Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their famed effect on cats—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors, typically resulting in the animal temporarily exhibiting behaviors indicative of being in an induced, euphorically giddy sort of state.
The genus is native to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the highest species diversity in the Mediterranean region east to mainland China. It is now also common in North America. Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to grayish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. The flowers are tubular and spotted with tiny purple dots.
It is ruled by the planet Venus, and is therefore useful in love, beauty, and happiness spells. One of my favorite uses for catnip is; "cat magick", If you feed your cat some catnip, it will build a psychic bond between you and your cat! You can also make a pink sachet and fill it with Catnip to wear or carry to draw love to you. Another fun use for catnip is to grow some in your home. Aside from pleasing your cat, this will draw positive vibrations and good luck to you and to your house. Chewed by warriors for fierceness in battle.
Individuals interested in cultivating Catnip are advised to sow the seeds directly into the garden and be especially careful not to injure developing plants (releasing the volatile oil) or the neighborhood cats will destroy the crop. The following bit of English folklore says it all. If you set it, the cats will eat it. If you sow it, the cats won’t know it. Besides being grown for the enjoyment of pet cats, Catnip has a history of use as a beverage and a medicine. Before European trade with China began bringing large quantities of fine Eastern Tea to Europe, Catnip tea was a domestic favorite especially among tea loving residents of the British Isles. When growing the plant for this purpose, mature leaves should be collected while they are still fresh and dried in the shade (not in the sun, or the volatile oil will be lost) for several days. One teaspoon of the dried herb is then added to each cup of boiling water and allowed to steep. The tea should not be boiled or, again, the oil will be lost. The drink is an excellent source of vitamin C. The number of various uses of Catnip tea for medicinal purposes is extraordinary. A survey of the literature indicates that it has been used at one time or another to cure just about every human disorder. Some of its more popular uses in Europe would include curing chronic bronchitis, diarrhea, upset stomachs, infant colic, flatulency, spasms, and “various lower type female disorders”. The tea is said to induce perspiration and has been used to break fevers, bring on sleep, and to cool a person down on a hot summer day. A use has even been found for the roots of Catnip. According to English folklore, the root of Catnip: “when chewed is said to make the most gentle person fierce and quarrelsome, and there is a legend of a certain hangman who could never screw up his courage to the point of hanging anybody till he had partaken of it.”