Lady's Mantle

Other Names for Lady's Mantle: Alchemilla vulgaris; Bear's foot; Lion's Foot; Stellaria; Nine hooks; Lady's cloak

Useful Parts of the Plant: Aerial parts; roots

Alchemilla vulgaris or lady's mantle is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows in mountainous regions, forests and pastures between April and August. It has semicircular leaves and small, yellowish green flowers. The herb has been reputed to be a very beneficial for women and has been prescribed by herbalists for treating menstrual cramps. The name Alchemilla stems from the medieval alchemists. They believed that the dewdrops that gathered on the leaves of the plant had magical powers that could help them in their quest for the philosopher's stone (a mythical stone that could turn base metals into gold). The name mantle derives from the shape of the leaves that resembled a lady's cloak in medieval times.

Nutritional Information and Properties

Lady's mantle is a rich source of tannins, flavonoids, salicylic acid and mineral salts. It has potent astringent properties and since centuries been used by European folk healers for many generations. Extracts from the herb have been used to stop both internal and external bleeding and have been used to heal wounds. It is also effective in cases of excessive menstrual bleeding and cramps. It is said to have a beneficial effect on hormonal levels and is recommended in cases of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) and menopausal disorders. The high salicylic acid content is useful in treating inflammation and fevers.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

Early herbalists believed that the lady's mantle possessed very effective contractile powers. It was thought that these powers could help in restoring a woman's lost virginity and could restore firmness to a woman's breasts.

The ability of lady's mantle to heal wounds has been highly prized by herbalists for a long time. The herb has a potent astringent action that can staunch the flow of blood and allow the healing process to begin. Women who suffer from heavy bleeding during their menstrual cycle have greatly benefited from its astringent action and its ability to regularize their menstrual cycle. Herbal preparations made from its extracts are also prescribed by herbalists for the treatment of fibroids and endometriosis in women.

Decoctions made from lady's mantle can be used as a vaginal douche to wash off excess vaginal discharge. This also helps to reduce irritation in the vagina and ward of vaginal infections. It is also believed to be useful as an aid to conception.

The lady's mantle has also been used by herbalists to act as a liver decongestant and in the treatment of diarrhea and gastroenteritis. It has also been used to induce sleep in insomniacs.

The lady's mantle decoction also makes an excellent skin lotion which can help eliminate rashes formed by diseases like eczema. It can be used to heal cuts, wounds, external sores and all kinds of insect bites. This decoction can also be used as a mouthwash to treat cases of mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and as a gargle for sore throats.

Lady's mantle can be used in many different forms. An infusion is made by boiling the herb in water. Taken up to five times a day, it can help alleviate acute symptoms of gastroenteritis. The tincture is preferred for treating menstrual pain and irregular menstrual cycles as well as for issues related to menopause. Ointments are made from its extracts using 50g. ointment base with 20ml. rosewater and 15ml. of infusion or tincture. These can be used in cases of vaginal irritation to soothe the affected areas. Washes to treat eczema or skin sores can be made by diluting the infusion and applying it on the affected areas. The diluted infusion can also be used as a mouthwash to treat sore throats.