With its cloak-shaped leaves and fan-shaped groups of yellowish flowers, lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) has long been considered a “woman’s herb”. Herbalists and healers even collected the dewdrops from the leaves, believing that the liquid contained a magical healing elixir. Among Christians, this herb has been associated with the healing, protective mantle of the Virgin Mary. Its scientific name, Alchemilla vulgaris, derives from the Arabic word for “alchemy”.
In addition to its native Europe and Asia, lady’s mantle now grows in wet or shady areas of northeastern North America. This perennial member of the Rosaceae family grows to a height of 4 to 18 inches. Its palmate leaves are composed of 7 to 9 lobes, and its tiny yellowish green flowers bloom from May to October. As it matures, its blue-green stem turns reddish brown. The entire herb is used medicinally.
Bleeding and Discharge
The presence of tannins and glycosides gives lady’s mantle its astringent, tonic properties, which provide relief from many types of discharge. Herbalists have long recommended this herb for menstrual symptoms such as excessive or irregular flow, as well as uterine fibroid tumors. In “Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs,” Gail Faith Edwards recommends 10 drops of tincture 3 times daily for 2 weeks prior to your expected period.
According to the German government’s Commission E panel, lady’s mantle astringent properties make it an effective remedy for mild diarrhea. Prepare an infusion by steeping 4 teaspoons of the dried herb in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink 1 to 1 ½ cups per day.
Lady’s mantle has coagulant properties, which help to treat bleeding and discharge. Herbalist John Lust notes that lady’s mantle infusion can relieve internal bleeding. Apply a poultice to external wounds or sores, or use as a mouth rinse for bleeding gums. Edwards recommends a lady’s mantle sitz bath for relief from herpes sores, vaginitis, and perineal tears. For external use, prepare an infusion using twice the amount of herb and strain well.
In addition to mild sedative properties, lady’s mantle contains salicylic acid, a natural form of aspirin. These qualities combine to provide effective relief from menstrual cramping and menopausal symptoms. In “The Woman’s Book of Healing Herbs”, herbalist Rosemary Gladstar recommends 1 or 2 cups of infusion daily in the early stages of menopause.
For centuries, herbalists have recommended lady’s mantle as a promoter of fertility. Combine lady’s mantle with red clover blossoms and red raspberry leaves for a hormone-supporting, fertility enhancing infusion. Edwards recommends brewing 1 ounce of this herb mixture in 1 quart of hot water. Steep for 4 to 6 hours, strain, and drink 2 to 4 cups daily.
In addition to its other benefits to women, lady’s mantle aids breast health. One or two weeks prior to your expected menstrual period, drink the infusion for relief from tender or swollen breasts. Lady’s mantle is also used to improve tone in sagging breasts.
Although lady’s mantle is not associated with any serious side effects, you should discuss the use of this or any medicinal herb with your doctor. Ask for the dried herb or fresh plant tincture at your local health food store. Centuries of healers and herbalists have turned to lady’s mantle for its gentle properties. Women especially can benefit from this beloved herb.
“Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs”: Gail Faith Edwards; 2000.
“The Herb Book”: John Lust; 1974 (updated 2001).
“The Woman’s Guide to Healing Herbs”: Sari Harrar and Sara Altshul O’Donnell; 1999.