Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) was probably the first cosmetic herb, setting the scene for the popularity of cosmetic surgery centuries after Nicholas Culpeper wrote in 1649: “When drank and outwardly applied, it helps women who have over-flagging breasts, causing them to grow less and be hard”. Today, the surgeon’s scalpel performs that task and Lady’s Mantle is primarily used in herbal medicine as an astringent and styptic, due to its tannins.
It is especially effective on the endometrium (uterine wall) and the herb is used internally for excessive menstrual bleeding, prolonged blood loss due to uterine fibroids, menopausal flooding and to reduce pain associated with menstruation.
Culpeper claimed women who want to conceive should drink Lady’s Mantle for 20 days before conception and, once pregnant, they should sit in a bath made from a decoction of the herb. After giving birth, drinking Lady’s Mantle tea (especially if mixed with Shepherd’s Purse or Yarrow) aids with debility of the abdomen and, for women who are likely to miscarry, it is strengthening for the foetus and the uterus.
The well-known Swiss herbalist, Abbe Kuenzle, stresses its merits: “Through early and prolonged application of this medicinal herb, two thirds of all operations performed on women would be quite unnecessary. Every woman in childbed should drink much of this tea, some children would still have their mother, some widower his wife, had they known this herb”.
Lady’s Mantle has a very rapid healing action and gargling with the herb after the loss or removal of teeth is one of the most beneficial activities the patient can indulge in. It is also very effective for mouth ulcers/sores and laryngitis, as wells as vomiting, flux and diarrhoea. Any skin troubles, such as inflamed wounds or rashes, should be bathed with a liquid made from this herb. It can help to ease bruises and ruptures, and Culpeper even recommended it for “green wounds” or gangrene.
To make Lady’s Mantle tea, use one heaped teaspoon for each cup of boiling water, let the herbs steep for 3-5 minutes and strain before drinking.