Herbaceous perennial growing to 1 ft (30 cm). Has a basal rosette of lobed leaves and insignificant green flowers 1/8–1/4 in (3–5 mm) across in loose clusters.
Habitat & Cultivation
Lady’s mantle is native to Britain and continental Europe. It is gathered in summer.
Aerial parts, root.
Lady’s mantle contains tannins, a glycoside, and salicylic acid.
History & Folklore
Andres de Laguna’s translation (1570) of Dioscorides’ Materia Medica recommends two preparations of lady’s mantle—the root, powdered and 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. When taken regularly for 15 days, lady’s mantle was said to reverse sterility due to “slipperiness” of the womb. The plant’s astringent effect is sufficiently marked that the infusion was used to contract the female genitalia, and it was “a thousand times sold” to those wishing to appear to be virgins!
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Lady’s mantle has always been prized as a wound healer. Its astringency ensures that blood flow is staunched and the first stage of healing soon gets under way. As the name implies, it is a valuable herb for women’s complaints and is thought to have a progesterogenic action.
It is commonly taken to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding, to relieve menstrual cramps, and to aid menstrual regularity. Lady’s mantle is also prescribed for fibroids and endometriosis. It has been used to facilitate childbirth, and is thought to act as a liver decongestant. Its astringent properties make it a useful herb for the treatment of diarrhea and gastroenteritis.
Russian research indicates that lady’s mantle reduces blood viscosity.
Do not use lady’s mantle when pregnant.