OE wyrtig, adj: Garden-like, full of plants;
On anum wyrtige hamme, Homl. Skt. ii. 30:312



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Nepeta cataria in bloomBritish Library MS

In Early Sources...


Nepeta cataria


Growing catnip in your garden


Medieval Names


Nepita nefte, nepte

Capitulare de Villis


Herbarium Apuleii

Nepitamon, nepte, 7 eac grecas hy mente orinon; nepte; nepitamon ƀ is nepte




Neftan, nefte

Walafrid Strabo


As its name implies, Nepeta (from the Greek word
nepenthe, a potion that brings brings forgetfulness) or catnip was thought to induce relaxation and sleep. Like other mints, it eased digestion, and  its flowers, fresh or dried, were used to make a tea for upset stomachs.

As a tonic, catnip was believed to increase body tone and vigor, to induce perspiration, reduce fever, and ease muscle cramps. While catnip leaves and flowers were believed to be calming and slightly soporific, chewing its roots was thought to make a person fierce and quarrelsome.

Šas wyrte man nepitamon 7 ošrum naman nepte nemneš 7 eac grecas hy  mente orinon hataš.

Herbarium XCV


This plant some name nepitamon and others name nepte, and also Greeks name this mint orinon.

Herbarium of Apuleius, XCV


Neššre. Wiš naešran slite genim šas wyrte še we nepitamon nemšun cnuca mid wine wring šonne št wos 7 syle drincan on wine 7 genim eac ša leaf šysse sylfan wyrte gecnucuše lege to šaere wunde.

Herbarium XCV


Adders. For snakebite take this plant that we name nepitamon;   pound it in wine, wring out the ooze, & give to drink in wine. Take the leaves of this same plant, pounded, & lay the on the wound.     

Herbarium of Apuleius, XCV


Wiš sculdor węrc... Eft wyl betonican 7 neftan on ealoš sele drincan Gelome simle ęt fyre Gesmire mid wenwurte.

Lęcbok I.xx


For shoulder pain... Another: boil betony & catnip in ale; give often to drink, & also, beside the fire, smear [the shoulder] with lesser celandine. 

Leechbook, I.xx


Wiš lungen adle  . hind bergean leaf 7 hreodes spir reade hofan . bisceop-wyrt dolhrunan . neftan on clęnum wętre eall šas wyrte wille 7 drince.

Lęcbok II.li


For lung disease: raspberry leaves & a reed spear, ground ivy ,  bishopswort, pellitory, catnip. [Put] in clean water all these plants, boil & drink.

Leechbook II, li


Wiš deofle liše drenc 7 ungemynde do on ealu cassuc . elehtran moran . finul ontre . betonica  . hind heološe . rude . wermod . nefte . elene . ęlfšone . wulfes comb . gesing . xii  . męssan ofer šam drence 7 drince him biš sona wel.

Lęcbok III.lxiv


For bedevilment, a gentle drink, and for confusion. Put into ale: cassuck,, lupin root, fennel, sedum,  betony, water agrimony, wild celery, rue, wormwood, catnip, helenium, enchanter's nightshade, teasel. Sing 12 masses over the drink & let them drink. They will soon be well.

Leechbook, III.lxiv


For to chace a-wey serpentis. The smoke of this herbe chaceth serpentes out of the hous that this herbe is brent inne.  

Macer, Nepis, XVI


For to chase away serpents. The smoke of this plant chases serpents out of the house that this plant is burned in.

Macer, Nepis, XV






Please note: Many plants have been used in past and present times for medicinal purposes, and as one of the focuses of Wyrtig is the history of gardening, these uses are discussed here. However, common sense requires that you consult your family physician or other health care provider before using any plant materials for medicinal purposes. The old saying that "A doctor who treats him- (or her-) self has a fool for a patient" is no less true in herbal medicine than in any other branch of the healing sciences. Herbal remedies should not be used by the uninformed; medical advice should be sought before using any herbal remedy.


Tri caindle

forosnat cach ndorcha
fir, aicned, ecna.


Three candles
illumine every darkness:
truth, nature, knowledge.

Gaelic triad



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