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CatnipNepeta cataria
Catnip
Culpeper says this is a Venus herb, and that makes sense, because it's a mint (feel the square stem), and mint's are a favorite of that goddess. Perhaps for that reason, this magick herb is often included in love magick and in fertility charms. But it partakes also of the Mother, being utilized to help keep the evil eye off children. Logically enough, it's great for cat magick. It's associated with October's Blood Moon (which is connected with the dark blue green color of catnip leaves, a good Venus color as well). It's useful in divination, specifically in dream pillows, although you might find it disemboweled as a sacrifice to Bastet if you have a cat in the house. Top

Catswort
Catnip-headsKittens are not usually affected by this herb, only adult cats. Not all cats like catnip, and they all react to it differently. Some just get sleepy, some get silly, and some get ricochet off the walls and will even growl at it--or at their friends if they try to take it away from them. Drugs do terrible things to people.:)  I have catnip growing all around a shed, and all kinds of cats drop by to have a nip. I have seen feral cats bend the plants over to harvest just the tiniest top leaves. These are apparently the most succulent for fresh consumption. Luckily, there are no lions in upstate NY--the big cats also enjoy catnip. If you have just one plant, cats can easily destroy it. I had one that a visiting cat used to enjoy lying on, and he finally loved it to death that way. So grow a bunch at once! If you dry it to save, rub it between your hands before sprinkling it around your cats. The warmth of your hands will help release the oils. Top

Mundane Uses
Catnip makes a nice sedating tea that is good for anxiety and your digestion. Some people like it for depression as well, and it is also helpful for little aches and pains. As one would expect of a Venus herb, it is good for the skin and is used in many female complaints. Brew 6-8 fresh leaves in closed pot. Smoking the leaves is in no way hallucinogenic, btw.  The young raw leaves are edible and are an interesting addition to salads. The older leaves are too strong. During the Colonial period, it was thought that catnip caused anger in people (perhaps because of the way it excited cats) and executioners drank it before going to work (and so it got another common name: hangman's root). Catnip is also good for strewing; it repels bugs, including roaches and ants, and keeps away mice. A tepid wash of the tea makes a decent repellent that can be applied to skin. Top

In the Garden
Catnip flowersLike any mint, catnip can be invasive, but in my yard it mainly stays around the edges of a particular building it favors. Some people believe it can get rid of poison ivy, perhaps by crowding it out. It's a good companion plant to cole crops, cukes, and squash. Deer and rabbits don't eat it. This native of Eurasia flowers from mid summer until frost, and bees love it. It is water-loving, as many mints are, and likes to grow around streams, but it also shows a somewhat Saturnian disposition in favoring the borders of fields--it's a classic hedgerow plant. Top

How to Grow Catnip
Barely cover the seed to germinate in 7-10 days at room temperature. Transplant the seedlings when they are hardened off to 12-18" apart in full sun. This is a hardy perennial (zones 3-9) that gets 24-48"/.6-1.2m high. It takes 75-85 days to grow to harvest age. Harvest the leaves when the plant is flowering. It can get wimpy when during the high heat of summer, but it will come back when it cools off. General growing info
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Nepeta cataria
Organic Catnip
100 seeds $3.25


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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Divination
Dreamwork
Fertility Charms
Love Magick
Protection Spells
Honoring the Mother
Venus Herb

2005, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission