- Family Rosaceae
- Alchemilla vulgaris
- Dewcup, Bear’s Foot, Leontopodium, Lion’s Foot, Nine Hooks, Stellaria
- Do not use during pregnancy.
There are about 350 species of Alchemilla, but only A . vulgaris has any therapeutic value and seems to be an aggregate name for some twenty-one subspecies that have similar medicinal properties. Lady’s Mantle is an herbaceous perennial that grows to about a foot in height, producing a mass of tiny yellow-green flowers. Its leaves are rounded with slightly scalloped edges and spread out like a cloak. It grows in the Northern Hemisphere of North America, Greenland, and Europe to the Mediterranean and Iceland and Asia from the Caucasus and the Himalayas to Siberia.
Its botanical name comes from the Arab word alkemelych (alchemy), and derived because of its healing reputation, as well as the dew that collected in each leaf which was a part of many mystic potions.
Its powers were so reputedly so potent that the Christian Church named it “Our Lady s Mantle” and became known as “a woman s best friend,” used to help many female ailments. One German herbalist went so far as to claim that with prolonged use, one-third of the gynecological operations would not be necessary.
Despite its reputation as a female herb, Lady’s Mantle was a popular wound herb on the battlefields of the 15th and 16th centuries, as stated by Nicholas Culpeper in 1653, among others.
An herbal from 1570 recommended two preparations. One was the powdered root mixed with red wine for internal and external wounds and an infusion of the aerial parts for greenstick fractures and broken bones in babies and young children.
- digestive aid
- menstrual regulator
- wound healer
- salicylic acid
- volatile oil
- bitter principle
- Aerial parts, root
- Its high tannin content causes an astringent action which arrests bleeding, and used in the treatment of both internal and external bleeding.
Infusions are used for gastroenteritis or diarhea, to control heavy menstruation and pain, to regulate menstrual cycle, for vaginal discharges, for infections, or as a wash for weeping eczema or sores.
Fresh leaves to staunch blood flow and heal wounds
Tinctures are usedfor menstrual pain or menopausal problems.
Ointment is used to relieve vaginal itching.
Mouthwashes and gargles are used for sore throats, laryngitis, and mouth ulcers.
Douches or suppositories are used for vaginal discharges and itching (the suppositories can be made by combining a tincture and cocoa butter).
It is used mainly as a wound healer. The herb s astringency staunches blood flow and encourages the first stage of healing, while its aspirinlike compound eases the pain.
Its astringency also makes it useful in treating diarrhea.
When mixed with Snakeweed (Polygonum bistorta) it produces an antiseptic action.