  • Stimulates Playful Behavior: It can make your cat more playful and energetic, providing them with mental and physical stimulation.
  • Stress Relief: Helps calm cats down, especially in stressful situations like visits to the vet or adjusting to new environments.
  • Attracts Cats: Useful for training or encouraging cats to use scratching posts and beds.

For Humans:

  • Natural Insect Repellent: It's effective against mosquitoes, flies, and other pests.
  • Relaxation: Possesses mild soothing properties that can aid in relaxation and stress relief.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Helps reduce inflammation and relieve minor aches, pains, and headaches.

Making Catnip Oil Through Infusion

While you likely purchase catnip oil from a reputable online retailer, making catnip oil at home is simple! You don't need a lot of fancy equipment, just some fresh or dried catnip leaves, a carrier oil, and a bit of patience. Here’s how you can make your batch of catnip oil through infusion:

Gather Your Supplies:

  • Catnip leaves (fresh or dried)
  • Carrier oil (such as olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil)
  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Strainer or cheesecloth
  • Dark-colored bottle for storage

Prepare the Catnip:

  • If you're using fresh catnip, roughly chop the leaves to increase the surface area.
  • For dried catnip, measure out about a cup of leaves.

Infuse the Oil:

  • Place the catnip in the glass jar.
  • Pour the carrier oil over the catnip until it's completely submerged. Aim for a ratio of one part catnip to two parts oil.
  • Seal the jar tightly.

Let It Sit:

  • Store the jar in a warm, sunny spot for three to four weeks. This slow infusion process allows the oil to extract the essence and beneficial compounds from the catnip.
  • Shake the jar gently every couple of days to mix the contents.

Strain and Store:

  • After the infusion, strain the oil through a cheesecloth or strainer into a clean, dark-colored bottle. The dark color helps preserve the oil's quality by protecting it from light.
  • Make sure to squeeze out as much oil as possible from the catnip leaves.

Label Your Oil:

  • Label your bottle with the date and contents. Catnip oil can last up to a year if stored properly in a cool, dark place.

Extracting Catnip Oil With Steam Distillation

Extracting catnip oil through steam distillation is a bit more complex than the infusion method, but it's a fascinating process that yields a more concentrated oil. Here's how you can extract catnip oil using steam distillation at home:

Gather Your Equipment:

  • A steam distillation kit (these can be purchased online)
  • Fresh catnip leaves
  • Distilled water
  • Ice
  • A collection flask or bottle

Prepare the Catnip:

  • Harvest fresh catnip leaves. The fresher, the better, as they contain the highest levels of the essential oil.
  • Roughly chop or bruise the leaves to help release the oil.

Set Up Your Distillation Kit:

  • Fill the distillation chamber with the chopped catnip leaves.
  • Add distilled water to the chamber. The water should cover the plant material but not fill the chamber.

Begin the Distillation Process:

  • Heat the water to a boil. Steam will pass through the catnip as the water boils, extracting its essential oils.
  • The steam, now carrying the oil, moves into the cooling chamber, where it condenses back into water and oil.

Cool the Steam:

  • Use ice or cold water to cool the condenser. This step is crucial for turning the steam back into a liquid form.

Collect the Oil:

  • The condensed liquid will collect in a flask.
  • Carefully separate the oil from the water. Do this using a pipette or gently pouring off the oil as it separates and floats to the top.

Store the Oil:

  • Transfer the collected oil into a dark-colored glass bottle for storage.
  • Label the bottle with the extraction date and contents. Stored properly in a cool, dark place, the catnip essential oil can last for up to a year or more.

Make Your Catnip Oil Today

And there you have it—your very own homemade catnip oil! Whether for giving your feline friend a special treat or other numerous benefits, homemade catnip oil is a versatile addition to your natural product collection.

 

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