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History records that catnip was first grown in the Roman town of Nepeti, which explains its genus name, Nepeta.In early Britain before the arrival of Chinese tea, dried catnip made an excellent and popular tea; this tea also had legendary medical benefits for complaints such as fever, congestion, anxiety, or poor digestion. Its effect on the personality was supposed to have ranged from sedation, to courage, to fierce aggressiveness. One popular legend states that reluctant hangmen often chewed catnip leaves to give them courage for their task. A member of the mint family, catnip is extremely attractive to cats; in modern times, it is commercially produced primarily for pets.
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