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The Cottage September/Samhain 2001 Issue
Herb of the Month


Catnip

Folk Names: Cat, Catmint, Catrup, Cat's Wort, Fiel Balm, Nepeta, Nip.
Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Deities: Bast
Powers: Cat Magic, Love, Beauty, Happiness.

Description

This perennial herb can grow to a height of up to 3 feet with a spread of 15 inches. It has a straggly habit and is likely to be flattened by cats who love to roll in it. The only way to protect it is with wire netting.

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Cultivation

Catnip is easily grown from seed in spring and summer. It prefers good, fertile soil and partial shade. Soil should be well-drained and slightly alkaline. Roots can be divided in spring and fall.

Culinary Uses

The leaves are also used in salads and tea. Fresh leaves can be rubbed on raw meat as a tenderizer or mixed with olive oil and seasonings for a marinade.

RELAXING TEA BLEND:

This combination of herbs helps you relax to start the day. 1/4 C. dried spearmint
1 C. dried lemon balm
1/4 C. dried lemon grass
C. dried catnip
1/4 C. dried chamomile flowers
2 Tbs. Dried lavender flowers
Combine the herbs and store in an air tight container in a dark cool location. Make tea using 2 teaspoons of herb blend for each cup. Turn on some relaxing music and write in your journal.

Medicinal Uses

This herb belongs to the mint family and it used to ease digestion, calm the nerves, and relieve muscle spasms, including menstrual cramps.

How It May Benefit You...

indigestion, gas
tension, stress, difficulty in sleeping
colds, flu, bronchial congestion, fever
colic in infants
menstrual cramps.
Apply externally for cuts and scrapes.


Avoid catnip during pregnancy.

Te-keety -- Ole'!

Pack a pint (or larger) clean glass jar with fresh Catnip. Harvest just before it blooms for greatest strength. Pour in tequila (we used gold) to cover all of the herb, cap, label, and date. Put away in a cupboard for 10 days to two weeks, then strain into another clean jar. Pour into glass dropper bottles for use. Dose: 1-2 droppersful 3-4 times per day as necessary for cramps. And don't drive after dosing -- take a Cat nap!

Other uses

The most common use for catnip is as a recreational herb for cats. Catnip is used to make light yellow dye. Dry catnip by hanging it upside down in bags, then crumble and sew into cotton bags.


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Magickal Uses

Given to your cat, catnip creates a psychic bond between the two of you. It is also intoxicating to the cat. Catnip is used in love sachets, usually in conjunction with rose petals. If you hold catnip in your hand until it is warm, then hold anyone else's hand, they will forever be your friend, as long as you keep the catnip you used for the spell in some safe place. Grown near the home or hung over the door, catnip attracts good spirits and great luck. Catnip is also used in spells designed to enhance beauty and happiness. Large catnip leaves are pressed and used as bookmarks in magical texts.

Happiness Powder

2 parts Lavender

1 part Catnip

1 part Marjoram

When you wish to loft your spirits, sprinkle this powder in a circle on the floor or ground and sit within it, drinking in the powder's energies. Visualize them surronding you and infusing you with joy



Peace Bath:
2 parts Catnip
2 parts Hops
1 part Jasmine
1 part Elder Flowers

Mix these herbs together, and infuse a large handful of the mix in your bath to stem anger and to relieve stress. Visualize yourself letting go of the anger or stress - letting it float away into the water as you sit in it. Feel the anger floating out and sense the water absorbing the hurt, pain, nerves, and wrathful feelings. Splash fresh water onto your body after the bath

HARVEST AND STORAGE

You can begin harvesting catnip as soon as the stems get to about one foot tall, and continue cutting all summer. In mild climates, the plant will maintain a low rosette of leaves and can be picked through the winter. During the summer, you can cut a few sprigs of fresh catnip for kitty whenever you want to give him a treat. Don't be alarmed if kitty eats all the leaves.

Cut the stems when the leaves are dry of morning dew and hang upside down in an airy, shaded place to cure. When completely dried and crunchy, crumble the leaves into a paper bag and discard the stems. Store in plastic bags under lock and key. It has been my experience that many cats are able to open cupboards and remove bags of catnip. A few well aimed bites and the bag is shredded, the catnip is everywhere, and you have a wonderful mess to sweep up. Kitty will not be in any shape to assist in this cleaning effort.

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