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 Su B

I had lunch with a friend this week, and was admiring the lovely bank of catnip (Nepeta cataria), in full late bloom and humming with insects. It’s a beautiful thing, though if you have cats it will be loved to pieces before it gets the chance to flower. And it does have its uses for humans too.

Strangely enough, although insects – particularly bees – are attracted to the living plant, if you rub some on your skin it will act as a temporary insect repellant.

But its main traditional use is to bring down a fever, particularly in young children

It’s one of those herbs which boosts peripheral circulation, and by moving blood to your arms and legs, it helps to cool down your core. It doesn’t taste as sweet as calpol, and the tea is green rather than lurid pink, but it will help.

Su B Yarrow


Su B Elderflower


There are other herbs that are more popular nowadays for fever reduction, perhaps because the musty taste of catnip might be hard for a child to swallow. Elderflowers would do the job, and so would yarrow, but in an emergency it would be well worth a try.

There’s always more than one option where herbs are concerned. 

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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