The Cat’s Meow: Catnip Magical Properties and Uses

Close-up on catmint with purple flowers in bloom.

The Magic of Catnip

There’s something curiously amusing about observing a cat intoxicated by the scent of catnip. As the feline’s eyes widen and pupils dilate as if stimulated by drugs, they cannot resist the magic. As such, a cat will roll around on the floor, writhing as if seized by some hypnotic trance.

Catnip is Relaxing

Catnip is a magical plant indeed for both felines and humans. While the plant’s scent proves intoxicating for cats, catnip exudes relaxing, powerful energy for humans. Thus, consider the herb when you need to calm both body and mind.

Attracting Love with Catnip

As suggested by its heart-shaped leaves, catnip is also said to attract love, and you can include in love sachets along with rose petals for this very purpose. Give catnip to your beloved feline friend to foster a powerful psychic bond between you.

Catnip with flowers in bloom against a wooden fence, with a sign labeled "Catmint (Kitty's Bed)." • Catnip Magical Properties

How Catnip Strengthens Friendship

As a friendship-building exercise, hold some catnip in your hand till it’s warm, and then hold the hand of the person with whom you wish to build an everlasting bond. Be careful to store this enchanted piece of catnip you’ve used in a safe place to ensure the magic will last.

Catnip Attracts Both Cats and Kind Spirits

When grown near the home, catnip not only attracts the intrigue of the neighborhood cats but good-tempered spirits. It also entices the winds of good fortune, which can be helpful for you and your abode. Hang some catnip over your doorway for a similar effect.

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Repelling Insects with Catnip

Catnip has convenient applications as an insect repellent, which makes it incredibly useful to grow near or within the home. The plant itself is a natural mosquito and fly repellent. Furthermore, you can sprinkle catnip oil around the house to repel insects like cockroaches and termites.

Enticing Beneficial Insects with Catnip

On the flip side, when grown in the garden, Catnip will attract the presence of butterflies. Similarly, catnip oil has a compound within it that attracts lacewings. Like butterflies, lacewings also benefit your garden as they fend off aphids and mites.

Catmint with purple blooms along a brick pathway, in front of pink roses. • Catnip Magical Properties

European Folk Medicine and Catnip

While the advent of modern-day pharmaceuticals often tempts us to forget, Catnip was once famous for its medicinal effects. There was an appreciation well into antiquity for its ability to calm and soothe, especially as part of European folk medicine.

Catnip As Native American Medicine

Native American tribes such as the Cherokee and Iroquois appreciated Catnip’s gentle medicinal effect yet potent soothing power. They trusted it to heal the ails and aches that often accompany childhood complaints. Native Americans also used Catnip to soothe colic in infants in a way that not much else could.

Catmint leaves without flowers, with a brown label in front that says "Catmint. Nepeta racemosa 'Walker's Low.' Lamiaceae. Garden origin." • Catnip Magical Properties

Some Cats Are Immune to Catnip

Interestingly, not all cats fall prey to the intoxicating magic of catnip. About one-third of all cats are immune to its spell, thanks to a hereditary trait. Moreover, catnip isn’t the only plant that seems to have this magical power over the feline kingdom, as cats react similarly to valerian, silver vine, and Tatarian honeysuckle wood.

Cats of All Size Love Catnip

It’s not just domesticated cats that are affected by catnip, but ferocious wild felines such as lynxes, cougars, and leopards. Lions and tigers are sometimes entranced by catnip as well, but…only sometimes.

Catnip with purple flowers in bloom, edging a brick walkway. • Catnip Magical Properties

Catnip Magical Properties and Correspondences

  • Botanical Name: Nepeta cataria
  • Folk Names: Cat, Catmint, Catnep, Catrup, Cat’s Wort, Field Balm, Nepeta, Nip
  • Gender: Feminine
  • Planet: Venus
  • Element: Water
  • Deities: Bast
  • Magical Attributes: Cat Magic, Love, Beauty, Happiness

From Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs


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