Catnip (also referred to as catmint, catnip, catwort or field balm; in any case the species is Nepeta cataria) is so well-known and loved because of the energetic and at times unpredictable effects it has upon our feline companions. This mint family perennial is native to Europe, Africa and Asia. It's easy to start from seed and propagate through mature root divisions - of course, if you can keep it away from your kitties during the establishment phase. Folk history suggests that catnip grown from seed will be less disturbed by cats than root/foliage transplants. Most of the plant's volatile oils contain the chemical nepetalactone, which is the primary active ingredient that effect cats. Catnip is beneficial to humans as well; culinary use as a seasoning, and in folk medicine as remedy to treat colds and colic. Modern studies have also demonstrated its effectiveness as an insect repellent.