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The Alluring Magickal Properties of Catnip

Hi, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Recently I’ve been sharing guides to some of my favourite herbs and plants with you, like this guide to the magickal properties of sunflowers. I’ve also written a post about basil, a guide to aloe and most recently a post all about the magickal properties of apples. Today I want to continue in this vein by sharing my guide to the magickal properties of catnip with you!

Catnip has a long history of use as a healing herb to relieve stress and aid digestion. It’s most commonly known for being a cat’s best friend. The magickal properties of catnip include feline magick, happiness, friendship and beauty among others.

botanical illustration of catnip for the magickal properties of catnip

Disclaimer: Any medicinal benefits given here are a product of my own research and as such should not be taken over the advice of trained medical professionals. If you are ill, please go and see a doctor. Always make sure that anything you consume is 100% safe. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor or midwife before consuming something you haven’t tried before.

History of Catnip

Catnip, also known as Nepeta Cataria, is a member of the Lamiaceae family which also includes mint, lavender and rosemary as well as many others. It’s is also referred to as catmint, catswort and nep. It’s native to Europe, Africa and Asia but now grows all over the world. 

Catnip Has been mentioned throughout history and is thought to take its official name from an Etrurian city named Neptic which is now known as Nepi. There are records of the Ancient Romans using it as a herbal tonic to treat various ailments. 

Catnip was introduced to the Americas sometime during the 1600-1700s by settlers who took plant cuttings with them to introduce to their new home. There is a recipe from Massachusetts from 1712 which lists catnip as one of the ingredients so we can assume it was already established there by this point. Apparently boxers from this time also liked to chew it before their matches as they thought it made them more aggressive. 

close up of catnip for the magickal properties of catnip

Today catnip is mostly used in cat toys and in relation cats while its healing properties have been largely forgotten. 

Fun Facts about Catnip

  • Around ⅔ of cats have an intense attraction to catnip. The chemical in catnip that they find so attractive activates the same part of their brains as sex pheromones. 
  • Catnip can be used as an insect repellent for aphids, mosquitoes and squash bugs among others.
  • The calming effect of catnip is relatively well known and documented, it can cause drowsiness though. 
  • During the 60s, some people smoked catnip because of its slight hallucinogenic effects.
  • The ingredient that cats love so much in catnip is called nepetalactone. It’s a chemical that is released when the plant is bruised. This is why cats love to rub up against the plants!
cat rubbing itself against catnip
  • Cats who eat catnip will be calmer and more relaxed while cats who smell catnip will generally react with excitement and a lot of energy. 
  • Cats don’t react to catnip until they reach sexual maturity, between the ages of 3-6 months. 
  • Catnip plants have evolved 2x in order to produce nepetalactone. They started producing, evolved to the point where they stopped making it then evolved again in order to start producing it again. I feel like maybe this was the plants “oh shit, I messed up, let me fix it” moment.
  • Cats will have a strong reaction to catnip for around 10 minutes. After this, there is normally a 2ish hour period where they won’t react to it at all. Cats can’t overdose on catnip. Phew. 

Medicinal Uses of Catnip

The most common way to benefit from catnip is by drinking it in tea form. Both the leaves and the flowers can be used for this purpose. 

Catnip was used in traditional medicine to bring down low fevers, relieve stress and help with digestional issues. Used as a poultice it was applied to help heals sprains and arthritis. Today its use has been almost completely eclipsed by modern pharmaceuticals. 

bee flying into catnip flower
The leaves and flowers can be harvested and used in teas or poultices. The flowers are also a favourite of bees and bumblebees.

Catnip tea was a traditional way to induce a menstrual cycle. It causes slight uterine contractions so shouldn’t be used if you are pregnant as there is a slight chance of inducing a miscarriage. It is sometimes used in tea form to help the expulsion of the placenta after birth.

  • May help insomnia
  • May help to relieve anxiety and stress
  • May relieve fevers
  • May help to ease nausea
  • Might help with headaches
  • May treat colds 
  • May relieve aches and pains
  • Catnip is a diuretic and can help with relieving symptoms of water retention
  • Can be used to treat digestive issues
  • May help to relax muscles
  • May help wounds heal faster 

Magickal Properties of Catnip

Catnip is often used in magick associated with love, but it’s generally less used for romantic love and more used for the love of friends, family and animals. In order to cement a friendship with someone, hold catnip in your hand until you have warmed it through and then hold the hand of the person you want to be friends with. Keep the catnip in a safe place and as long as the catnip is safe and sound, that person will stay your friend. 

Hanging catnip in your home or growing it in your garden will call helpful spirits to you and will help to bring you luck. If you want to increase your courage and protect yourself, chew a couple of catnip leaves. 

If you want to create a strong bond between yourself and your cat, give the cat some catnip while you drink a cup of catnip tea. If you’re worried about your cat staying away from home too often, soak some catnip leaves in a bowl of milk under the full moon. Leave this bowl on your doorstep for your cat to find when it comes home and it should entice it to stop straying so much (but you know cats, they’ll make up their own minds). 

Add catnip, cinnamon, rose petals and rose quartz to a pink sachet to make a simple love or friendship charm.

love charm using magickal properties of catnip, rose, cinnamon and rose quartz
Other Magickal Properties of Catnip
  • Cat magick
  • Happiness
  • Friendship
  • Beauty
  • Love
  • Cat magick
  • Attracts friendly spirits
  • Tranquillity
  • Psychic work
  • Dreams
  • Protection

Magickal Correspondences of Catnip

Deities – Bast, Venus

Magickal Associations of Catnip

Zodiac – Taurus, Libra

Planet – Venus

Element – Water

Gender – Feminine

CrystalsJasper, angelite, dalmatia stone and rose quartz

So, my lovelies, I hope this gives you all the information you were looking for about the magickal properties of catnip! May your days be filled with gentle love, your energy relaxed and stress-free and your happiness abundant.

Until next time,

Blessed be,