Schizonepeta Analyzed

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Introduction

Schizonepeta, commonly called Japanese Catnip, is a herb that is part of traditional Asian remedies.

It is best known for relieving body aches and treating the common cold, sore throats, allergic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.

It is important to not mistake this for “true” catnip, which is part of the same plant family and acts as both a sedative and stimulant in cats.

Schizonepeta is often consumed in sauces, teas and as part of herbal medicines.

The effects of schizonepeta are most likely related to the monoterpenoid content, but no solid can confirm what is the main bioactive compound.

Schizonepeta Health Benefits

May Be Anti-Inflammatory

Some data from animal and lab studies indicates a possible role for schizonepeta in the immune system, with selective anti-inflammatory effects comparable to some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Multiple researchers have even categorized schizonepeta as an “immunomodulator” – defined as a chemical agent that modifies the immune response or the functioning of the immune system – but more evidence is needed in human interventions to ascertain this role.

More specifically, in lab studies schizonepeta appears to suppress a proinflammatory molecule called TNF-α content for around 24 hours [1].

The mechanism by which this occurs appears to be:

  • Suppressing the activation of signaling pathways by which this proinflammatory molecule is generated.
  • Possessing anti-inflammatory effects by differentiating T-cells that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity [2].

However, these anti-inflammatory effects are only based on limited evidence in 2 animal studies where it has moderate effects at a very high dose of 500mg per kg bodyweight [3] [4].

How this small amount of evidence translates into human biology is unknown.

May Have Anti-Allergic Effects

In an allergic reaction, mast cells release histamine which triggers allergy symptoms.

In lab studies, using isolated compounds of schizonepeta in human mast cells found that the ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, and pulegone content were are all able to significantly reduce the amount of histamine released [5]. Ursolic acid seems to be the most effective out of these isolated ingredients.

Based on this, schizonepeta may be able to interrupt histamine release from mast cells and stop allergic reactions.

This seemingly anti-allergic activity has been confirmed in animal studies where mice were fed schizonepeta prior to a hypersensitivity reaction to try and force an allergic response [6], seemingly by reducing histamine concentrations [7].

Human studies have not been conducted to test these findings outside of lab or animal studies.

How to Take Schizonepeta

There are no human studies to confirm the best dosage for schizonepeta. Due to this, recommendations are based on logical conversions from the amounts used in animal studies (100-250mg per lb of bodyweight) which equates to:

  • 2,200-5,400mg for a 150lb person
  • 2,900-7,200mg for a 200lb person
  • 3,600-9,000mg for a 250lb person

As these amounts are also the historical dosages used in Asian culture for treating allergies and skin conditions it can be presumed these are effective recommendations.

Schizonepeta Safety Information and Side Effects

Schizonepeta is a very well-tolerated herb and can be considered safe within the recommended doses.

Serious issues are only speculated to occur when the oral dose reaches ~5 grams per lb of bodyweight [8].

In addition, based on user reports and scientific studies there does not appear to be any common side effects associated with this herb.

Conclusion

Schizonepeta, commonly called Japanese Catnip, is a herb that has been used as a traditional Asian remedy to treat illnesses and allergies.

A small amount of evidence suggests that this herb does indeed have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effects, but studies on humans are severely lacking or absent.

However, because it highly regarded in Asian medicine, and considering it is very safe to consume, it is advised to take between 2000-9000mg per day if people want to experiment with this supplement.

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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.