Alchemilla vulgaris-Lady’s Mantle
Other names: Alchemilla xanthochlora, A. mollis, A. speciosa, A. xanthochlora-Rothm, Nine Hooks, Dewcup, Lion’s Foot, Bear’s Foot, Stellaria
Habitat: Europe, including Britain, from Norway to Spain and east to Poland. Moist meadows, open woods, pastures and also on rock ledges in mountainous areas.Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow;
Lady’s Mantle Herb has a long tradition of use as a medicinal herb. mainly as an external treatment for cuts and wounds, and internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and a number of women’s ailments, especially menstrual problems . The herb is alterative, antirheumatic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, styptic, tonic and vulnerary . The leaves and flowering stems are best harvested as the plant comes into flower and can then be dried for later use . The fresh root has similar and perhaps stronger properties to the leaves, but is less often used . The plant is rich in tannin and so is an effective astringent and styptic, commonly used both internally and externally in the treatment of wounds. It helps stop vaginal discharge and is also used as a treatment for excessive menstruation and to heal lesions after pregnancy . Prolonged use can ease the discomfort of the menopause and excessive menstruation. The freshly pressed juice is used to help heal skin troubles such as acne and a weak decoction of the plant has been used in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
Description of Lady’s Mantle:
Alchemilla vulgaris, Lady’s Mantle is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to September, and the seeds ripen from Aug to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Apomictic.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.
Picture shows a Lady’s Mantle Plant
Cultivation of Lady’s Mantle:
Easily grown in ordinary soil in sun or part shade . Prefers a well-drained neutral or basic soil . Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in dry shade . An aggregate species that includes A. mollis and A. speciosa . This plant is listed as A. xanthochlora. Rothm. in ‘Flora Europaea’ . Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.
Propagation of Lady’s Mantle:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 16°c . When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on a cold frame for their first winter, planting out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. The divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we find it best to pot them up and keep them in a sheltered position until they are growing away well.
Culinary uses of Lady’s mantle:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root.
Young leaves – raw or cooked . A dry, somewhat astringent flavour . They can be mixed with the leaves of Polygonum bistorta and Polygonum persicaria then used in making a bitter herb pudding called ‘Easter ledger’ which is eaten during Lent . Root – cooked. An astringent taste. The leaves are used commercially in the blending of tea.
Actions: Astringent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, vulnerary.
Part Used: The leaves and flowering shoots.
Indications: This and other species of Alchemilla have been widely used in folk medicine throughout Europe. Lady’s Mantle will help reduce pains associated with periods as well as ameliorating excessive bleeding. It also has a role to play in easing the changes of the menopause. As an emmenagogue it stimulates the proper menstrual flow if there is any resistance. However, in the often apparently paradoxical way of herbal remedies, Lady’s Mantle is a useful uterine astringent, used in both menorrhagia and metrorrhagia. Its astringency provides a role in the treatment of diarrhoea and as a mouthwash for sores and ulcers and as a gargle for laryngitis.
Preparations & Dosage of Lady’s Mantle:
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
To help diarrhoea and as a mouthwash or lotion, a stronger dosage is made by boiling the herb for a few minutes to extract all the tannin.
Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.
A useful ground cover plant, though somewhat slow to spread.
Esoteric uses of Lady’s Mantle:
Aphrodisiac, transmutation. Use in love potions or to increase the power of any magickal workings.
- Tannins, consisting mainly of glycosides of ellagic acid.
- Salicylic acid, a trace.