Catnip: traditionally used for the treatment of colds and flu, but also relaxing and calming properties. Especially suitable for children with fevers ...

Common Names: Catnip

Botanical Name: Nepeta cataria

Family: Lamiaceae

Plant Type: Perennial

Parts Used: Leaves and flowering tops

Flowering: July

Catnip originated in Europe where it has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant. It was known to Roman cooks and doctors and went with European settlers wherever they went. Catnip got its name from its well-known reputation for attracting cats. Cats are so delighted by the smell of catnip that they will roll on the plant and eat the branches and leaves. Catnip scent is said to drive mice away.

Description: Catnip is an erect perennial with square, branched, woolly stems. Leaves are heart shaped with grayish-green, downy undersides and toothed edges. Flowers are tubular, white with purple-pink spots, and are arranged in dense whorls on spikes.

Cultivation: Catnip is a hardy perennial which does not grow easily from seed, but from cuttings.  Divide mature plants in spring or autumn; or take cuttings in early summer. Catnip likes dry, sandy, well-drained soil, in sun to part shade, with a pH of 6.6. It is hardy to zone 3.

Harvesting: Pick flowering tops in late summer; leaves any time. Use fresh or dry.

Catnip Magick

Animal Magick. Beauty. Happiness. Love.

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Diety: Bast

Use with rose petals in love sachets.

Catnip enhances beauty and happiness.

Press large catnip leaves and use them as bookmarks in your magical books.

Give to your cat to create a psychic bond with it (or at least intoxicate your cat...)

Grow it near your home or hang it over your door to attract good spirits and great luck.

Herbal Healing with Catnip

Medicinal Actions: Anti-spasmodic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, sedative

Medicinal Uses: Catnip tea is used to treat everything from colds to cancer. Common uses are: as a digestive tonic and mild sleeping aid. Catnip eases upset stomachs. It is good for treating children's diarrhea.

Body Care with Catnip

  • To ease away tension headaches, anxiety or insomnia, take 1 cup catnip infusion up to three times daily.
  • To soothe stress-related indigestion, take 1 teaspoon catnip tincture up to three times daily, as required.
  • To reduce fluid retention in the legs, apply a catnip leaf poultice to the affected area every morning and evening until the swelling is reduced.
Infusion: 1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh catnip flowering tops or leaves in 1 cup just-boiled water. (put a lid on the cup while it is steeping)

Tincture: 200g (7 oz) dried or 400g (14 oz) fresh catnip flowering tops or leaves in 1 litre (4 cups) vodka-water mix.

Poultice: Add very hot water to herb powder to make a paste, or simmer sufficient chopped fresh or dried herb to cover the area in a little water for 2 minutes, then squeeze out the water. Spread the powder or fresh-herb paste over your skin as hot as you can tolerate and bandage it in place with gauze. Leave it there for two to three hours, then repeat if necessary.

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness is free to access and use.
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Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.

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