Nepetalactone is a substance of natural origin isolated for the first time in catnip (Nepeta cataria L., 1753) but present in other plants such as, among others, nepetella (Nepeta nepetella L., 1759).
Nepetalactone is a bicyclic terpenoid at 10 C, deriving from isoprene formed by a fused lactone and cyclopentane and has a molecular formula: C10H14O2.
The nepetalactone is part of those substances synthesized by plants as attractors of pollinating insects or as a repellent for animals harmful to the plant (parasites or herbivores).
Nepetalactone has 3 stereocenters and 4aα, 7α, 7aα-nepetalactone is the molecule that causes excitement in felines in particular. 70% -90% of cats are sensitive to it, and this has a genetic determinant (due to an autosomal dominant gene). Kittens appear to be unresponsive to the molecule until at least 6-8 weeks of life, possibly until sexual maturity is reached.

From recent studies it seems that nepetalactone is very powerful as a repellent for cockroaches and fly killers.
It can also act as a sex pheromone in Hemiptera Aphidae (an aphid) and as a defense molecule in Orthoptera Phasmatidae (the stick insect).
In humans, nepetalactone is an excellent sedative, with antibacterial properties. Before the advent of Chinese tea, tea with catnip was very popular.

Warning: The information shown is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.

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