Catmint is a member of the mint family that has a distinctive and peculiar scent, which is well known as a feline high. Apparently not all cats adore it though and kittens actually dislike it. The acquired taste does not develop until the kitties are at least 2-3 months old. One cat's bliss is another rat's foe - rats apparently detest catnip and will not go near it, which is well worth remembering when you consider the layout of your garden. Catnip oil is also said to be an extremely effective insect repellent. Catnip tops are edible and in small quantities may add an unusual note of distinction to your salads. Long before Darjeeling or Assam sent us their tea-leaves to brew our cuppas, country folk utilized catnip leaves for the same purpose. According to an old story The root is said to conjure up courage. Once upon a time there was a particularly gentle minded executioner, who obviously completely missed his calling, for he could never conjure up the courage or anger to pull the fatal string, lest he had ingested a bit of catnip root first.
Catnip is an excellent diaphoretic, opening the pores without overheating the system, which is very helpful for treating fevers. It is also helpful in treating stomach pains or colic. It is calming and acts as a nervous system relaxant, especially in cases of insomnia, agitation or hysteria. It is a good remedy for children and has been used to ease the effects of hyperactivity and attention deficit syndrome. It is interesting to note that the old herbalists also recommend it as a women's herb to 'bring on their courses'.
An excellent herb to help get in touch with your feline familiars or as an offering to Bast, the Egyptian cat-goddess. It can be used to centre the mind and conjure up courage. It may be helpful when carrying out battles in the astral realms, shape shifting and shamanic journeys. Some report a euphoric effect from smoking the leaves. In the old days it was used in counter magic. If a witch had stolen a cow's milk, a little catmint and the proper spell could restore its flow.
Catmint, Catnep, Catwort, Field Balm.